Why customer service is so important
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Why customer service is so important

As I have started preparing a Customer Service course for a client, it has made me think about the importance of customer service. That is the customer service we provide to both our external and internal customers. I wonder sometimes whether we realise that we provide a product or service to both our internal and external customers.

This also makes me wonder whether we provide the best possible service to ensure overall customer service excellence?

This because I believe that there is little understanding of what the difference is between the two. So I think it is important we clarify this. External Customers Our External customers are those end service or product users that purchase our product or service. For example a student studying on a training course. Or someone who uses our service because it is provided as part of public services. For example a patient within the NHS. Without these external customers an organisation will not have a purpose or indeed, exist.

Internal Customers Our Internal customers are those within our own organisation that rely on us to provide a service. This service provided internally is necessary in order for them provide their service. Usually this is an entire chain of services that eventually lead to the organisation delivering their product or service to their external customer. So this could be: The HR department ensuring that the right people are recruited in to the right positions.

The sales/customer service team providing the correct information to their field engineers relating to their customers’ repair problem. The accounts team raising correct invoices in a timely fashion so that our external customers can pay us on time…. When we think about our internal customers, I think this is an area that gets foolishly neglected. If we don’t provide the required services internally, then how can we expect to achieve the service/product standards expected by our external customers? Without providing customer service excellence internally then we will struggle to provide customer service excellence externally. The competition for everybody’s hard earned and limited available cash is both global and intense.

This means our customers are becoming more and more astute in considering who they spend with or what public services they will use. As leaders and managers of our respective departments, teams and organisations we have an important role to play. We absolutely must ensure we meet and exceed the needs of our internal customers in order to provide excellence externally. Can you identify your internal and external customers? So, I am going to leave you with the following questions to consider as current or potential leaders and managers; Who are your internal customers and how do you know what their needs are? How do you know you are meeting and exceeding their needs? and how can you improve? Remember, it is only when we provide a seamless service internally that we will be able to provide customer service excellence externally.

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