November, 2012:

What does “Internal” Customer Service Really Mean?

Customer ServiceMost people understand that “customer service” refers to serving those who purchase a product or service. That’s “External Customer Service”. But what about “Internal Customer Service”. What is it, and what happens when things break down on the inside of a company?

Internal Customer Service refers to the interactions between all the employees who support the company and those who work on the front line with “The Customer”. Regardless of the department – whether marketing and sales, operations, legal, human resources, I.T., or any other department – the way that these employees treat each other and work on solutions internally actually affects the customer and the bottom line.

Although you may think the customer doesn’t see it, I guarantee that if internal customer service is breaking down, your external customer service feels the hit eventually. This not only dilutes your ability to attract new customers; it also affects how you retain customers. If internal customer service is suffering, a large marketing budget can be wasted expense.

Sample Breakdowns of Internal Customer Service

The following examples show how problems internally can have external effects:

  1. A payroll person makes an error on someone’s pay check, the employee can become frustrated, and the customer notices the indifferent attitude of the employee.
  2. Inadequate or frayed order entry processes delay delivery of products or services. The customer service representatives who are trying to deliver the product or conduct the transaction are constantly trying to appease the customer, often with costly ramifications both in reconciliation and time. Those who understand the complications of supply chain management can prepare customers, seek alternatives (3rd ways) to the customers’ immediately problems, lessen the impact and stress on colleagues and their customers.
  3. Two employees are not speaking to each other or are blaming each other’s departments. When two people ignore, avoid or blame each other because they don’t have the tools to resolve issues, there are service breakdowns internally and further along the line. Honest communication is key, and working towards “resolve” and how to fix things without ill feelings will always catapult an organization forward.

How to Improve Internal Customer Service

Let me help work with your organization with my “I Can Fix That” programs. Your attendees will learn that the focus should be on recognizing their internal service breakdown without blaming and working towards resolve. I’ll help reprogram their thinking to focus on problem solving. In the interactive keynotes and workshops, I teach a variety of techniques so they realize the only thing that counts is fixing the problem. Both employees and customers benefit from these key learning’s, and the behaviours are often enacted the next day.

Email me today to see how we can help improve your Internal Customer Service. or visit my YouTube Channel:

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