Internal customers are just as important as external customers. Your service constitutes an input component to their work. There are ripple effects on the business when internal customers are not served well. Functions such as recruitment, budgeting, and procurement provide services to different areas within the company. These services are vital for running a competitive business.
There are 5 keys to serve the internal customers well:
1. Understand the results desired. Just like the external customers, internal customers have expectations on the results you deliver. The quality of your service affects how they could fulfil their responsibilities. Approach the customer and gather input on what is most important to them. The understanding helps you direct your energy to the right places.
2. Determine the key success factors. The key success factors are driving forces for exceptional results. Some of these factors might be within your control, which makes things a little simpler in planning your work. Otherwise, you need to reach out and see if there are ways to influence those factors.
3. Identify the hurdles. This might seem negative but it is important to be aware of the hurdles that you need to overcome. Awareness builds preparedness. The knowledge provides lead time to explore options and develop alternatives to minimize the effects or eliminate the hurdles altogether.
4. Establish a collaborative relationship. It is likely that you need information or input from your customer in order to meet or exceed his expectations. A collaborative relationship fosters a healthy exchange of expertise and insight. When there are mutual respect and commitment for excellence, there is no hesitation to trial new approaches.
5. Educate for improvement purposes. With changes taking place at a rapid pace, it is beneficial to have an ally who has your best interest in mind. The sharing of information helps to educate each other. Both parties gain. The ultimate benefit is ideas for doing the work more effectively and efficiently.
Quality, speed, and the cost of providing a service to an internal customer should be treated with care. When internal customers receive mediocre service, there is a high likelihood that there would be spillover effect to the external customers. It is unwise to place little priority on internal services. Internal customers are part of a bigger team and their needs deserve your attention.