In this video, learn how to distinguish between internal and external customer service. Follow along and use a worksheet to identify the groups of internal customers you serve and their needs.
- There are many similarities between internal and external customer service. We're trying to help our customer achieve a goal. There are sometimes problems that need to be resolved and we want them to feel great about the service they receive. So what makes them different? Internal customer service is serving internal stakeholders. This typically means employees in your own organization but it may also include other groups such as contractors. The goal is to help someone else do their job so an external customer ultimately receives better service.
For example, let's say a company contracts a security guard service to screen office visitors and prepare visitor badges. The security guard is not an employee but she's still an internal customer because she relies on employees to give her advanced notice of any expected visitors. This way, she can have a visitor badge waiting when a visitor arrives so the visitor has a much better experience. There are a few things in particular that are unique to internal customer service. We might have more frequent interactions with our coworkers.
Perhaps you have coworkers you serve on a daily basis. More frequent interactions often lead to closer relationships with coworkers than we would normally have with external customers. Many coworkers become people we genuinely consider to be friends and internal service is often a two-way relationship. You might serve your coworker but they might also serve you in some way. Let's say a manager wants to hire a new employee. The corporate recruiter might be an internal customer because the recruiter needs a job description and other information to find qualified candidates for the job.
The manager is also the recruiter's customer because the manager is relying on the recruiter to help hire a terrific new employee. In an era where we're always seeming to be busy, it can be difficult to keep all of our internal customers happy. Let's look in on Janice, an office manager, as she starts a typical day. Janice is just arriving and today already looks busy. She has to help a sales manager prepare for a big meeting. There are three new sales people starting next week so she'll need to work with an IT technician to get their workstation set up.
There are a lot of emails in her inbox including one from human resources asking her to order more employee badges. There's another email from accounts payable with a question about a bill. Janice also has several voice messages including one from the manager at the janitorial company she hired who wants to discuss the new office cleaning schedule. Janice's day is just starting and she already has many internal customers who need her help. Now, your internal customer list might look very different than Janice's.
To help keep track of them all, I encourage you to make a list of internal customers who you serve. See if you can identify each group of customers along with their core needs. I've included an internal customers list in the downloadable Exercise Files to help you.
In this course, learn skills and techniques for providing outstanding internal customer service to colleagues within your organization. Jeff Toister shares how to build positive workplace relationships, communicate effectively, and serve coworkers who can be difficult to work with. He also provides techniques for managing—and exceeding—expectations for internal service, and solving problems quickly and effectively.
- Distinguishing between internal and external customer service
- Creating positive workplace relationships
- Working with difficult coworkers
- Practicing active listening to uncover your customers' needs
- Managing internal customer expectations
- Anticipating problems
- Defusing angry colleagues
- Adjusting your workplace attitude