"pitch" training program
An educational initiative designed for an expanding, international tech company with growing pains. "PITCH" stands for Persuade, Inspire, Teach, Coach, Help.
After creating a Talent Organization with my colleague and putting in Career Development Program to help satisfy goals for retention and recruiting, we set off to establish a scalable, sustainable education program to meet our third goal-- talent uplift.
How might we optimize our customer interactions?
How might we empower our employees to solve problems creatively and confidently?
GROUP INTERVIEW: Taking advantage of Agile methodology's Results Review meetings, lead discussions around pain points between teams, branches, customers and individuals to narrow down major challenges and push the 5 Why's.
EXPERT INTERVIEW: We sought feedback from our clients on the service level and satisfaction with our customer support and engagement. We also listened to frustrations from our own C-Suite executives, senior mangers, and sales leads.
IN-CONTEXT IMMERSION: We shadowed employees for customer calls and customer support meetings. We reviewed internal and external email communications and memos.
Back to basics: From our email and call reviews, we realized our teams had big gaps in understanding of basic email and conference call prowess. For example, some of the email threads were over 100 messages long between 10 internal resources, and yet customer issues remained unresolved.
Lost opportunities: We discovered that the opportunities to wow customers were missed not on the big issues, but the everyday interactions. We sought to bring the message home that every touch-point with a customer is an opportunity for excellence. This is when we coined the term "PITCH" and began using that term to embody our core message.
Group accountability is optimal: When we coached individual employees one-on-one, their messages became too structured, too redundant, too robotic. It was with group Results Reviews of emails and customer meetings that we saw employees come into their own voices and feed off of one another's ideas. The PITCH way of speaking became a part of the company culture.
Repetition, repetition, repetition: We started each training reviewing why good communication was important, what PITCH meant practically. Then we framed the big-picture perspective to show that optimizing communication could benefit the individual employees, their colleagues, and the company at-large. Each training reviewed the previous module before moving on to the next, so the lessons built upon one another.
Through the PITCH Certification Program, we took all 353 global employees through a 4-module curriculum, graduating 35% of the students from the full course. This lead to an increase in customer retention and satisfaction from the improved communication of our support, account management and technology teams. In addition, our PITCH program was rolled out as a part of the proposal that helped secure an $8 million investment in outside capital.