American Express does branding right.

In terms of customer service, I’ve rarely found anyone that’s the equal of American Express.

Their people on the phone have a personality, they don’t try to sell you extra stuff when you call with a question, comment or concern (although they’re not afraid to use the “you know I see X about your account, did you know have Y?” approach), and they always check to make sure they’re not missing anything before they disconnect the call. Great stuff.

But, I recently had an experience with them that tops the mundane and is worth sharing.

Specifically, Delta Airlines online checked bag system (which lets you save a whopping $2.00 per bag if you use that system rather than involve a human in the process at the airport) went snafu on us earlier this year, and charged us an extra $296.00. The Queen of England wouldn’t need that many checked bags, but nobody at the counter could do anything about it, and we were told, “Don’t worry. It only charges you for the bags you actually check.”


So, I called American Express and explained the situation. They got on the phone with Delta and hooked up a three-way call so that they could hear what Delta was telling me and record it appropriately.

In true long story short fashion, the situation was resolved and our card was credited for the bogus amount, once Delta had all the paperwork from us to show that we had only checked three bags total.

I thought that was the end of it. But, lo and behold, yesterday a thank you note arrived from the person at American Express that I had been talking to…thanking me for letting her help with this dispute.

I was completely taken aback by this. I was the one who should be doing the thanking (which, of course, I did while I was on the phone with her). But, sending me a thank you note under these circumstances was brand building in its best form.

They know that doing this further reinforces their position as the best choice in my billfold for credit transactions. Smart. Smart. Smart.