Internal customer service holds a lot of promise for your business.
Unlike external customer service, internal customer service meets the needs of the people in your company who depend on other people or departments to successfully fulfill their job description.
When internal customer service works properly, the business benefits from better communication, more efficient workflows, lower costs, and higher levels of productivity. But when internal customer service skews off-course, you could experience more problems than you did before you implemented internal customer service concepts.
Successful internal customer service begins by implementing basic principles and avoiding some of the pitfalls that plague internal customer service efforts. Here are just a few of the mistakes you'll need to avoid.
- Confusion with external customer service. Although some of the concepts are similar, your staff may struggle to differentiate between external and internal customer service. Internal customer service is completely separate from the support you provide to the people who buy your products. It doesn't focus on customers as much as it addresses the needs of internal people assets.
- Lack of integration. Internal customer service concepts must be thoroughly integrated into your daily work routines and company culture. Since every employee is essentially an internal customer service rep, full staff buy-in is non-negotiable.
- Misidentification of internal customers. It's a huge misstep to limit your internal customer service focus to full-time employees and departments. Internal customer service addresses the interdependent needs of all internal stakeholders including external vendors, contractors or providers who are tasked with some aspect of generating deliverables.
- Disempowered employees. Effective internal customer service is proactive. Your employees need to be equipped and empowered with the authority to take the initiative in improving communication channels and facilitating internal collaborations.
- No leadership modeling. The best internal customer service efforts start at the top. If your leadership style doesn't lend itself to clear communication or collaborative work processes, your internal customer service has no chance of success.
- Inadequate mechanisms. In addition to modeling sound internal customer service practices, you'll need to create mechanisms (e.g. information-sharing forums, collaborative roundtables, etc.) that make internal customer service easy to execute.