Today’s interview is with Sandra De Zoysa who is the Group Chief Customer Officer of Dialog and the Chairperson of the Digital Customer Experience Expert Working Group for Axiata. Dialog Axiata is one of Sri Lanka’s largest telecommunications service providers, and the country’s largest mobile network operator with 14.275 million subscribers which amounts to 44% of the Sri Lankan mobile market. She is also the winner of the MyCustomer.com 2019 CX Leader of the Year. She joins us today to talk about Dialog, the work that she has done over the last 20+ years, what it means to live a life of service and what becoming the 2019 CX Leader of the Year means to her.
This interview follows on from my recent interview – The state of workplace happiness and why it matters – Interview with Lord Mark Price of Engaging Works – and is number 326 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.
Here’s the highlights of my chat with Sandra:
- Sandra joined Dialog Axiata 22 years ago and 12 years ago was appointed the group Chief Customer Officer.
- I was introduced to Sandra and her work via Paul Greenberg his most recent book and the interview I conducted with him.
- Sandra has dedicated her career to a life in service.
- Sandra started in Dialog Axiata as a Customer Service Manager and her function reported into the then CEO (Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya) who placed a very high value on the importance of service.
- They have seven corporate values. Number one is service from the heart.
- While you can copy everything else, you cannot copy culture.
- Our passion: customer smiles.
- You are always a service person, regardless of whether you are in office.
- I’m a Dialog employee and I live in a certain way, which means if you see someone in trouble, or something has fallen and it’s a senior citizen. You pick that up to help that person. Why? Because your service culture is what you live. This is not something that you do inside your office and forget about when you are outside.
- Its taken them years to develop this sort of culture and, even today, after 10-12 years we still have work to do.
- They have a community of service heroes and service champions that help drive their culture of excellence (listen to the audio for more detail).
- Sandra demonstrates the level of commitment that is required to achieve this level of performance and what it means to live a life of service.
- Sandra won the MyCustomer.com 2019 CX Leader of the Year competition.
- Excellence is excellence regardless of where it happens.
- Sandra’s advice to CX leaders:
- If you truly believe in something, work hard and fight for it.
- The people that can support you on the journey come from the top as well as the bottom.
- Be somebody who’s constantly learning from everything, everyone and and everywhere.
- If you are wrong then admit it and move on. But equally if I believe in something 100% and you are it’s right then fight for it for as long as it takes.
- Excellence is a journey. Be better today than you were yesterday.
- Yes, win awards as it’s nice to achieve recognition. But, win the award and then move on. Don’t sit on your laurels.
- Sandra’s Punk CX words: Passionate and Sincere.
- Sandra’s Punk CX companies: Apple, Facebook, Nordstrom etc
Sandra is the Group Chief Customer Officer of Dialog and the Chairperson of the Digital Customer Experience Expert Working Group for Axiata. Sandra is also a Director of Dialog Business Services.
She has over 30 years of experience in the Mobile Industry and is the recipient of multiple awards for women in management, leadership and for her exceptional contribution and achievements in the sphere of Customer Experience Management. In 2017, she was honoured with the CMI Management Excellence Award for Women in Management. Sandra was also one among 7 service practitioners across the globe to have received the prestigious Customer Experience Impact Award, presented by the Customer Experience Professionals Association USA.
Sandra is an avid keynote speaker, panelist and has presented at over 100 global events and a judge in a number of award panels including TM Forum, CXPA, CCAM & CSSL. She is a certified CE professional from CXPA and an alumna of the Cranfield School of Management UK. She is also a Lean Six Sigma practitioner and a visiting lecturer at the University of Colombo School of Computing since 2009.
In addition to her role at Dialog, Sandra is a founding member and a Director of SLASSCOM, the national IT-Knowledge solutions chamber of Sri Lanka, a founding member and Vice President of the Sri Lanka Institute of Service Management (SLISM) and a founder member on the Board of Women’s Digital Chamber Sri Lanka, under the Ministry of Telecommunications & Digital Infrastructure.
Check out Dialog Axiata and the article announcing Sandra as CX Leader of the Year for 2019 here. After you have done that then say Hi to the folks at Dialog Axiata on Twitter @dialoglk and connect with Sandra on LinkedIn here.