05-28-2013 08:12 PM - edited 05-28-2013 08:20 PM
I do feel that Amex has been shifting their strategies over the years to target the average consumer rather than to cater to the upper echelon who are willing to pay more to receive better customer service. In the past most of their cards, if not all, charged annual fees which would cover the expenses for exceptional customer service. Now that the share of fee-free cards is a lot more significant, their customer service is also diluted, resulting in less than stellar service for the majority of consumers. If you own one of their most expensive products like the Platinum, I believe you'll get to talk to a more dedicated and knowledgeable group of CS representatives who match the well-known quality of the whole department from a decade ago.
+1. Anytime you open up a product or service to the masses, a dilution in quality is inevitable. It's simply much harder to maintain the same level of quality control over 3 million people compared to say 300,000.
Amex operates a tiered model of customer service where their best CSRs staff their centurion and platinum lines, and then there is a gradual falloff until you hit their bottom-tiered products (Zync comes to mind). The problem many people are experiencing is that they think "wow I've got an Amex", and based on it's historical reputation expect a certain level of service. They're then disappointed when they receive what they see to be sub-standard CS on (what is frankly) a "sub-standard Amex product".
This should be common sense in that you're going to get better service as a higher AF-paying, more profitable customer than as a "bottom-feeder", but it still eludes many. Not all customers are seen as equal, and therefore not all Amex products are equal as well. What card you have (at least) partially determines where in the hierarchy you are.