MasterCard International's global technology and operations center said it was among three finalists in the service industry category of the Rochester Institute of Technology/USA Today Quality Cup competition.

MasterCard was cited for improvements at its MasterCom Help Desk, which handles calls 24 hours a day from financial institutions around the world.

An internal survey in 1995 found that 39% of MasterCard members were dissatisfied with MasterCom; many calls failed to reach a service person and were routed to voice mail. Despite a 68% increase in call volume, 92% are now answered by a help desk representative, and member satisfaction is up to 70%.

"We've been able to provide measurable results and help our members improve their own customer service," said Lois McFarland, vice president of quality and process improvement at MasterCard's St. Louis center.

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