Dialog recognises the ‘wealth at the bottom of the pyramid’ and strives to develop sustainable business models to profitably enact an inclusive approach to the market place. We continue to work tirelessly, to make our services accessible, especially to rural populations, the elderly, low-income groups and the differently able; thereby empowering all Sri Lankans to reap the benefits of economic, educational, health and entertainment opportunities that result from connectivity.

Among the principal challenges faced in this endeavour, service availability, affordability, applicability and affinity rank among the most pertinent. Through our sustainable business models we have addressed these issues through technology paradigms, service and business modeling and continuous investments.

Many of our innovations that are motivated with the drive towards inclusion incorporate state of the art technology capabilities to deliver local adaptation, and are cited as examples of the overall philosophy of inclusion, which has driven innovation at Dialog.

Affordability

CASE: Dialog Mobile – eZ Reload
This pioneered the usage of electronic recharge (top-up) technology in Sri Lanka. The obliteration of the paper-based voucher increased distribution efficiencies and reduced the “minimum recharge” constraints on consumers, which further reduced spend commitments while also encouraging adoption of mobile telephony services across the mass market.

Availability

Rural expansion is a continuous process at Dialog, underlying the company’s commitment to reach out to as many Sri Lankans as possible.

CASE: Dialog Mobile – eZ Buddy
This ‘Shared Access to Voice’ concept refers to the sharing of a mobile phone, as opposed to individual ownership, in the form of a supervised public phone. This innovation helps deliver telecom services to rural communities beyond the conventional paradigm, increasing availability.

CASE: Dialog Broadband helps overcome Geographic and Socio-economic Isolation
Through deploying broadband internet for Easy Seva outlets and providing cost effective connectivity towards Nenasala (telecentres established in all parts of Sri-Lanka to spread ICT services to the rural and semi-urban population), Dialog Broadband offers affordable ICT-enabled services and content to rural communities in Sri Lanka.

Applicability

CASE: Enabling Sinhala and Tamil Language (Local Language) Services
Sinhala / Tamil SMS on 2G Handsets facilitates local communities to make full use of mobile technology. Those who previously restricted use to voice calls were thereby empowered to use text messaging for correspondence, allowing them greater flexibility to communicate. The Sinhala/Tamil Portal for Mobile Information and Entertainment helps those using only local language the option of accessing information in their language of choice.

CASE
: Dialog Mobile – Star Call
This is a facility where another user in the same network can leave a voice message, allowing users who are not confident in using a mobile phone for text messaging an alternative option. It also promoted more responsible mobile use by giving consumers an alternative to text messaging.

CASE: eZ-insurance
Through technological innovations such as these, Dialog hopes to make products & services more applicable to each consumer segment, in line with the aim of promoting inclusion through more relevant offerings.

Affinity

CASE: Experience the Dialog “Sathkaraya”
Dialog has been a consistent investor in customer support infrastructures and is a proven trendsetter in Customer Service technology, consistently investing in the very latest in customer interface and relationship management techniques. Dialog’s state of the art Customer Contact Centre is billed as Sri Lanka’s largest and most modern Contact Management facility. Through delivering successive enhancements to its customer interaction capabilities, Dialog has been able to create a strong affinity to the brand in the heart & mind of customers.

In August 2007, the Asia Pacific Customer Service Consortium (APCSC) honoured Dialog with its coveted “Outstanding Achievement Award” at the Customer Relationship Excellence (CRE) awards ceremony in Hong Kong. Dialog became the first Company in South Asia to receive Asia Pacific wide recognition for excellence in Customer Service and Relationship Management Practices.

In March of 2008 Dialog was again awarded three awards at the Greater China Customer Relationship Management Awards. Dialog gained recognition by receiving the Customer Management Strategy Award Asia Pacific at the Greater China Relationship Awards 2008, Customer Management Technology Award Asia Pacific at the Greater China Relationship Awards 2008, Retail Customer Experience Award Asia Pacific at the Greater China Relationship Awards 2008.

Future Challenges & Responses

At present it is mainly the ‘cost of connectivity’ that is a considerable barrier for rural communities of Sri Lanka. This impediment is faced by all business units at Dialog across the board when striving to be more inclusive in its product and service offerings. Dialog constantly looks at introducing new price strategies to assist rural penetration.

Lack of awareness among customers on how connectivity can benefit them or enhance their quality of life is another challenge common to business units. Dialog has identified the role that our retailer network and downstream supply chain can play in raising awareness on the benefits of being connected among those who are yet to avail our technology to their advantage. We will be looking at these channels to ‘spread the message’ to a greater extent in time to come.

Dialog will continue to develop multiple penetration strategies in order to enhance the ‘connecting the unconnected’ drive in rural Sri Lanka.

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