MasterCard Advisors acquires Watch Hill Partners


Underscoring its different approach to improving the customer experience, MasterCard Advisors™, an affiliate of MasterCard International, today announced the acquisition of consulting firm Watch Hill Partners. MasterCard Advisors is a global professional services organization, offering consulting, research, outsourcing and information products and services.

Watch Hill Partners specializes in optimization of customer relationships through multiple channels and technologies, such as mobile networks and web services. Watch Hill Partners’ Customer Relationship Management (CRM) methodology allows its clients to identify gaps between the business case for CRM and the deployment of processes and technology which affect overall success of CRM programs.

Watch Hill Partners will be integrated with Advisors’ Customer Experience Group (CEG), which offers a range of strategic and on-the-ground consulting services to companies seeking to deliver differentiated customer experiences. CEG works with clients to implement programs into day-to-day operations which provide meaningful customer experiences that meet or exceed customer expectations.

According to CEG consultants, too many software vendors and companies within the CRM industry focus far too much on costly technology to the exclusion of how it impacts the customer experience. The result, according to many industry analysts – and anyone who has tried to navigate an automated customer service hotline – is that a very large majority of CRM implementations fail to meet objectives. The CEG team is dedicated to reversing this unfortunate industry trend.

Kamal Boushi, senior vice president of MasterCard Advisors in Europe, said, “Our clients are asking us to help them grow their businesses and one strategy is through differentiated customer experiences. Today’s announcement clearly illustrates the strategy behind our portfolio of service offerings, which extend beyond those typically provided by traditional consulting firms and global payments companies.”

Nalini Indorf Kaplan, the global practice leader for MasterCard Advisors CEG, will immediately assume responsibility for all Watch Hill Partners operations.

“After an extensive search, Watch Hill Partners offered the strongest match to Advisors’ core belief: that effective CRM is not about the transaction, but about the customer,” said Indorf Kaplan. “Moreover, Watch Hill Partners’ team is one of the most talented in the industry and we are delighted to have them join our rapidly growing Customer Experience Group.”

According to Gartner, the good news when it comes to CRM is that a five percent increase in customer retention yields a 75 percent increase in customer value. One of the major challenges to retention, however, is that 85 percent of dissatisfied customers don’t bother to complain – they simply vote with their feet and go elsewhere.

The Watch Hill Partners acquisition further enables MasterCard Advisors to address these and other CRM challenges by defining the necessary changes to customer touch points and optimizing these experiences to increase efficiency and satisfaction. By making the customer experience simpler and more meaningful, the CEG team gives businesses quantifiable results where it counts the most – on the bottom line.

Watch Hill Partners complements CEG’s already successful track record in working with clients. For example, a client in the banking industry wanted to change its customer experience from one driven by financial products to one aimed at being a customer’s true financial partner. Applying its methodology, CEG helped the bank retain customers and increase customer satisfaction scores by 40 percent. The bank increased its sales by 12 percent and reduced its marketing cycle time and development costs by 25 percent.

“We help companies keep their brand promises by making sure their customers experience it on a daily basis,” Indorf Kaplan said. “We don’t say ‘we make CRM work.’ We say ‘we make CRM work – for customers.’”

Brad Waugh, formerly the CEO of Watch Hill Partners, will serve in an executive management capacity for the Customer Experience Group. Drawing upon his own customer experience – which includes work for Citizens Bank, Fleet Bank and Blue Cross Blue Shield – Waugh said, “In Watch Hill Partners, MasterCard Advisors has secured one of the strongest teams of CRM professionals in the industry. Watch Hill Partners’ rapid growth and success proves the value of every member of the organization and validates our approach to CRM. We look forward to continuing to provide our clients and their customers with industry-leading service and results.”

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