Mastercard has announced the appointment of its first Chief Experience Officer, with Donald Chesnut joining them from the digital agency SapientRazorfish. With another of the world’s most successful companies adding a CXO to its C-suite, what does it mean for financial services?

Why is Mastercard doing it now?

It won’t be news to the financial services world that customer loyalty is under threat. Customer expectations are higher than ever and with the barriers to entry reducing, new challengers and competitors have entered the market, putting more pressure on existing giants like Mastercard to raise the bar.

According to Econsultancy and Adobe feedback, 2/3 of financial services organizations rank CX as their number 1 priority. Many brands, though, still flounder when it comes to actually delivering improved CX – customers are demanding personalized experiences and for brands to predict their next move, and some FS brands still think that just means using a customer’s first name when they email them.

It’s why Mastercard appointing a CXO is something to take notice of. It signals the fact that experience has gone truly mainstream. No longer is the CXO role one of those job titles people don’t understand — it’s now a function in its own right, responsible for helping brands meet the  ever-increasing demands of both customers and employees.

For Mastercard, it represents a true commitment to Experience Management – giving experiences a voice at the C-suite level.

In a company statement, Mastercard explained its thinking: “Providing customers with clear, consistent and rewarding experience is what differentiates leaders from the rest of the pack.”

What is Mastercard hoping to achieve?

In short: brand loyalty, higher revenue and reduced customer churn.

According to Forrester research, CX leaders grow revenue faster than CX laggards. They also achieve higher brand preference and can charge more for their products.

By improving CX, Mastercard is also hoping to stem a growing industry trend of unhappy customers switching FS providers. Brand loyalty is a thing of the past, so FS providers simply can’t afford bad CX. According to our research, poor service is the number 1 reason for leaving among customers who are very sure they’re leaving their bank.

And worse than that, half of departing customers said the bank could have changed their mind, if they’d made any effort. In the crowded FS market, Mastercard knows that personalized experiences, predictive analytics and closing the loop with dissatisfied customers is going to be the difference between high retention and profit-killing customer churn.