In today’s episode, we’re going international with Rekha Weerasooriya, General Manager of Customer Experience Management and People Development at Dialog Axiata, the number one telecommunications provider in Sri Lanka. At Dialog Axiata, Rekha is in charge of customer listening, customer experience management, and employee experience development.
Rekha shares tactics that I think you’ll find valuable, and pieces together a story that shows just how complex running CX within a competitive telecommunications industry can be. Serving at a frontline call center officer right out of college, Rekha has a lot of experience in customer service, which helped pave the way for her current success.
People development is just one of the areas that Rekha oversees at Dialog Axiata, in addition to service culture transformation. Rekha shares that transforming culture is actually a responsibility of the CX team as opposed to that of the HR department. This is a major responsibility with a company that has 13 million customers and about 3,000 employees.
Read, Research and Reapply
I asked Rekha how did she get started with the work that needed to be done upon starting her new role, and she responded with, “don’t be afraid to ask, why, and don’t be ashamed to ask, ‘I don’t know, please teach me.’” Rekha shares that she spent a lot of time communicating with her team, asking questions, and learning alongside them, so she could understand how things were done.
Rekha explains how she instituted her own method of the three Rs: read, research, and reapply. She read a lot of white papers and webinars, research articles from CCXP and followed the competencies of CCXP assessment and looked at NPS and CSAT research. She shares that it’s critical to not only understand the work through research but to apply the knowledge to your work. You need to understand your organization and how it works, then use what you’ve learned from your research to positively impact it and make it better.
You need to understand your organization and how it works, then use what you’ve learned from your research to positively impact it and make it better. -Rekha Weerasooriya, @dialoglk #CX Click To Tweet
Foster Employee Development
According to Rekha, one of Dialog Axiata’s biggest challenges has been its transformation from a traditional to digital transformation. In keeping up with technology and the times, Rekha had to ensure that employees were trained to use new tools that would keep them digitally relevant. They need to be able to serve the new digital customer, which is a process that will be happening over the next two years. It’s important to ensure your employees and your company does not get left behind as your industry advances with time.
Encourage Employee Initiative and Growth
Similar to many other leaders, Rekha found that employees seem to find less discipline to take the initiative to do things on their own, and has created a WhatsApp group to remind them about workshops and programs that will help foster their development. She shares that the Dialog culture promotes continuous change, even if it’s met with resistance.
As I’ve discussed in one of my previous Daily Doses, you need to know who your outliers are and how to engage them when it comes to customer experience transformation within your organization, and this is what Rekah did. She shares that she spent time with those who were resistant to the change and explained the benefits of the work. Through consistent monitoring and following up with the employees, Rekha has been able to see people grow professionally and personally. Rekha also tells that during company town halls and monthly meetings with management, the message is constantly, “here’s the new thing, get on it, don’t be left out;” short and simple.
I really hope you listen to the full conversation on the podcast because Rekha shares more tactics and specifics that we haven’t covered in the recap; there’s just too much great information!
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
“I think one of the things is, at some point, especially when I was handling this transformation project within the last one and a half years, I wish I would have sped up in some places and intervened. But apart from that, I think I would have been a bit assertive instead of handling too much . I could have actually said, ‘let me focus on this, it will be better.’ This year, I actually went to my boss and I said, ‘I’ve handled this area for three years, I think I’m at saturation, so can I handle a different area?’ I got a new area anyway.”
“One thing is, if you continue to do, you have to look at things differently, go take different roles. Two is, you have to be assertive. Just because you think you can do something, you shouldn’t take too much on your plate. You might not be able to focus on it. Sometimes, I’m like an energizer bunny, so I take on a lot, but you should also be assertive sometimes, so you can bring quality to the company as well as to whatever you do.”
About Rekha WeerasooriyaRekha is service oriented, outgoing and target driven to achieve excellence. Her personal motto is, take PRIDE in everything “Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence.”
Rekha is a dynamic trainer & speaker for functional subject matters in Customer Experience Management, HR & Culture Transformation / Organizational Change Management.