It’s so important that we treat our internal customers the way we treat our external customers. We are on the same team and the underlying common goal is to provide excellent customer service. Our communication with co-workers who will be interacting with any stakeholder has a direct impact on that person’s success in satisfying those stakeholders. So relationships with our co-workers (internal customers,) are crucial. We need to care about them and help them in the same way we would an external customer.
I was working with a company that wanted to send out an employee satisfaction survey. HR enlisted the IT department to help them work through the technical side of this project. After numerous meetings, they thought the survey was ready to launch. The HR department wanted names to be optional, knowing that some people might hold back on their comments if they had to put their names on the survey.
They launched the survey and as the results started coming in, one of the IT guys said that they could determine who was responding by their email addresses and that if HR wanted it to be anonymous, they should have selected that option, and then nobody’s information would have been revealed. The HR department felt that the IT team was well aware of why they decided to make the name optional and that they should have pointed this out to them before the survey went out. Needless to say, this created a big problem, but more importantly, it begs the question of why wouldn’t the IT guy have said something before the survey went out? He was the expert in the software, yet clearly he was not truly engaged on the team.
If they were creating the survey for an external customer, how do you think the customer would have reacted? Would the IT guy have responded with the same answer he did to HR? Probably no. Would he have taken more time to understand the customer’s needs? Probably yes. So why didn’t he provide the same service to his co-workers. HR came to him for help. Their job was to get a survey to the employees so they could improve engagement. Had he treated them like an external customer, he would have made sure he listened and asked the right questions so that he could provide the best product. It should be the same with our co-workers who rely on us to help. In this scenario, the poor job may have created the exact opposite effect the survey intended. People may have lost trust in the company. And worst of all, that feeling could become evident to their customers. And that’s how one misstep in internal customer service can trickle all the way down to the customer.
As a team member, you are responsible to share your expertise. You are responsible to be present in all communications and to share your opinions. And you don’t wait until something fails to say, “I knew that wasn’t going to work.”
Thoughts…….. Contact me at abbe@TECResourceCenter.com
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