Customer service—it’s a huge topic in the world of business and is often the focal point of trainings and company-wide initiatives. It is so important that several large organizations actually have the term embedded within their mission statements. Although customer service is highly discussed as it pertains to external clientele, many companies often fail to acknowledge that the primary difference between exceptional and mediocre customer service begins from within.
Internal customer service is the support provided to fellow coworkers, other departments, individuals in the field, and anyone else who helps get the job done. By building a strong customer service base from the inside out, organizations can start seeing positive results from every angle within their company. Here are some tips for creating first-rate internal customer service:
Always follow the golden rule
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you—this phrase serves a purpose in multiple arenas and rings true within the workplace as well. Departments are often bogged down with requests, which can make individuals feel overwhelmed and anxious. When answering a phone call or an email, it’s critical to remain respectful, patient, and empathetic to others’ needs. By reacting accordingly and using a positive tone, it can help relieve stress on both ends and get to a resolution more quickly. Every interaction that happens throughout the day affects future conversations; that’s why following the golden rule is crucial for exceptional internal customer service.
Set reasonable expectations and then exceed them
Setting reasonable expectations and being honest about capabilities streamlines structure and eliminates surprises. As requests fill the inbox, it’s vital to respond in a timely manner and communicate specific deadlines. Once expectations are set, then each request can be prioritized. It’s important to ensure that items are completed accurately and possibly even before the due date. As an example, if payroll requests timesheets by 5 p.m. every Friday, provide them by noon to relieve pressure on their end and exceed their expectations. Not only does this establish positive relationships, but it also inspires others to follow by example.
Communicate effectively to build trust
With most anything, communication is key. In order to provide the best support to colleagues, it’s essential to have open communication and build trust with each other. An excellent way of incorporating this is to ask questions, to understand goals, and to discover how to help each other. Set up interdepartmental meetings and have a conversation about areas that need to be addressed. This will help uncover how departments can best support each other and break down barriers.
Incorporating these three tips into daily work interactions will build trust among colleagues and create mutual respect. Once everyone on the team is using best practice customer service methods internally, the positive outcomes will seamlessly flow over to external client communication; consequently, propelling companies to move beyond mediocre to exceptional customer service.
To learn more about HHS and our approach to both internal and external customer service: