This week, we caught up with Senior Coaching Partner Monica Murphy.
Monica is currently leading a lengthy customer service training program with software developing company Pega Systems. This unique program, called Communicating Extraordinary Service, was developed by Monica and fellow TSIC coaches Kristen Curran-Faller and Debbie London, and has led Pega Systems to great success.
>What is Pega Systems and how did you become involved with them?
“Pega Systems is a software developing company that helps businesses automate their business processes. We have had a 10-year relationship with them, originally beginning with Presentation Skills Training for some of their managers in the engineering group. It was a combination of presentation skills coaching and individual communication coaching.”
>What sorts of customer service skills are you working on with them?
“Pega Systems wants to remain number one with customer service. We are working with their global customer support team with the goal of helping them strengthen relationships with their ongoing client base. They are currently receiving accolades for their product. Pega Systems understands that a company is only as good as the relationships that their customer service employees can maintain with current clients. They realize the need to make the client feel good about calling. They also understand the importance of the relationship piece and that maintaining a client is so much more profitable than trying to find a new client.
We’ve designed a 3-part program. The first part focuses on instilling some key customer service concepts. Things like how to build trust with a client, how to manage a client’s expectations, and knowing how to say “no” without saying “no” when you have to, are crucial customer service skills. Another important skill is balancing human and business dialogue, specifically on the phone and by e-mail. E-mail is so impersonal – you never know how your words are going to be interpreted. There are certain language tools that you need to communicate effectively in this medium. The greeting and the closing of an e-mail can help a person feel valued or discounted.
The second part is customized to work both in small groups and individually to strengthen individual communication style. This is important because each member of a company is different. Pega Systems is a global company with global employees, so communication styles are going to be different. Our program offers global practice opportunities, which are necessary since the customer service group is so spread out.
The third part of the program is all about teaching strategies for keeping these skills alive. In the past we have found that our most successful programs involve offering ongoing strategies for support and practice.”
>How has the customer service team responded to the program?
“We’ve received terrific feedback from the team. They appreciate learning the newest tools that make people comfortable. The also appreciate practicing with each other in a safe environment, and receiving coaching and feedback. Unfortunately, feedback is usually only given when you’re doing a bad job. Our program is structured to tell the team what works well and what the can strengthen.
I think the team feels so much more confident, competent, and in conrol in converstaions that they have with clients. They have more resources, and more creative ways to help problem solve, which is why they are number one in business process software.
Their level of commitment shows by the various awards they’ve won. Most recently, Pega’s CEO, Alan Trefler has been awarded the title of Software Executive of the Year.”
(learn more about it here)
>Why do you think Pega Systems has been so successful?
“Over the past 20 years, part of the reason that many prestigious companies are successful is that they see the value of good communication. Not just computer-based communication, but human communication. When person has a problem with software, they look to humans. When you feel cared about, you become a much more loyal, satisfied client. When a customer calls Pega Systems for problem, that voice represents the entire company at that moment. Customer service is only as good as the last person that you speak to. Good communication is good business. Pega Systems embraces that. That’s why they’re so successful, and that’s why we’ve had such a long relationship with them through the years.”