This is a blog about online video gaming and from time to time other topics that tickle my fancy. I'm the man in charge of a new start-up that takes the video gaming world and makes it a sport. Sports stars earn their living by playing their sport, and now so will gamers.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

American Express, Shame on Them

Seth Godin spotted a sign in a coffee/tea beverage retailer that, as he put it, is "a billboard screaming about a lack of attention to detail." The person who did this cared enough to try to make a pleasing color when they crossed the items off the list, but my question is why didn't they care enough to restock the out of stock items? And if they were not carrying those items any longer, why not make a new sign? Attention to details.

Today I had to call American Express about canceling my Corporate credit card. The reason for canceling it is irrelevant but it's because my company changed card companies to one that does not charge an annual fee for their services.

I look up the American Express contact information on their web site and I find a general 800 number. They have a decent automated system that is somewhat convenient to traverse; adding my card number, speaking to voice recognition software to be directed to where I need to go which is customer service. I get there the first time with little hassle and no elevated blood pressure to hear a recording that states their hours of operation, M-F 8am to 10pm (I think) and Saturday from 8am to 6pm. The next statement says that they are closed and that I should call back during normal business hours at which point it disconnects the connection. Guess what, its 9:45am on a Saturday. IT IS DURING NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS!

So I think to myself, OK it's just a simple mistake on their part. Someone's forgotten to flip the switch and turn off the answering system. I'll just get my card out and get the "24 hour Customer Service" number off the back. I call it, get a different system than the first one but it leads me to the exact same hours of operation message I received the first time and disconnects again.

I try for 15 minutes (all the while my blood pressure is rising, and so is my anger level), every time with the exact same result. I look for an online chat feature on their web site and find nothing; no way to easily communicate with this service provider.

Finally after talking to the voice recognition system and only saying "CUSTOMER SERVICE" when it asked me different questions about my card number and such did I actually get to speak with a live person. I cancelled my card and simply told her that there was something wrong with their answering service. The only response I got was "Huh". Not once did she ask what the problem was. I didn't even get into the fact that my card says "24 hour Customer Service" on the back.

Attention to details. A company the size of American Express should be able to get this right. Seth said it best, shame on them.


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