The concept of internal customer service may be just as important, if not even more so, than general customer service. So much of what drives the customer experience is what is happening on the inside of an organization. It’s the company’s culture that creates and ultimately defines the customer service experience. So here is an interesting concept:
What if your internal customers had a choice about doing business with you?
Customers have a choice with who they do business with, so why shouldn’t internal customers have a choice as well? Okay, that may not be realistic. We have to do business with our internal customers, don’t we? We actually work with our internal customers, or do we?
Typically, if one of our internal customers is unhappy with the way he or she is treated, they don’t usually have a choice to go outside to another vendor. But, they do have a choice of continuing to work for the organization. If they are unhappy and have an opportunity to leave and work for the competition – or any other company for that matter – isn’t that kind of the same as a customer leaving us for a competitor?
No doubt employees leave if they are unfulfilled or are offered opportunities that are of better value than their current job. But that’s not what this is really about. This is really just a concept to get you thinking. So here’s another question:
How well do you treat and take care of your internal customers?
Okay, let’s go back to the original question: What if our internal customers really did have a choice of doing business with us or someone else? Would they choose us? Do we deliver a level of internal customer service that is just acceptable or satisfactory? Or is it above average – even amazing?
Years ago I worked with a client who had an internal event planning department. What was interesting is that they had to bid for every job they did for their own company’s meetings. They went up against other creative meeting and event planning companies. And, the internal customer had the choice of doing business with their own department, or going to an outside firm, which in a sense is a competitor. The pressure was on for the internal event planners to deliver an experience and level of customer service that would get their internal customer to come back. This concept worked and the internal event planners kept their creative edge and worked to make their internal customers very happy.
In the end, most of our internal customers really don’t have a choice, but if they did, would they choose you?
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go tohttp://www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXIII, Shep Hyken)