Internal Customer Service Helps Businesses Run Like Well-Oiled Machines

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Internal Customer Service

You’re all about customer service — but how well does your company handle internal customer service? Internal customers are the employees at your business, all of whom depend on — that is, are “customers” of — other employees to get their jobs done.

Internal customer service is important because if it isn’t up to par, your business will function less efficiently and professionally, and your external customer service will suffer. Here are 4 steps to improving your internal customer service.



Make Sure Employees Understand the Relationships Among Their Roles

As your business grows, employees may become less familiar with what each person does and how their jobs support each other. You can introduce the concept of internal customer service by using an organizational chart and explaining what each department does and how its functions support other departments.

For example, your marketing team generates leads that your salespeople pursue to make sales, while your fulfillment department ships the orders. If marketing doesn’t do its job, the salespeople can’t sell. If fulfillment messes up the orders, salespeople’s efforts are in vain.

Cross Train Employees

Cross training employees to handle each others’ jobs gives them a real sense of how important each job is to internal customer service. It can also open their eyes to the challenges of other jobs, and ways they could be making their teammates’ jobs easier or more difficult.

Improve Your Systems and Processes

Work with your employee to identify sticking points in your existing systems and processes that are preventing good internal customer service. For instance, if salespeople aren’t inputting orders in a timely fashion, this slows fulfillment and overloads customer service with angry calls.



Build Team Spirit

Poor internal customer service often comes from personal rifts or misunderstandings between employees. When employees see each other as comrades and even friends, however, providing great internal customer service comes naturally.

Encourage employee bonding by hosting regular events like Friday potluck or pizza lunches, company picnics and other outings. Model the behavior you want to see by being friendly, upbeat and getting to know your employees.

Encouraging employees to see each one another as customers will spark better behavior and greater professionalism. That means a happier team…and happier customers.




Happy Business Team Photo via Shutterstock


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Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow her on Google+ and visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

3 Reactions
  1. Internal customer service is really important in a business. It keeps the employees working on point for the goals of the business.

  2. I’ve always said that what’s happening on the inside of an organization is felt on the outside. Internal customer service is so important. If you aren’t dealing directly with a customer, you probably support someone who does. Bottom line is that if you don’t take care of the people you work with, they won’t be able to take care of the people who depend on them – either an outside customer or another internal customer.

  3. So true that external service suffers when internal service isn’t up to par. Far too many employees lack the internal customer service mindset. They treat their co-workers in ways they’d never dream of treating their customers. It often takes a strong leader and a strong culture to instill the idea that everyone is a customer.

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