Change management and organization development experts discuss’creating alignment’- aligning organizational strategy with daily business needs. And a big section of this is creating alignment between customer needs and employee actions as customer service providers. But we also have to observe internal customers – those individuals within the corporation that service us – as internal customers and who we service as internal customers. “There is an incredibly close and consistent link between how internal customers are treated and how external customers perceive the caliber of your organization’s services. It’s extremely difficult to provide good external service if your organization isn’t providing good internal service.” R. Zemke and K. Anderson, Delivering Knock Your Socks Off Service, 1981.
And it’s not merely 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 individuals who either supply your organization directly or come right into contact with your external customers, directly, as your representative. These suppliers and contractors is highly recommended an integral part of your organization and the service they offer must be measured as accurately and frequently as you measure 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 process to retain the very best customers – again, whether internal or external – may be applied across these groups. Suppliers and contractors must be selected and retained based on their commitment to servicing your customers – and your employees – as you require them to be serviced. Although you don’t’own’these suppliers and contractors, you have the right to demand very same degree of service you provide to your customers. When selecting your suppliers and contractors, or measuring those you currently are related to, these guidelines will help ensure that internal service meets the standard.
Recruit suppliers and contractors as you’d your employees.
You should be seeking out the very best person for the work, the high performer who will have the ability to supply on your organization expectations and drive up results for your company. You will want to utilize a number of the recruiting tools you utilize when conducting a seek out an employee? Think of it. You will undoubtedly be paying this supplier or contractor to execute services for you personally or your customers so you ought to expect them to be of the calibre you expect from the new employee. Telus webmail outage Consider requesting a resume of these qualifications and experience, customers they have serviced, certifications that could be required, and if available, customer testimonials. Interview them in the same fashion to the method by which you interview for employees. Check their references and be sure you put in position a contractual arrangement that clearly documents what you expect from them 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 customers and your employees. And you have a responsibility to provide them with the data, resources and possibly, tools, they will need to service both these groups accurately and professionally.
Provide clear expectations of performance.
Even though your suppliers and contractors have caused your organization for a lengthy time period, it is critical to periodically review your expectations of these role and how you expect them to service your customers. Clients are retained simply because they allow us a great relationship making use of their supplier and any contractor or supplier who is dealing with your customer directly, is seen by the customer to be an employee of your company, and hence; representing your company.
When I was an over-all manager for a power distribution company, among our contractor service technicians accidentally slice the customer’s phone line. The first issue for the customer was, obviously, the cut phone line and the inconvenience associated. The 2nd issue was that the contractor apologized but told the customer he would need to call our company to secure satisfaction regarding the cost 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 had been a contractor that had slice the line! Yes, I too, was shocked when the customer got through if you ask me to complain and told me what the Branch Manager had said. A lot more distressing was the truth that the Branch Manager defended his position when I called him in regards to the complaint!
Undoubtedly we didn’t clearly identify to our contractor our customer service expectations. If you ask me, they were simple. Apologize to the customer, call our office immediately to request an answer and then assist the customer to obtain the solution implemented. Simple if you ask me but most certainly not to our contractor or, I quickly discovered, to my Branch Manager.
So my next step was to build a contractor customer service agreement and develop 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 problems with both our contractors and our employees, periodically,but this was a great first step.