How Well Do You Treat Your Internal Customers?

By Shep Hyken, an EO St. Louis member and Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations

If your company’s goal is to deliver an excellent customer experience, you must first embrace the concept of internal customer service. What is happening on the inside of the organization will define the type of customer experience that is presented to the outside. The company culture must form a firm foundation for customer service. Here’s an interesting concept:

What if your internal customers had a choice about doing business with you?

External customers can choose a company to do business with, so can internal customers decide who they want to do business with inside the organization? Realistically, probably not. Employees have to work together for the company to function.

So, what happens when an internal customer is not happy with the type of treatment (internal customer service) that he or she receives? If the employee seeks a solution to the problem but it is not resolved, the only other choice may be leaving the organization, just as a customer who is unhappy with the customer service might decide to do business with a competitor. An unhappy internal customer may decide to go work for the competition – or any other company – if the opportunity arises.

Employees are drawn to other companies by the prospect of new positions that are more fulfilling and rewarding. How much time and money would your company save in the long run by having a low turnover rate? While we are on the subject, here’s another question to consider:

How well do you treat and take care of your internal customers?

Think about it. If your employees had the opportunity to leave and work with another company, would they do it? Or would they choose you? Do you offer a high level of internal customer service that keeps employees feeling valued and appreciated? Or is it just satisfactory (or not even that)?

There is merit to the idea that internal customers have a choice. I worked with a client years ago who had an internal event planning department. This company required the event planning department to bid on every job it did for the company’s meetings, and other creative event planning companies submitted plans and bids as well. So in effect, the internal customer had the choice of working with the in-house department or with an outside firm, a competitor. The pressure was on the internal event planners to deliver a level of customer service and results that would keep the internal customer happy. The concept worked well for the company, the event planners were motivated to do their best and internal customer service thrived.

In the end, most internal customers really don’t have a choice, but if they did, would they choose to do business with you?

Shep Hyken is a customer experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession. Shep works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. 

Categories: LEADERSHIP members Sales


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