Thu, Feb 23, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Amex Taiwan to focus on services

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff Reporter

American Express International (Taiwan) Inc is aiming to grow revenue and issue new cards at a double-digit rate this year by strengthening its services, as a survey showed most local consumers are willing to spend more for better services, top executives said yesterday.

The local unit of the US credit-card giant saw its billed business in Taiwan jump 17.2 percent last year, outpacing the 8.8 percent rise for its peers, thanks to a spend-centric strategy aimed at customers in the nation’s top 25 percent earnings bracket, company chairman and general manager Kenneth Lee (李健偉) told a media briefing.

The number of new cards increased by 26 percent last year from a year earlier, while affluent cardholders spent 20 percent more, company data showed.

“We will continue to build our business around the strategy as the top 25 percent of earners account for 50 percent of total credit-card spending,” Lee said.

Despite the global economic slowdown, Lee said he was confident about achieving the growth target, bolstered by a company-sponsored survey that found almost 70 percent of Taiwanese are willing to pay 10 percent more if the company provides excellent service.

The survey, part of the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, showed Taiwanese have the lowest tolerance toward poor service quality, with 69 percent indicating a willingness to switch to other brands for better services.

Furthermore, Taiwanese customers are more inclined to tell others about their poor service experiences, the survey showed.

On average, one Taiwanese customer would tell an average of 29 people about their poor experiences, which ranks second among the surveyed countries, after India with 35 people, the survey said.

While 46 percent of Taiwanese would share their poor service experiences, only 22 percent would tell people about instances of excellent service, lending support to the theory that bad news travels fast, Lee said.

“The survey results show service is critical in improving business profit and brand loyalty,” Lee said. “That is why we have looked at service as a long-term investment rather than as part of operating costs.”

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