By Jennifer Abrevaya, Sr. Manager, Customer Feedback and Response at Merck
By the final week of our Fellowship assignment, it was hard to believe how quickly the time had flown. In the time since my previous blog post, we created and refined our toolkit content, traveled back to Tanzania to pilot our work, made final changes based on the pilot, and were preparing to present the completed toolkit to the PSI home office staff. It had been a whirlwind, but so rewarding to look at this amazing resource and see the volume and quality of work we were able to accomplish in such a short time.
Our PSI supervisor Mary refers to the toolkit “our legacy.” Once this short assignment was done, and we went back to our regular jobs next week, PSI would be using our work for years and years to come. It will be translated into several languages and made available to all 69 PSI platforms around the world. Years from now, Representatives will still participate in our workshops to improve their customer interactions; Marketing Directors will be referring to our guides to make sure they create resources that are relevant and compelling; and Supervisors will be running their operations and coaching their teams more effectively. The private sector expertise that we have at Merck will be applied in a nonprofit way, all in the name of improving the health of patients in need.
Even though this toolkit will be used for a long time, we were already able to see some immediate results. For instance –in Tanzania, we conducted several Advanced Communication workshops with the sales team, and after the meeting went out in the field to see how they were able to start incorporating their new skills into their customer conversations. Every single representative used what they had learned in the workshops, and the already high-quality of the medical discussions compared to our first trip in May had improved even more. Seeing such results just a day after the workshops, it was breathtaking to think about how this would be multiplied over the years, as more and more of PSI’s sales teams were coached on these new skills through our work. And combined with even better visual resources and coaching, they will have the opportunity to save a lot of patient lives as they give providers the important medical information they need.
Often at Merck, we don’t often take the time to stop and enjoy the fruits of our labor… we focus hard on our projects and tasks, and then move on as each box is checked. We don’t always think about our work as a legacy that contributes long-term to the health of patients worldwide. I’ve come back to Merck with this new mindset – thinking of how my contributions will have an impact on public health for years to come.
Our RTC Fellowship assignment was the experience of a lifetime. Our team is so grateful to PSI for the opportunity, as well as the hospitality and inspiration that we were given every single day. And we look forward to continuing our relationship with the organization – Merck gives each of us 40 hours per year of volunteer time, and we’ve already offered our hours to PSI so that we can continue to help care for Sara.