The ultimate goal of any business is keeping its customer satisfied and organisations go out of their way to achieve that. To bring high efficiencies into an organisation plus further increase customer satisfaction, a good idea is to internalise the customer orientation of the organisation; this involves defining internal customers and ensuring their satisfaction from internal services. A number of large organisations use it as a shared service concept with thoroughly worked out SLA (service level agreements) but there is no reason a small or medium enterprise cannot adopt it.
Take an example; imagine that the marketing department receives a call from the customer, who has not yet received his goods though it is already past the assured delivery time. No manager will take it lightly but if it becomes a routine thing, it starts getting accepted though in short term. And, it’s difficult to see the probable losses the company could make by losing customers and more whom they give feedback to.
So, why didn’t the goods reach the customer on time? Was it because of one of the following reasons?
- The vendor hasn’t dispatched the goods.
- The warehouse didn’t receive a dispatch note on time.
- The finance department didn’t approve the discount and couldn’t generate the invoice on time or any other reason that the internal departments of the company are responsible for.
If you try finding the reason, there will be multiple answers depending on who you ask; in addition, these internal reasons could lead to an endless blame game and a chain of miscommunication that can seriously harm the company.
This is a situation which any manager can identify with. The solution lies in treating internal frontline employees as customers of the support function employees; for example, the sales team requesting for a dispatch would be treated as a customer of the logistics team. To define the sales team as a customer, the service levels which it should accept from logistics arms would have to be defined. Tracking these requests with help of various tools would identify areas of bottlenecks, resource requirements and even low performance/poor attitude in case of certain individuals. Taking a step further, SLA or service level agreements can be put up for the internal customer interactions.
The methodology to put up an efficient internal customer management systems is to clearly identify internal processes, define quality and response time targets, keeping in mind the external customers and identify ways to measure and track performance.