Richard Branson says, “If you look after the internal customers, you’ll never have to worry about the external customers.”
This simple statement supports everything I’ve seen and heard in businesses over the past few years. Where internal teams are valued, and included – harmony and productivity is a natural by product.
Is it possible for a business to be successful and make money without these components? Yes! But, at a cost – of staff turnover, morale, mental health, and self-esteem.
- You can’t have exceptional external customer service that provides repeat business, customer loyalty and retention without great internal relationships in your team
- There is a definite link between how internal customers are treated/behave, and how external customers perceive your company
- A commitment to serve internal customers well always has a ‘knock on’ effect somewhere in the company or in customer awareness of your brand
- A business that has exceptional external customer service sets clear expectations for internal customer service. They encourage their team to deliver on those expectations and if they can’t, to explain why in a constructive, productive way.
- A great internal customer service system keeps people in the loop – just as you would an external customer. If there are delays, updating people saves time, stress, and last minute issues that may impact the external customer
- The best teams know each other – not just work together. Get to know your colleagues, appreciate who they are, what they stand for, how their home life impacts their role at work.
- Taking the time to look at the big picture – the company vision, how other departments work, and what other people’s job roles involve. This will help you to realise your individual part in the company’s success (or failure).
- The 3 D’s – Do it, Dump it, Delegate it. Never do nothing! Act timely, don’t make assumptions, check, clarify information, check understanding. Give internal customers the same respect you would external
- Making other workers feel valued creates and maintains a positive vibe. People are complicated by design, don’t underestimate how noticing someone do something great and telling them, impacts their day and motivation levels.
- Be the solution, not the problem. When things go wrong stick together, don’t blame, work quickly and efficiently to resolve it.
- Communicate. Communicate. Be compassionately assertive. Passive aggression is insidious, it wears down relationships over time.
- Buy into the company vision and get behind it at every opportunity. There is a clear link between job satisfaction and productivity and customer service levels. If you don’t want to be there…then don’t – leave. The toxic person is the one that ultimately brings the company reputation and value down, despite all the good efforts of everyone else. Every single person can do everything to the very best of their ability and just one person can be the difference between a great review and a bad one, a referral….or not!