One of the most common misconceptions people have about any business is that the customer is always the priority. This perception can be quite misleading in the sense that it only shows one side of the coin: the people bringing their money to the business
Contrary to what most folks think, customers are categorized into two groups: external and internal customers. External customers are, as mentioned earlier, the ones who buy the products and pay for the services of any given establishment. They are the ones who bring their hard-earned money to a shop for whatever they need or want at a certain time.
But we’re not going to focus on them this time. In this article, we will be talking about internal customers and why they are important to a business.
Who are the internal customers?
When it comes to business practices, we have all been made to believe that the customer is the priority. The customer, in this case, is the person paying for the goods and services offered by an establishment, whether it specializes in home automation or it gives an entrepreneur a better deal on a commercial real estate property loan.
Much of how a business is run revolves around providing an excellent customer experience. This is why we were made to believe that the customer is always right. However, customers aren’t just the ones paying for services. They also include the ones within the organization who depend on their colleagues so they can do their jobs well.
For instance, an encoder who needs specific data from an analyst or supervisor is considered an internal customer because he or she needs the assistance of a coworker to get the job done right. The analyst or supervisor looks at the encoder as a customer whose needs they have to meet, in this case, the data required for encoding.
Why should businesses pay closer attention to their experience?
Now that we’ve established who the internal customer is, why do they matter? Why should companies give the same amount of attention and care to their internal customers as they do the externals?
Impact on Overall Customer Experience
As an employee and stakeholder, internal customers are directly linked to the external customer’s overall experience. It doesn’t matter what position a person holds within the company structure because all employees are responsible for delivering quality customer service.
Establishing a Healthy Workplace Culture and Environment
A company that knows how to take care of its employees can positively impact the workplace. Workers that are happy tend to show up for work with a positive attitude. It also minimizes the company attrition rate and increases employee loyalty to the company.
Employee satisfaction plays a major role in a company’s success and any time a worker feels valued, the more motivated he or she gets to perform to the best of their ability. The inspiration and motivation provided by excellent internal customer care minimizes — and even eliminates — bottlenecks and holdups in the operations.
How can companies improve their internal customer care and support?
Given each internal customer’s importance, how can companies take better care of them and give value to them? Developing the right strategies for internal customer care needs to stem from a deeper understanding of the experiences of employees in the workplace.
Higher service standards
Service should never be selective, as far as business is concerned. The same standard should be applied to all types of interactions, whether it is with an external customer or with someone from the same organization.
This means implementing stricter response times for co-workers’ needs, especially if it has to do with accomplishing a task. Quality customer service is not just for external customers, they’re for colleagues, too.
Better employee training
Sometimes, the best thing anyone can do for workers is to provide high-quality training that will equip them with the necessary skills they will need for the job. Auxiliary training sessions that also focus on personal growth — like leadership, health and safety, and family and community — prove to be one of the things that keep employees motivated.
If management is willing to provide employees with the right equipping and empowering tools and avenues, ultimately, the organization will benefit from it, not because they have well-trained employees but because they have workers with good dispositions and demeanor.
Manage expectations and performance
Standards, training, and motivation are all great things but if one is not held accountable for the right workplace behavior, they’re all for naught. Owners and management should properly and constantly communicate expectations and promote courtesy through service.
Setting up regular meetings and conducting periodic evaluations can help keep everyone on track. This will make the business run like a well-oiled machine where workers are all efficient and fulfilled.
Customer service is the name of the game as far as businesses are concerned. However, the focus should also include making their internal customers happy and satisfied. A happy worker is the best worker to have.