When we think of customer service we immediately think of our external customers – the ones that buy our products or services. But what about another type of customer – the internal customer.
What is Internal Customer Service?
Before we answer that question, let’s look at exactly who an internal customer is. A good definition would be anyone who depends on someone else in the organization.
Internal customer service could be supplying information, technical support, training – or any other action that ultimately results in serving external customers.
Internal customers are a key part of the Customer Chain:
Customer Chain = Vendors/Suppliers>Internal Customers>External Customers
By expanding our definition of customers to include internal customers (and even our vendors and suppliers) we are well on the way to ensuring customer service is a company-wide effort.
A key success factor in dealing with internal customers is communication. We should strive to communicate with our colleagues to the same standard as dealing with external customers. We can even go as far as applying the same standards and measurements that we use on our external customers.
Here are ten ways we can better serve our internal customers:
1. Come to work on time
2. Be polite
3. Answer calls quickly
4. Get back to each other promptly with replies to queries
5. Provide clear guidelines of what is expected of each other
6. Define roles and responsibilities
7. Be professional at all times
8. Go the “extra mile” and exceed internal customer expectations
9. Hold customer focus “round tables” to discuss each others needs
10.Say THANK YOU!
The importance of internal customers should never be underestimated. Without serving our internal customers well, we can will never be able to serve and delight our external customers.
About the Author
Arnold Sanow, MBA, CSP works with companies and organizations to build stronger customer and workplace relationships by improving verbal, interpersonal and organizational communication.