Executive Spotlight: Paul Colangelo of Convergys

Colangelo, PaulWe recently had a chance to speak with Paul Colangelo of Convergys Government Solutions.  You might remember from our past interviews that Paul had established Convergys as a leader in federal customer care and customer service, and had established Convergys as a preferred contact center solutions provider with the the U.S. General Services Administration.  After over three years with Convergys, Paul told us where he sees growth opportunities, and how Convergys’ relationship technology management solutions give businesses the analytical tools they need to provide top-notch customer service.

ExecutiveBiz:  What are Convergys’ core competencies?

Paul Colangelo:  Convergys is a leader in relationship management and its core competencies are concentrated in a few key areas.  One is customer management.  We are a leader in customer care outsourcing and provide our clients with customer service solutions ranging from agent-assisted care through to intelligent self-service solutions, where we provide the technology and the software that enables our clients to successfully automate interactions with their customers.  The second area for Convergys is HR Management, or human resource outsourcing.  The third major area for Convergys is our Information Management business, which provides sophisticated business support systems primarily to large organizations in the communications, media and utility industries worldwide.

“We believe big opportunities for the customer management organization lie in the areas of communmications, financial services, technology, government, retail and healthcare.” -Paul Colangelo

ExecutiveBiz:  What markets do you service right now?

Paul Colangelo:  Historically, we’ve been a business built around a large presence in the communications space, with clients in the cable, satellite and telecom industries.  We also service the financial services industry, government and the retail/consumer services, technology, automotive and healthcare industries.  We just recently announced our entry in the utility market with a billing contract with Duke Energy.

ExecutiveBiz:  Where is your long term growth focused?

Paul Colangelo:  Growth for us is focused in a couple of areas.  We’ve been a big player, if not the largest player, in cable and telecom customer care/acquisition and that will continue to grow as a business.  We strive to assist our customers in driving a superior customer service experience that differentiates them in their respective markets.  The other focus area for Convergys’ is relationship technology management, which is really the software and analytics that help our clients drive intelligent automation in customer service.

ExecutiveBiz:  How do you recruit and retain the best technical talent at Convergys?

Paul Colangelo:  Convergys is an organization of 70,000 employees. Talent management is core to our growth and core to the retention of our employees.  Our SVP of HR, Clark Handy, has been instrumental in driving a high performance culture within Convergys.  We spend a lot of time developing our team leaders, our customer care agents and our entire organization by enabling a culture that rewards employees for high performance and at the same time helps the customers that they support in a meaningful way.  Whether you start as an agent or as an executive, Convergys develops and provides the tools and programs that allow our employees to develop and grow and drive positive business outcomes for our clients and for Convergys.

ExecutiveBiz:  What will Convergys look like three years from now?

Paul Colangelo:  Convergys is about transforming our clients’ customer service environments.  We see the government industry growing and taking advantage of best practices that exist in the private sector at an accelerated pace.  We see it changing.  We also see industries that are pretty dynamic given the economic climate that we are all dealing with today.  Three years from now, I would imagine that we would continue to have a very significant presence in customer care like we do today, but one that is even more centered around our core competencies in both agent-assisted care and the self-service automation tools, techniques and analytics that we bring to the table.  And I have no doubt that we will be the leading global provider of relationship management services to all the markets we serve.

ExecutiveBiz:  What strengths or competencies do you seek in a small business teaming partner?

Paul Colangelo:  We look for a number of things: unique certifications or unique credentials that serve a particular customer, domain knowledge and expertise that other larger businesses may not bring; focus in a core area.  We look for unique tools, unique expertise and unique status that would enable a small business partner to work closely with a larger partner like a Convergys.  A small business that has a similar culture to ours and that is focused on delivering for our clients.

ExecutiveBiz:  How has competitive insourcing impacted your business?

Paul Colangelo:  It has not impacted us on the government side at all.  We still believe that the government has a unique need to manage through various surge capabilities.  An example of that would be healthcare. We wouldn’t expect the government to go and hire 3,000 employees to handle a three- to six-month spike in volume based around open enrollment or some other seasonal driver.  We also believe that our core competency here is providing world-class customer care. In partnering with the government, we’ve provided that world-class care, which is what has helped us grow our business as an outsourcer to the government.

ExecutiveBiz:  What is your greatest challenge in business today?

Paul Colangelo:  The greatest challenge for a number of businesses but particularly for Convergys as it relates to the government sector is managing through the depth and breadth of the complexities of the government market. With the new Administration, a lot of players have changed.  A lot of the leadership has changed.  So managing through the change of the Administration and getting refocused on its objectives and its goals has really been one of the toughest challenges.  A related challenge is that oftentimes in a new Administration, programs get pushed to the right as part of the new leadership and the resulting delays have been a challenge.

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