Trust is everything with consumers—whether it’s providing a replacement card quickly should you lose one while traveling, to understanding how a product works— we want to make sure our customers and cardholders have an amazing experience each and every time with Mastercard. While our priority is terrific customer experience, we couple that with the need to make good economic decisions about how that support is delivered to our customers. We partner with companies that are excellent in the customer service space to make sure we’re staying true to our commitment to a great experience. We stay close to the experience because our brand and reputation are paramount to us—so we can’t let our foot off the gas, even as we’re looking at ways to control costs.

We’ve learned a lot in our journey along the way, and I’d like to share some of these experiences with you.

1. Be picky. There are a lot of companies that offer services in this space, but you want to make sure you’re aligning with those that share your core values for customer service. Always remember that it’s your brand and reputation on the line when they’re serving your customers. Make sure that they have the tools, channels, and a global footprint that matches up with your business requirements.

2. Be flexible. If you can be flexible about how and where your customer support is being delivered, you’re a step ahead in the game. It can become easy to rely on a single vendor and/or location, but are you really getting the best experiences and the best cost for you? For us, we’re constantly looking at that balance – being willing to move business to different countries, but still delivering at the very highest levels of customer service.

3. Be visible and stay current with best practices. You can’t expect to just hand over customer support to a vendor and remove yourself from the process. Coordination, training, and ongoing support are key. We have team members who are fully accountable for the success of the vendor, and they work together daily to ensure that we are delivering the type of experiences our customers deserve. We also choose to manage the workforce management process – by putting our own team members in place to do forecasting, scheduling, pipeline management, etc.

"The Trend Today Is That People Want to Be Able To Quickly Resolve an Issue, and Automation Is Allowing Us to Give Them More Options to Do That"

The trend today is that people want to be able to quickly resolve an issue, and automation is allowing us to give them more options to do that. Again, it’s about keeping up with customer trends and understanding the experience they want to have.

4. Be consistent. The agents supporting your business are a key part in the customer experience. We have taken the approach that regardless of whom we’re working with, the agents should have the same experience. . Our thinking is that the agent experience translates into the customer experience. It’s your responsibility to make it easy for them to make it easy for the customers when they call for help.

5. Be persistent. At the end of the day, we’re working together to deliver on a set of key performance indicators. These need to be clear, and understood by all. And, we have on-site service directors that are responsible for our relationship with (and the performance of) the vendors. The service directors make sure that the vendors are not just living up to KPIs, but delivering the experience we want consumers to have when they’re calling for support. Our service directors have to possess a high sense of urgency, and high energy leadership.

It’s a changing world – but with advances in technology, the right investments in time and tools can continue to offer an amazing customer experience.