Change management and organization development experts talk about’creating alignment’- aligning organizational strategy with daily business needs. And a big part of this really is creating alignment between customer needs and employee actions as customer support providers. But we also have to take note of internal customers – those people within the corporation that service us – as internal customers and who we service as internal customers. “There’s an amazingly close and consistent link between how internal clients are treated and how external customers perceive the quality of your organization’s services. It’s extremely difficult to offer good external service if your organization is not providing good internal service.” R. Zemke and K. Anderson, Delivering Knock Your Socks Off Service, 1981.
And it’s not just about internal customers within the walls of one’s organization, it’s also about those arms-length internal customers and customer support providers – suppliers and contractors – those people who either supply your organization directly or enter into contact together with your external customers, directly, as your representative. These suppliers and contractors should be considered an integral part of one’s organization and the service they offer must be measured as accurately and frequently as you gauge the service level you provide.
To my mind, servicing others, whether internal or external (customer, supplier, colleague, peer, supervisor, contractor), should reflect the values of one’s organization and the method to retain the very best customers – again, whether internal or external – may be applied across any of these groups. Suppliers and contractors must be selected and retained based on their commitment to servicing your visitors – and your employees – as you require them to be serviced. Telus customer service Although you do not’own’these suppliers and contractors, you have the right to demand the equivalent degree of service you provide to your customers. When selecting your suppliers and contractors, or measuring those you currently are connected with, the following guidelines can help ensure that internal service meets the standard.
Recruit suppliers and contractors as you would your employees.
You should be seeking out the very best person for the task, the high performer who will be able to deliver on your business expectations and drive up results for your company. Why not utilize a number of the recruiting tools you employ when conducting a look for an employee? Consider it. You will soon be paying this supplier or contractor to do services for you or your visitors so you ought to expect them to be of the calibre you expect from the new employee. Consider requesting a resume of these qualifications and experience, customers they have serviced, certifications that may be required, and if available, customer testimonials. Interview them in a similar fashion to the way in which you interview for employees. Check their references and ensure you put set up a contractual arrangement that clearly documents what you expect from their store and what they could expect from you (this is just another version of position profiles and expectations for the role).
In these cases, you’re seeking high performers capable of servicing both your visitors and your employees. And you have a responsibility to offer them with the information, resources and possibly, tools, they will need to service both these groups accurately and professionally.
Provide clear expectations of performance.
Even if your suppliers and contractors have caused your organization for a lengthy time frame, it is important to periodically review your expectations of these role and how you expect them to service your customers. Customers are retained simply because they allow us a good relationship making use of their supplier and any contractor or supplier who’s dealing together with your customer directly, sometimes appears by the customer to be an employee of one’s company, and hence; representing your company.
When I was a general manager for a power distribution company, among our contractor service technicians accidentally slice the customer’s phone line. The very first issue for the customer was, of course, the cut phone line and the inconvenience associated. The next issue was that the contractor apologized but told the customer he will have to call our company to secure satisfaction regarding the fee and inconvenience of getting the line repaired. The next issue was the response the customer received from the Branch Manager when he called our company office to complain. He was told we were not responsible since it absolutely was a contractor that had slice the line! Yes, I too, was shocked when the customer got through in my experience to complain and explained what the Branch Manager had said. Much more distressing was the truth that the Branch Manager defended his position when I called him concerning the complaint!
Without doubt we did not clearly identify to the contractor our customer support expectations. In my experience, they certainly were simple. Apologize to the customer, call our office immediately to request a remedy and then use the customer to get the solution implemented. Simple in my experience but certainly not to the contractor or, I quickly discovered, to my Branch Manager.
So my next step was to build a contractor customer support agreement and produce a customer support training program to implement with both our employees and our contractors. We then implemented it across my region. We still had customer support problems with both our contractors and our employees, periodically,but this was a good first step.