-Senior Vice President – India
Please tell us more about American Express?
Amex is a global services company that provides products, insights and experiences. I think ,you also spoke about what is that big idea – we are not a dot com company , Actually today’s big idea is displacing cash, so when you look back we are an 160 yr old company , we started off as freight forwarding company and one of our taglines which has been in frame for a very very long time is do not leave home without it so its all about you can leave home without cash but cannot leave without an American express card. We are living in a very disruptive environment , more so in the payment ecosystem and so I totally believe that volatility is here to stay as far as what a leader needs to do there are certain foundation traits that every, in my book , every good leader must have, these don’t change.
Tell me how agile Amex is . You Started with the cashless thing and then guys like paytm and others have taken over that space quite a bit .So how does a global brand like Amex adapt to that?
Basically what I feel is that as I spoke about being nimble and agile you have to have a bias for speed because if you do not have bias for speed you cannot afford to be abreast of the changes that are happening. Everyday you come in there is something new whether its a new regulation,you spoke about digital wallets, we have to be ahead of the game at all times. like you made the point about disruption. So its all about taking your customers insights, about being in constant touch with the customers .we have various channels through which are intouch with the customers. So few of those channels are – we do surveys from time to time , every transaction for us is a moment of truth. We have real time feedback from our customers because the transaction is the payment at the end of the day . The customer has imposed trust in us and we are the carriers of those trust. God forbid if the customer loses his card while travelling or anything , we have an emergency card replacement option in which replacement is being done on immediate basis. So it is all about giving the customer a comfort level that we are there in their hour of need, its not always about emergence its all about meeting the needs . Those needs are evolving over time.
What are the core brand values of Amex? How synced are you as CEO to move forward with those brand values?
For me these are 3 key values Security, integrity and trust. At the end of the day its a financial services product .charge cards are the ones which are without limits now what happens if someone is going and using the card and he loses his card and someone else misuses the card.we are the only company that gives you straight away gives attempt free credit .say some one who has lost his card is reporting in and straight away put NFC i.e. no for the charge on the card we suspend the card and we will do our investigations later but you are liable .after your reporting there is zero liability We trust our customers inherently because you have that relationship with us and in that hour of need we have heard horror stories when cards gets misplaced or stolen or whatever ,we are out there ,our call centre reps and we get rightance from our customers who say it is a delightful, a horiffic experience when somebody’s card gets misplaced or whatever becomes delightful and comforting experience for the card member so for security its just peace of mind. Now its not about the card loss we have the highest level of measures. 1 out of 2 transactions happen today are online. All our card members have smart phones they are transacting on mobile ,online .and there are no limits on the card so they are so comfortable because of the security measures that am ex has put in and our fraud ratios are the lowest .
Basically it starts with very robust underwriting process .there is minimum income threshold and that is …. and we are very welcoming and inclusive brand we definitely want to have a situation where for the rights we have defined who the target audience is and within that target audience we have various and diversified channel which is a mix of a proprietary sales force external salesforce digital channel so channels at airport chaos at corporate so various channels are going and acquiring right prospects for am ex .but specifically high income threshold or the right income threshold with very strong underwriting proprietary gives us the comfort level that we are getting the right customer so thats why we have lowest no. of fraud ratios.
How much of people’s inputs do you take as a boss ?
I take people’ inputs , i am also very candid in what can be done and what cannot be done . I worked 27 years and for 25 years, I have been working as a leader. One particular thing which has not changed is when it comes to people’ s expectation for me I would like to under commit and over deliver when it comes to their careers. One is organizational goal other is goal where I have encouraged the team to dream big and I have told them that if you dream big I am with you and there is no downside .so hypothetically our company is giving 35% growth rate lets see where we end . Brand values.
Treating people with respect and dignity
Collaboration is critical for me Team work Integrity
These are all the essence of leadership, so if we are not working as a team then we cannot make these things happen . Risk taking and decision making are like a ship on a shore is of no use till the time its out there because it wasnt meant to be on the shore .you have to play to win if you never going to play you will never win – Its a bit of risk and reward.
If anyone comes to me and says that I am working for the last 15 years and says I have never made a mistake in my life , I might not look at him in a positive frame of mind and think whether you have taken enough risk or not.