Internal Customer Service for All of Us

We all know how important it is to provide the best possible customer service to those who purchase or products and services, but what kind of internal customer service are we providing to our each other as coworkers?

Think of the last time you needed some information from someone else in order to proceed with your work. Perhaps an external customer is waiting: “Has my refund been processed???” or “Where is my replacement item???” You can’t provide information to the customer or proceed with anything until you get the necessary information from one of your fellow internal customers…but there’s silence on the other end. Unfortunately, we all know how that feels!

Frustrating, right?

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If you can provide information in a timely fashion, do so. If you can’t, say so.

Email Tip! If you get a really involved question via email, take a moment to respond, letting the other person know that you received the email and will need some time to look over it. Provide an estimated time for further response and put that date on your calendar. If you like, you can use Outlook to add tasks and reminders for yourself. Most importantly, be sure to respond. Again, if for some reason you are unable to provide the requested information, go ahead and say so.

We are all internal customers. It is to the benefit of our external customers, no matter the industry, that we provide good internal customer service to each other. The effects of doing otherwise trickle down and damage our own reputation for doing the good work that we do.

If a coworker needs information from you to help a customer, that customer isn’t just their customer; that customer is your customer, as well as the customer of company and its partners.

We cannot successfully serve our communities if we do not serve each other in a positive way.

Providing good internal customer service is an opportunity to build rapport and develop positive relationships with your coworkers. Recognize that your coworker is asking you for something because they care about something, and like you, they are also providing customer service to others, both inside and outside of the organization.

We all share common challenges.  Supporting each other in whatever ways possible provides the best possible service to all customers.

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The other side of the customer service coin is not asking for things you really don’t need.  When you have a request that is not urgent, say so. This way, you allow your coworker the opportunity to prioritize his or her work effectively. Then, when you do need something urgently, your coworker is more likely to take your urgency seriously.

Being up-front about the urgency or non-urgency of a request helps to develop trust between you and your internal customers.

REMEMBER: We are all here with the same goal: To provide the best possible service to our customers and ultimately, our community. We all know the difference a strong support network can make in our personal lives. Similarly, a strong support network in the workplace can only lead to improved outcomes for all of us!

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