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Mastercard expands Salesforce integration, highlights evolving customer-centric Services strategy

Stuart Lauchlan Profile picture for user slauchlan May 20, 2024
Raj Seshadri, Chief Commercial Payments Officer at Mastercard, on the financial services providers Services thinking.


Last month Salesforce announced a slew of gen AI updates to its Financial Services Cloud (FSC) designed to tackle the “$83 billion problem” of customer chargeback disputes. At the time, Gaurav Mittal, EVP Ethoca, Cyber and Intelligence Solutions at Mastercard, was quoted as stating: 

The problem is material and large. It costs $37 to $40 to handle the dispute and there's over 400 million of these disputes in a given year. So, the ability to bring tools to our issuing partners, to our agents that serve on the frontlines of solving this problem for consumers every day, is really an important one. 

Flash forward a few weeks and the next phase of the relationship between Salesforce and Mastercard has taken shape in the firm of a new integration between FSC and the financial provider’s dispute resolution services which is being pitched as a one-stop shop for dispute management and chargeback prevention.

The integration means that data from Mastercard’s Ethoca Alerts notifications and Ethoca Consumer Clarity can be fed into FSC to provide greater end-to-end visibility to agents working to resolve a customer dispute.


By co-incidence, the new integration was announced in the same week that Mastercard provided more insight into its evolution as a financial services provider at the Barclays 14th Annual Emerging Payments and FinTech Forum.  Raj Seshadri, Chief Commercial Payments Officer, highlighted that the “Services journey” is over a decade old:

It started with consumer cards, and some of what we were doing in consumer cards, things like benefits and insurances on cards, marketing, consulting, it started there, but today, it goes way beyond that. There's a lot that we do in Services. Just for context, about 10 or 12 years ago, there's about a sixth of our revenues; it is now well over a third of our revenues.

As to what Mastercard defines as Services, Seshadri said there are five broad product categories to take into account:

The first one is consulting and innovation. We have, I would say, the pre-eminent consulting firm focused on payments globally. We also have a number of practice areas, and things that we are strong at in our technology areas, like AI or crypto or loyalty, the things that we're very good at.

We also have innovation Services. Many years ago, we were innovative, so our customers came to us saying, ‘How do we become more innovative with your techniques?’. So we provide those to co-create with our customers. The second area is, it's broadly insights and analytics. So providing benchmarking insights, real-time data to make decisions, building models and deploying them for our customers, providing software and service solutions like Test & Learn so that you can optimize decision-making, to maximize ROI.

The third area is Marketing Services where Mastercard looks at a consumer's life cycle end-to-end and consumer life cycle marketing, from acquisition to deepening the relationship to making it sticky. The fourth area is loyalty, which builds on many of Mastercard’s roots, in benefits and insurances on cards. But Seshadri explained:

Today, in loyalty, we go way beyond that with rewards and offers and redemption options. We have a deal with Expedia, where our consumers or our customers can redeem in the travel space. We have a lot of travel capabilities. So loyalty, and we have a proprietary platform, loyalty is a large area.

The final category stems from Mastercard’s 2022 acquisition of Dynamic Yield from McDonald’s, to beef up hyper-personalization capabilities, said Seshadri:

Yes, of course, they were doing it with brands previously. We continue to do it in brands, and that's doing really well, but now we're able to do it with the banks as well. And so that's what's in Data & Services. It's a very rich and curated set of Services that, helps us both differentiate payments as well as diversified beyond payments, and lead with Services into new customer types.

The customer is the nexus for all of this, he added:

We put the customers at the center and think about what opportunity, or challenge they're trying to solve. And then, we think about our Services to figure out whether there is a way we can work with them, to get them achieve what they want to achieve, faster, better, more efficiently, more effectively. Sometimes, the answer is one service and sometimes it's a combination of Services.

The analogy here is Legos, he argued:

I happen to have two sons, so know Legos pretty well. Sometimes it's one piece of a particular shape, color, type that, is the right answer. Sometimes, it's a group of them that you snap together, to create exactly what the customer needs for that particular opportunity. And so that's really how we approach it.

With the Services that I was talking about, we go to market in different ways. In some cases, it's bespoke, where it's in a conversation with the customer that's very targeted. In some cases, the service is right on our transactions and our customers can consume it. In some cases, there's a Software-as-a-Service platform where, once they couple into it, they can use it or call it with an API.

So the go-to-market, it comes in many forms. What is deep in it is trust and value. So it builds the relationship with the customer. It's really important for us to create a trust-based partnership with the customer. And that only comes, if we can demonstrate to the customer and to ourselves that, the Services work that we're doing creates value for the customer that we can articulate very clearly. And it's good for the customer and good for us. 


What makes it unique is Mastercard’s data, he said:

We see something like 140 billion transactions every year from 3 billion cards in 210 countries. That's a lot of data. That's just in the card business. We have a lot of proprietary data. And then we have hundreds of third-party sources that we leverage to create, add nuance and color. And we've been doing this for two decades. So, we use advanced analytics, machine learning, AI to really create data sets that are high quality and machine readable.

And yes, of course there’s a generative AI story to tell here, although Seshadri was quick to note that gen AI is only part of a wider mix of AI tech in use:

Generative AI is one type of AI, we mix it in with other types of AI. Yes, there are applications that are uniquely gen AI, but there are many applications…where there's different types of AI that come together in the solution.

The common thread here is that AI is being used to enhance both the experience of the user, and the experience of the people providing the service as well, he said:

Internally, for example, when you're doing marketing, you can use generative AI to create the first version of the visual. It saves the creative person time. For a consultant, it can create the first version of the document so that they could pick that up and iterate it. It makes things like ethic whether it's in payments or in services.

It makes providing customer service that much easier and better, both for the person accessing the service as well as for the person providing the service. So, I think it will make us more effective and efficient across the board, whether it's in payments or Services, whether you're talking about Mastercard or talking about our customers, and this stuff will enhance how we all do business, and it will make it easier for consumers.

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