You know that your obligation to your customers extends far beyond the point of sale. And the more you can do to meet your customers' ongoing needs, the more likely they will be to purchase your product the next time around. That's what external customer service is all about.
But you may not be as equipped to handle the task of internal customer service. Unlike external customer service, internal customer service addresses the range of departments and processes that are required to successfully sell your products or services. If it's a necessary part of generating deliverables, then it's a target for internal customer service.
The quality of your internal customer service mechanisms is just as important as the quality of your external customer service routines. Here's what's different about internal customer service and how you can improve your company's internal customer service delivery system.
Customers: Internal vs. External
External customer service is directed toward the companies and individuals who purchase your product or services. Internal customer service doesn't have any direct contact with customers at all. Instead, it is directed toward employees, vendors and third-party stakeholders who are responsible for executing your company's mission and operational processes.
Objectives: Facilitation vs. Retention
Customer retention is one of the primary goals of external customer service. Internal customer service, on the other hand, is focused on facilitating workflows and internal routines. Individuals who are responsible for internal customer service troubleshoot problems and maintain clear channels of communication.
Processes: Cooperation vs. Satisfaction
External call center personnel execute processes are designed to achieve complete customer satisfaction. But internal customer service staff members enable cooperation among diverse departments and stakeholders. In a sense, it's still customer satisfaction – only in this case, the concern is satisfying the needs of your internal customers or people within the organization.
Outcomes: Productivity vs. Loyalty
Quality external customer service results in increased customer loyalty. But the outcome of a good internal customer service program is productivity – higher production volumes, lower costs, and a happier workforce.