Change management and organization development experts discuss’creating alignment’- aligning organizational strategy with daily business needs. And a large section of this is creating alignment between customer needs and employee actions as customer support 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’s an amazingly close and consistent link between how internal customers are treated and how external customers perceive the caliber of your organization’s services. It is almost impossible to supply 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 along with your external customers, directly, as your representative. These suppliers and contractors is highly recommended an integrated part of one’s organization and the service they give 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 one’s organization and the process to retain the very best customers – again, whether internal or external – could be applied across any of 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 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 related to, the next guidelines might help make sure that internal service meets the standard.
Recruit suppliers and contractors as you’d your employees.
You need to be seeking out the very best person for the task, the high performer who will have a way to provide on your company expectations and drive up results for the company. Why don’t you utilize a number of the recruiting tools you utilize when conducting a search for an employee? Think about it. You is likely to be paying this supplier or contractor to execute services for you personally or your customers so you must expect them to be of the calibre you anticipate from the new employee. Telus customer service Consider requesting a resume of these qualifications and experience, customers they’ve serviced, certifications that could be required, and if available, customer testimonials. Interview them in a similar fashion to the manner in which you interview for employees. Check their references and be sure you put in position a contractual arrangement that clearly documents what you anticipate 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’re seeking high performers effective at servicing both your customers and your employees. And you have a responsibility to supply them with the data, resources and possibly, tools, they should service both these groups accurately and professionally.
Provide clear expectations of performance.
Even when your suppliers and contractors have caused your organization for a long time frame, it is important to periodically review your expectations of these role and how you anticipate them to service your customers. Clients are retained since they are suffering from a great relationship using their supplier and any contractor or supplier who is dealing along with your customer directly, is seen by the customer to be an employee of one’s company, and hence; representing your company.
When I was an over-all manager for an energy distribution company, among our contractor service technicians accidentally cut the customer’s phone line. The first issue for the customer was, needless to say, the cut phone line and the inconvenience associated. The 2nd issue was that the contractor apologized but told the customer he would 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 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 company that had cut the line! Yes, I too, was shocked when the customer got through if you ask me to complain and said what the Branch Manager had said. A lot more distressing was the truth that the Branch Manager defended his position when I called him about the complaint!
No doubt we didn’t clearly identify to your contractor our customer support expectations. To me, they were simple. Apologize to the customer, call our office immediately to request a remedy and then work with the customer to get the clear answer implemented. Simple if you ask me but most certainly not to your contractor or, I quickly discovered, to my Branch Manager.
So my alternative was to build a company customer support agreement and create 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 is a good first step.