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Note to American Express: Just Call them Customers

An American Express vice president (in charge of online communications), at the Edelman/PR Week New Media Summit for journalism educators, keeps referring to the company’s credit card holders as “cardmembers” — a longstanding practice at American Express that is one of my longstanding peeves.

I”m not a member of anything having to do with American Express. I’m a customer. Period.

In a world where community is starting to mean something again, the usage is more than annoying. It diminishes an important word.

David Weinberger, also speaking here, is posting on his blog, too…

2 Comments on “Note to American Express: Just Call them Customers”

  1. #1 Atwater Village Newbie
    on Jun 8th, 2007 at 11:22 am

    At my credit union I like being a “member” instead of a “customer.”

    It indicates how credit unions are guided by different business models than banks. And that “member service” at credit unions is a different experience than “customer service” at banks.

    To the extent that AmEx makes “customers” feel more like “members” – with special perks, programs and policies – then I say they are earning the right to call them “cardmembers.”

    (Examples: AmEx is credit card of choice at Costco. And the ridiculous “black” AmEx has all kinds of benefits.)

    P.S. – I don’t work for or otherwise represent American Express. In fact, I’m not even a cardmember.

  2. #2 Dan Gillmor
    on Jun 8th, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    You pay for the extra service (and they collect higher fees from merchants, I believe).