March 19, 2013
How do I create an exceptional customer service culture within my organization?
Customer service is the foundation on which businesses are created. It is a well-known fact that you must understand your customers and treat them with respect or you will no longer be in business. However, oftentimes leaders neglect to recognize that creating quality products or delivering excellent services is dependant upon people, not corporations. Leaders need to treat their employees well and instill a caring attitude in their managers and supervisors in order to be effective. While companies tend to focus their attention and resources on external customer service, too often little attention is paid to the effect that poor internal customer service has on overall customer satisfaction and retention.
Outstanding internal customer service extends to all aspects of the organization, but it begins with you. The old adage, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” still serves businesses well. Sooner or later the ripple effect of your internal customer services will reach your customers. Make sure your commitment to internal customer service matches your company’s external focus on customer care.
When we refer to customer services, we automatically think of serving our external customers’ needs. But customer service occurs within the organization as well. Internal customers are anyone working within or with the organization – management, other departments, consultants and vendors. Internal customer service relates to how well your staff is serving its internal customers – how effectively are they communicating and interacting with one another? It refers to the level of responsiveness, communication, quality, teamwork and morale experienced within the organization. Within a cooperative, collaborative environment, employees flourish, exhibit pride, and voluntarily demonstrate higher levels of service and support.
Developing effective internal customer service contributes to reduced costs, increased productivity, and improved communication and cooperation. Employees experience improved morale, harmonious process and practices, reduced interdepartmental competition, and better aligned goals. As a result, the organization can deliver better service to the external customer – having healthy internal customer service practices will result in delivery of excellent external customer service.
So, how do you as a progressive leader foster a superior customer service culture for your employees?