Today in "Behind the Mic," we are joined by Priyanka Sarkar, Director of Global Product Management, Customer Experience, and Lead of the Women’s Leadership Network at Mastercard.

Priyanka Sarkar leads Mastercard’s global product management for a key Acceptance suite and is responsible for managing the customer experience for this product. Her current work focuses on enhancing the global experience of the product, specifically in customer onboarding and developer experience within the payment ecosystem. With nearly two decades of experience in product strategy, management, pre-sales, and customer experience across a suite of payment products, Priyanka has been with Mastercard since 2016, holding various leadership roles. Most recently, she led Customer Delivery for Acceptance in the Asia Pacific, driving the growth of payments and services with banks across markets. Prior to Mastercard, she held multiple positions in the payment industry through the 19 years of her career. Her enduring passion lies in payments and product-led growth.

We had the pleasure of asking Priyanka a few questions about her career and insights into the industry. Here are her thoughtful responses:

Q. What inspired you to pursue a career in customer experience, and how did you get started in this field ?

Customer Experience is not a new field – but I strongly feel this has been out of focus for the longest time as we were trying to move with disruptors and technology advancements. So every time we focused on the “experience” that users would go through we were actually building a career in CX. So in effect I have been passionate about customers and about product management. In a natural progression that translated into my current career in Customer Experience.

Q. How do you incorporate cutting-edge technologies such as AI, machine learning, and blockchain into your product development process to enhance customer experience?

Everything that we do, we do it for our customers & users. So my prime focus always is whether the user “needs” a particular technology. It mustn’t be one size fits all. Once we have the vision for the experience in mind, we need to evaluate if these modern technologies are the best equipment to solve for the problem at hand – if they are the “how we incorporate it” is pretty straight-forward.

Q. Can you share some of the biggest challenges you've faced in improving customer experience, particularly from a product management perspective, and how you overcame them?

“Lack of Empathy” from user’s POV is my biggest challenge. It isn’t product manager’s role to understand the unmet need but in spirit every person (from QA, engineering to architech to designer) involved in the process needs to keep the customer pain points in mind. Once done right, most challenges are easy to solve for.

Q. Can you discuss a specific instance where you utilized data analytics to identify customer pain points and inform product enhancements?

ALL THE TIME! I strongly believe data is the best way to substantiate a decision if we have the end goal in mind. We often decide to spend some time in product discovery before plunging into solutioning based on requirements that we get from customers. Good example : We launched a new onboarding improvements from customers but only after we’ve analyzed it with the data available.

Q. What strategies or practices have you found most effective in delivering exceptional customer experiences through your products and services?

A solid Product Discovery phase before Product Build AND following Design Thinking Principles of empathizing with customers to build iteratively.

Q. Can you share a particularly memorable success story where your efforts in product management significantly improved customer satisfaction?

I was designing a reconciliation system for a FinTech Company in San Diego in my past life. Customer Journeys weren’t so popular back in the day – but I remember listening to their pain points, drawing up empathy maps (a little roughly as opposed to the ready templates we have today) and finally designing prototype (sketches on paper) worked amazingly with the customer. It made our solution architect’s job easy and led to less defects/unmet errors during the course of development.

Q. How do you handle difficult customer interactions, and what have you learned from those experiences that have influenced your product management strategies?

I never undermine the power of customer feedback. The more you speak to them, especially before you’ve started solutioning, the more you learn about what must be developed. Be direct in the questions asked, be honest on what you have in the product or can build AND most importantly genuinely incorporate the feedback in fine tuning your product.

Q. Can you provide insights into your collaboration with cross-functional teams, including engineering, design, and marketing, to deliver seamless customer experiences?

I strongly believe that our internal customers are as important as external ones, if not more. You have a treasure of data in the feedback you earn from cross functional teams. So I take that very seriously. If you take all these teams in stride when you do your product discovery, it makes your job so much simpler later. So they are more a partner for my product teams than stakeholders – the idea is to have close knit product and engineering organization so we are able to build a product collaboratively.


We are grateful to Priyanka Sarkar for sharing her valuable insights and experiences with us. Her dedication to customer experience and passion for innovation in the payments industry is truly inspiring. Stay tuned for more exclusive interviews and expert perspectives in our “Behind the Mic” series. Thank you for joining us, and we look forward to bringing you more engaging content from industry leaders.


Behind the Mic | with Priyanka Sarkar