Connecting the World: How MasterCard Simplifies the Customer Experience

Customer Experience

When I think back to my school days there are only a hand­ful of lessons that I remem­ber with any real clar­i­ty, times when I learned some­thing so cool that the moment is engraved on my memory.  One exam­ple was learn­ing about icebergs, and the aston­ish­ing fact that what you see above the water is just the tip. Pretty heady stuff for a youngster. Even today, going about my work with lead­ing enter­pris­es, I’m often remind­ed of ice­bergs. Let me explain why. 

At Adobe, we talk a lot about “expe­ri­ence businesses”—organisations that delight cus­tomers not just with prod­ucts, but through the lived expe­ri­ence of the brand. These busi­ness­es are win­ning the hearts and minds of cus­tomers and will become the suc­cess sto­ries of tomor­row. I’ve recent­ly realised that they all have an impor­tant thing in com­mon: what you see on the sur­face is just a lit­tle of what they’re actu­al­ly doing for their customers. Like ice­bergs, the prod­ucts they offer are just the tip—out of sight there’s so much more going on.  

What Mas­ter­Card can teach us 

Take Mas­ter­Card as a case in point. To most peo­ple Mas­ter­Card is a cred­it card com­pa­ny and noth­ing more. This couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth. Considering the huge array of activ­i­ties that go into pro­vid­ing its ser­vices and experiences, it would be more accu­rate to think of it as a tech­nol­o­gy company. And that’s exact­ly how Mas­ter­Card views itself.   

This ethos can be seen across all of MasterCard’s cus­tomer touchpoints. Below the sur­face of even a sim­ple web­site lies a great deal of thought about how it can best serve cus­tomers.  

Some peo­ple may try and con­vince you that web­sites have had their day and that social media and chat ser­vices are all you need to com­mu­ni­cate about your prod­ucts. Don’t believe a word of it. MasterCard realis­es that its web­site remains the main entry point for the count­less con­sumers, finan­cial insti­tu­tions, mer­chants, busi­ness­es and gov­ern­ments it con­nects with daily. MasterCard needs to ensure it’s offer­ing a com­pelling online expe­ri­ence that meets the expec­ta­tions of its var­i­ous stakeholders—a real chal­lenge when there’s such a diverse array of needs to cater for. 

MasterCard’s approach has been to focus on mak­ing things as easy as pos­si­ble for its customers. Their web­site design is based on the crit­i­cal insight that cus­tomers don’t have the time wade through swamps of irrel­e­vant infor­ma­tion to get what they need.  

Mas­ter­Card came togeth­er with Adobe to replace its old, hard-cod­ed web­site with some­thing that’s eas­i­er to nav­i­gate and eas­i­er to update with new con­tent. The result is a design-led sight that works across mul­ti­ple devices, in mul­ti­ple languages, allowing Mas­ter­Card to tru­ly engage with its audi­ences.  

You can learn more about what Mas­ter­Card is doing here.

What this tells us about expe­ri­ence busi­ness­es 

There are sev­er­al impor­tant lessons here. First, customer-centricity is everything. MasterCard’s whole approach is based on under­stand­ing the needs of its diverse cus­tomer base and work­ing out ways of meet­ing these needs. Rather than doing the easy thing and build­ing cus­tomer touch­points that suit the business’ internal processes, MasterCard is think­ing from the out­side in—from the cus­tomer to the busi­ness. Adopt­ing this cus­tomer-first mind­set will be increas­ing­ly impor­tant in the future. 

Second, MasterCard reminds us that com­pelling expe­ri­ences don’t need to be flashy. Yes, Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence, Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty, Chat­bots and oth­er eye-catch­ing emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies are trans­form­ing how we deliv­er cus­tomer expe­ri­ences, but they should not come at the cost of get­ting the basics right. MasterCard has cor­rect­ly iden­ti­fied the endur­ing impor­tance of what’s now a tra­di­tion­al channel—the website—and focused on per­fect­ing this expe­ri­ence. This isn’t just dili­gent, it cre­ates the per­fect foun­da­tion on which wider expe­ri­ences can be built. MasterCard is look­ing to cre­ate a brand expe­ri­ence that is con­sis­tent­ly excel­lent for all its cus­tomers.  

Con­ve­nience is king  

Mas­ter­Card realis­es that suc­cess in the age of the expe­ri­ence busi­ness ulti­mate­ly comes down to mak­ing life as easy and as con­ve­nient as pos­si­ble for customers. Our ice­berg anal­o­gy comes back into play: enter­pris­es need to take all their com­plex tech­nolo­gies and back office process­es and hide them out of view. All cus­tomers should see is the ‘tip’ of the busi­ness: a seam­less expe­ri­ence that brings new lev­els of con­ve­nience to their lives.  


Customer Experience
Michael Plimsoll

Posted on 23-04-2018


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