Many of our customer experiences are amalgamations of services provided by different suppliers.

Take for example, the use of a credit card when travelling abroad, like the 28 Degrees Mastercard I use.

In Ireland, the card did not work at all retailers (even when all displaying the Mastercard logo.) With some retailers it would work one day but not the next. Sometimes a signature is required;  at other times the PIN; even at the same retailer on different days!

Sometimes I would be asked to choose the payment currency. Other times not. Each authorisation also took a notable period of time - long enough to cause some apprehension. These factors can over time erode the sense of trust in the product.

In Amsterdam and Oslo, the card performed flawlessly. The PIN was consistently used for all transactions. Authorisation was just about instantaneous.

For a product like a credit card, the end user is the only one who experiences the entire customer experience end-to-end. And it may not be possible for a single service provider like 28degrees or Mastercard to fully control the whole experience. They probably won't have much say in a country's telecommunications infrastructure for example.

What they can do however is provide information to manage customer expectations when using the card in different countries.

They can also look at providing a bit more contextual feedback at the terminal when an authorisation fails. Quite a few times the only message displayed when the card didn't work was "void" which meant nothing (literally!) and unnecessarily add to the stress.