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are not serving the customer, your job is to be serving someone who is” – Jan Carlzon
people think customer service is applicable only to those buying their products
or services but those are the ‘external customers’. Most
staff will not identify their own colleagues and coworkers as ‘customers’. However, many people who work for a mid-sized
or large companies do not actually deal with the external customers or clients
who are buying the products or services. Most of the staff of any company are
actually ‘behind-the-scenes’, allowing companies to function, such as
accounting, marketing, communications, HR, IT, production and operations. These
people seldom, if ever, speak to or meet an external client or customer.
they provide services that make it possible for others in the company to meet
the needs of the external customer. They service the ‘internal customer’, but in many organizations, internal customer service is even more
replete with bad service even though the internal customer is as important as the
are six ways internal customer service can be improved on:
1. Increase Communication
customer service can flourish only in high communication environment. To create
positive internal customer service, all departments should agree on processes
and procedures, and negotiate expectations. Make the internal customer feel
heard. Listen. Pay attention. Make the internal customer feel understood.
Repeat critical information, if necessary.
2. Increase Cooperation
create positive internal customer service, all departments should strive to
work together. Like gears meshing in sync, interdependent business units should
do the utmost to meet each other’s needs. Departments should work productively
together to meet common goals and deliver high quality products and services to
the external customer. The internal customer should be made to feel appreciated
and respected. Promises made should be kept. And what was promised should be
handled dependably, accurately and within time.
3. Provide Assurances
knowledge and courtesy shown to external customers (even if some of them are
rude) should also be given to internal ones (even if some of them are also
rude). Both internal and external customers need to trust, perceive competence
and patience, and walk away with confidence that the job is being done by
someone with product knowledge, organizational knowledge, listening skills and
4. Demonstrate Professionalism
physical facilities, products, equipment, and appearance that are demonstrated
to the internal customer should be just as good as that shown to external
customers. Personal grudges or reservations should be kept outside the office
doors as mature minds should talk it through and move on; but if you cannot let
it go, it should not affect the goal of the organisation when at work.
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5. Get to know
a break with co-workers from another part of your organization. Talk to them
during lunch about what is happening in their department. We all work so hard
we can become myopic, lack perspective and be ignorant about how other
functions operate. In a large organisation it might take a little more effort to get to know everyone but it is usually worth it.
6. Always Close
you receive an email or call that requires additional work or research, let the
person know that you received it and you will work on it. Do not let it sit in
your inbox for days until you are
sent several reminders or until it has been escalated to a higher authority.
Service Officers are there to interface with external customers, but without
adequate support from the other ‘engines’ in the bank machinery, they could be
left helpless. While the external
customer is our motivation to work, all
back-end staff need to understand that responding to requests from customer
service representatives is a priority and is good for the business.
By Emem Nkamare