Change management and organization development experts talk about’creating alignment’- aligning organizational strategy with daily business needs. And a huge element of this is creating alignment between customer needs and employee actions as customer service providers. But we also need to pay attention to internal customers – those people within the organization that service us – as internal customers and who we service as internal customers. “There is a remarkably close and consistent link between how internal clients are treated and how external customers perceive the grade 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 your organization, it’s also about those arms-length internal customers and customer service providers – suppliers and contractors – those people who either supply your organization directly or come right into contact together with your external customers, directly, as your representative. These suppliers and contractors should be considered an integrated part of your organization and the service they supply must be measured as accurately and frequently as you assess 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 your organization and the method to retain the most effective customers – again, whether internal or external – can be applied across any of these groups. Suppliers and contractors must be selected and retained based on the commitment to servicing your customers – and your employees – as you require them to be serviced. Although you do not’own’these suppliers and contractors, you’ve the best to demand the equivalent degree of service you provide to your customers. Telus tv support When selecting your suppliers and contractors, or measuring the ones you currently are connected with, the following guidelines may help make certain that internal service meets the standard.
Recruit suppliers and contractors as you would your employees.
You should be seeking out the most effective person for the job, the high performer who will have a way to provide on your company expectations and drive up results for your company. Why not utilize a number of the recruiting tools you employ when conducting a seek out a worker? Think about it. You will undoubtedly be paying this supplier or contractor to do services for you or your customers so you should expect them to be of the calibre you expect from a new employee. Consider requesting a resume of their qualifications and experience, customers they have serviced, certifications that could be required, and if available, customer testimonials. Interview them in an identical fashion to the manner in which you interview for employees. Check their references and ensure you put in place a contractual arrangement that clearly documents what you expect from their website and what they can expect from you (this is merely another version of position profiles and expectations for the role).
In these cases, you are seeking high performers capable of servicing both your customers and your employees. And you’ve a responsibility to offer them with the info, resources and possibly, tools, they will have to service both these groups accurately and professionally.
Provide clear expectations of performance.
Even though your suppliers and contractors have worked with your organization for an extended time frame, it is important to periodically review your expectations of their role and how you expect them to service your customers. Customers are retained since they allow us a great relationship making use of their supplier and any contractor or supplier who is dealing together with your customer directly, is observed by the client to be a worker of your company, and hence; representing your company.
When I was an over-all manager for an energy distribution company, one of our contractor service technicians accidentally cut the customer’s phone line. The very first issue for the client was, needless to say, the cut phone line and the inconvenience associated. The 2nd issue was that the contractor apologized but told the client he will have to call our company to secure satisfaction regarding the fee and inconvenience of getting the line repaired. The third issue was the response the client received from the Branch Manager when he called our company office to complain. He was told we weren’t responsible since it absolutely was a company that had cut the line! Yes, I too, was shocked when the client got through in my experience to complain and told me what the Branch Manager had said. Even more distressing was the fact that the Branch Manager defended his position when I called him concerning the complaint!
No doubt we did not clearly identify to the contractor our customer service expectations. To me, they certainly were simple. Apologize to the client, call our office immediately to request an answer and then assist the client to have the solution implemented. Simple in my experience but definitely not to the contractor or, I quickly discovered, to my Branch Manager.
So my next thing was to construct a company customer service agreement and produce a customer service training program to implement with both our employees and our contractors. We then implemented it across my region. We still had customer service difficulties with both our contractors and our employees, periodically,but this was a good first step.