This quote reminds me of the parable of the prodigal son, where the father was so busy waiting on the son that left home that he did not pay much attention to the one at home. But what he forgot was that while the reckless son was away, this other son was working tirelessly to keep his father’s estate intact. When the prodigal son returned after squandering his fortune, the father made a feast for him. Not fair, you would agree right? But this is exactly how most organisations treat their employees (internal customers).
The question here is if the good son had not stayed at home and given his all, will the wayward son have had anything to come home to? Well, I will leave you to answer that.
What every organisation needs to know is that your first point of call when it comes to delivering excellent customer service is your internal customer. If your internal customer is well taken care of, it helps “cut costs, increase productivity, improve interdepartmental communication and cooperation, boost employee morale, help align goals, harmonize processes and procedures, replace interdepartmental competition with cooperation” – Keren Peters-Atkinson.
That being said, organisations need to know how to manage their internal customers very well in order to achieve objectives and goals. How can this be done? Here are a couple of strategies to adopt.
- Boost Communication
You can develop your internal customer service through effective communication. There should be processes and procedures that all departments in the organization adhere to. As an organisation, you must attend to the needs of the internal customer as quickly as you would the external customer. If for some reasons you cannot do that, make sure you give feedback. This way, expectations are managed and employees feel heard and understood.
- There should Departmental
Collaboration Departments in every organization need to know that their success depends on departmental collaboration. Most organisations have departments that bring in more revenue than others. There is a tendency for the “cash cows” to think they are more important than others. If the pomposity is not checked, it will weaken the support functions which will inevitably destroy whatever success the organisation has chalked over the years. To build affirmative internal customer service, the contribution of all departments should be valued. Departments should be encouraged
to collaborate with each other to achieve the common goals of the organisation. This makes the internal customer feel respected and appreciated.
- Be Courteous and Reasonable
If you will be reasonable with external customers when they are raging just so you can keep them interested in your services in the future, you should extend that same courtesy to the internal customer. Show them the same care and attention you would the external customers.
- Be Reliable
Do not be nice to the internal customer only when you need something from them. Let consistency be the hallmark of the organisation. When an internal customer walks to your desk, he should know that whatever he is about to ask of you will be considered and where it cannot be granted, appropriate feedback given. Being reliable also means delivering on your promise. A company that does not take very good care of its internal customers is like a person who harvests his intestines and replaces it with leaves. If your external customers applaud you for your excellent customer services and your internal customers boo you for high handedness, then you are no doubt a failure.
By Dorothy Owusu