What Is Internal Customer Service?

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In the business world, profit is often the bottom line or the ultimate goal of an organization. Frequently, businesses may focus on what they can do to draw new customers and improve the experience of existing customers to ensure customer loyalty. However, business consultants and trainers such as Craig Harrison or Donna Early recognize internal customer service as another aspect of successful organizations.

Identification

While external customers are outside of the organization, internal customers exist within the organization. An internal customer can be a coworker, another department within the business or a supplier. Internal customers are the people and parties that allow people to complete their jobs so that an organization can reach its overall goals. Internal customer service requires the organization to recognize the importance of all of those individuals, and to provide opportunities to allow its members to communicate with each other at all levels and in all departments. Internal customer service focuses on doing things to improve the working environment for employees on a daily basis. Finally, internal customer service enables an organization to show appreciation to its associates.

Significance

Internal customer service plays a role as important as external customer service. When departments and the individuals who work within them spend little time outside of their immediate tasks, they may lose sight of the overall goals of the company and view other departments as competition. In an article about internal customer service, Scott Miller and Kirk Miller and Associates Inc. explain that employees may view the needs of others as distractions from their "real" job instead of viewing those needs as necessary to the overall goals.

Effects

Internal customer service requires communication and cooperation, both of which rely on the dedication of the organization as a whole and individual members of the organization. However, the end result enables the organization to run more smoothly, especially when departments are working cohesively instead of competitively.

Benefits

Internal customer service allows an organization to agree on processes and procedures and develop clear goals. Communication among different departments can also highlight processes that are redundant or counterproductive. When all aspects of an organization or business work well together, the company will be able to maximize profits and minimize losses. In addition to this, an organization can boost the productivity and morale of its members. According to Kevin Baitto, a business specialist who has written for Creating Quality Newsletter, internal customer service also boosts employee loyalty to the organization, and this may reduce employee turnover. Effective internal customer service will spill over to improve external customer service.

Implementation

Organizations that wish to strengthen internal customer service can do so through company activities such as joint picnics, parties or creative gatherings. These activities should include members from all departments within the organization to promote communication. Furthermore, cross-training associates of the organization can promote inter-department cooperation and understanding. Craig Harrison, a consultant and coach who helps organizations improve communication and strengthen customer service, encourages individuals to remember the "day-to-day niceties" such as saying "Please" or "Thank you" as a way to build internal customer service.

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