Think Twice Before Proceeding In This Manner

Recently American Express have begun emailing their customers ahead of time reminding them that their upcoming credit card payment is almost due.

I’m not sure why they’ve begun this email system of notifying customers in advance?

The reason I’m confused about this is because customers who miss their payment due date and pay later are hit with significant penalties for doing so.

And those penalties would represent a profit source of sorts for the company.

Now, I’m not sure whether this pre-email situation is an Australian exclusive or whether it’s an across the board and across the world implementation to everybody out there who owns an American Express Card.

But here’s my take:

Let’s look at another industry:

In Australia, when you fly, well at least when you fly with Qantas, there are flight boarding announcements made inside of Qantas airline lounges at the airports alerting passengers to proceed to their gates for departure.

In the USA, well, when you fly with American Airlines, there are no such announcements.

American Airlines believes [and I subscribe to that view], that their customers are adults and as such should be solely responsible for their whereabouts at the airport.

I’m with them on this.

If you’re old enough to buy a ticket, then you’re old enough to be able to get yourself to the gate and get yourself on board on time, without having to be reminded and called.

So back to Amex:

I’ve been an American Express customer since 1984.

And the thing about being an American Express customer is that their card is a charge card and it needs to be paid off in full each and every month.

In fact, if you repeatedly fail to repay your card in full, they will relieve you of that card, I’d imagine.

[I’m not sure, because I always repay my Amex card in full each and every month].

With that being the case, and Amex being a charge card for regular users who pay down their balances each and every month, it beggars the question:

“Why are they emailing their valued customers to remind them that their payments are due?”

I don’t know what you’re thinking, but to me, it’s as though Amex doesn’t trust their customers any more?

Emailing people who have always paid on time to remind them to get their payments in seems to me to be a really big slap in the face for those customers.

Sure, if you have problematic customers then emailing them in advance could well be one way of reducing the incidences of late payments.

But if they are not recalcitrant customers, in my view, sending a blanket email out to all customers suggesting a behaviour to them that they are already following is pedantic, and slightly hypocritical.

And insulting.

I’m sure Amex have the ability to segment their list and send their necessary emails to a more specifically targeted audience.

Or maybe I’m already in that targeted group….

But if I was, I’d surely know already, wouldn’t I?

In dental…

What have you developed as “policy” in your dental practice that may be targeting a too large, non-specific audience of patients that needs to be better focused?

Are you sending out messages by machine gun, hoping to hit something, but not really trying to hit something specifically?

Could you be sending out a message that could be considered inappropriate or even offensive to some of the recipients?

When was the last time that you truly analysed your signage and your messages?

I used to say:

“Don’t ever put up a sign or make a rule that is directed at the 2%, but offends the 98%”

In business, it’s not very clever to be sending out mass messages that offend law abiding customers…

Because such messages, all they do is herald an internal problem to your customers that most of your customers really aren’t aware of.

And that’s not really a smart thing to do…

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