How to Deliver Five-Star Internal Customer Service and Why It Matters
By James Greenway on October 11, 2012
How often do you think about your internal customers and the service you provide? Neglecting this key constituency can have a negative effect on business and your career.
First, let’s define customer service as “the provision of a service.” Then, let’s define internal customer service as the provision of a service to an internal customer, who can be a co-worker, a colleague in another department, a vendor, your boss, or your subordinate – anyone in the organization. It’s easy to see that we all have a role to play in delivering great customer service.
Great internal customer service can’t exist without good communication across the organization. Open, free flowing communication ensures individuals in different functions, departments and geographic locations have the information they need, and can effectively collaborate and coordinate to achieve goals. It’s important to remember that an organization is an interconnected unit that depends upon all of its operating “gears” working together. If the gears aren’t running smoothly or are working at cross purposes, everything comes to a grinding halt and nothing gets accomplished. Ignoring internal customer service simply puts your business at risk.
So here are some immediate actions you can take to ensure you’re delivering exceptional internal customer service.
- Respond to emails and voicemails. If you can’t respond within the same day, acknowledge the message and give your co-worker a timeframe for turning around the information they need. If you’re not acknowledging or responding in a timely fashion, work flow in the organization is being hindered.
- Demonstrate a willingness to help. If you can’t answer a co-worker’s question or provide the information they need, offer an alternate contact or ask for more information. Your job is to help the organization, not just this individual, and it’s not helpful to drop the ball.
- Share an upbeat attitude. Sure, many of us have too much on our plates already, but that’s no reason to make co-workers feel like a simple request is a major imposition.
- Be reliable and dependable. Deliver on what you say you’re going to do and make sure it’s free of errors.
Taking the time to provide exceptional internal customer service will go a long way in opening opportunities in your career, burnishing your reputation and positioning you for success – and you’ll have lots of very satisfied colleagues advocating for you.
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