American Express: A Relationship, Not a Transaction

by: M.S. Krishnan

Publication Date: December 11, 2012
Length: 20 pages
Product ID#: 1-429-100

Core Disciplines: Information - Technology & Management, International Business, Strategy & Management

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Teaching Note

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Jim Bush, Executive Vice President of American Express (Amex) World Service, was confronted with a challenge in the mid 2000s: After working for Amex for 24 years, he began to worry that the company was focusing too much on cost reduction. Customer service was eroding as the company strove to stay competitive during hard economic times. In response, he led the organization in a large-scale reinvention of its customer service strategy with an initiative called Relationship Care. By empowering employees with technology and information, Amex greatly improved its customer service and profits. Moving forward, students must help Amex address the challenges of taking “Relationship Care” global.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Describe appropriate business terms and principles
  • Apply critical concepts to define a solution to the case,
  • Successfully articulate data and information in support of the solution proposed,
  • Critically analyze and discuss other responses and solutions to the case,
  • Draw lessons from the case analysis,
  • Generalize the case's teachings to other business challenges and decisions in organizations other than the one analyzed in this case study,
  • Demonstrate leadership and scholarship in analysis.