Change management and organization development experts discuss’creating alignment’- aligning organizational strategy with daily business needs. And a big element of that is creating alignment between customer needs and employee actions as customer care providers. But we also have to observe internal customers – the individuals within the business 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 grade of your organization’s services. It is almost impossible 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 just about internal customers within the walls of one’s organization, it is also about those arms-length internal customers and customer care providers – suppliers and contractors – the individuals who either supply your organization directly or come into contact along with your external customers, directly, as your representative. Telus tv support These suppliers and contractors should be considered 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 – can be applied across some 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. Although you don’t’own’these suppliers and contractors, you’ve the right to demand the same degree of service you provide to your customers. When selecting your suppliers and contractors, or measuring the people you currently are related to, the next guidelines may help ensure 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 the ability to supply on your company expectations and drive up results for the company. Why don’t you utilize a few of the recruiting tools you employ when conducting a search for a member of staff? Think about it. You will soon be paying this supplier or contractor to do services for you or your visitors so you must expect them to be of the calibre you anticipate from the new employee. Consider requesting a resume of the qualifications and experience, customers they’ve serviced, certifications that may be required, and if available, customer testimonials. Interview them in the same 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 anticipate from them 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 visitors and your employees. And you’ve a responsibility to provide 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 a long period of time, it is important to periodically review your expectations of the role and how you anticipate them to service your customers. Customers are retained since they have developed a good relationship using their supplier and any contractor or supplier who is dealing along with your customer directly, sometimes appears by the customer to be a member of staff of one’s company, and hence; representing your company.
When I was a general 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 customer was, of course, the cut phone line and the inconvenience associated. The second issue was that the contractor apologized but told the customer he would need to call our company to secure satisfaction regarding the price and inconvenience of experiencing 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 weren’t responsible since it absolutely was 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 fact the Branch Manager defended his position when I called him about the complaint!
Without doubt we did not clearly identify to the contractor our customer care expectations. To me, these were simple. Apologize to the customer, call our office immediately to request a solution and then work with the customer to get the answer implemented. Simple if you ask me but certainly not to the contractor or, I quickly discovered, to my Branch Manager.
So my next step was to create a company customer care agreement and produce a customer care training program to implement with both our employees and our contractors. We then implemented it across my region. We still had customer care problems with both our contractors and our employees, periodically,but this is a great first step.Read More