In my last post about internal customer service the focus was on managers. In this post we’ll focus on delivering better customer service, co-worker to co-worker. The best workplaces are filled with people who support each other towards the achievement of common goals.
“If you’re not serving the customer, your job is to serve someone who is.” ~ Jan Carlzon, former CEO of SAS Group
If you want to improve the customer experience, start by by rolling out the red carpet for your co-workers. Consider the flight attendant who reminds you to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. Charity begins at home and so does customer service.
Managers can help by improving communication flow, eliminating silos and arming people with the tools and the training they need. Each person on the team, however, has their own
responsibility when it comes to providing an excellent experience for their co-workers.
7 Ways to Improve Internal Customer Service
- Be respectful: Treat co-workers with courtesy and kindness. Get to know co-workers by name, smile and provide friendly greetings as you pass them in the hall. Stay positive in your interactions and strive to make people happier than they were 10 seconds prior to meeting with you.
- Listen: While you may have wonderful ideas, so do your co-workers. Be open to co-worker contributions and let go of the idea that it’s “my way or the highway.” Practice your listening skills and really pay attention to the needs of the others on your team.
- Communicate: As Tom Cruise said in Jerry McGuire, “Help me, Help you.” Remember, regardless of your department, you’re all working towards common goals. Be transparent in your communications and have regular conversations with people from other departments to share information. The more everyone knows, the more successful the entire team!
- Be Helpful: Embrace an “All Hands on Deck” philosophy. Notice when your co-workers need assistance and jump in to help without grumbling. The more you help others, the more they will help you.
- Follow Through in a Timely Manner: Deliver on your promises and by the time you agreed on. When you get delayed, go back to #3 and communicate. Your promises to co-workers are just as important as those to customers.
- Refrain from Gossip: I know. For some reason, it feels good to talk about other people. Just remember how you’d feel if the subject of the gossip were you. Not great, I imagine. When you find yourself wanting to share a juicy piece of gossip, remember this quote from Bernard Meltzer:
“Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is kind, is necessary, is helpful? If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.”
7. Increase Face-to-Face Interactions: When disagreements come up (and they will) don’t carry them on via email. Strive to sit down with the person, really listen and work together to come to a resolution. Take responsibility for your own failings and feelings and remember that while you may not always win the argument, you can always choose respect and kindness.
The discussion of internal customer service is one that could go on and on. What are your thoughts? What are some other ways to provide a red carpet experience for your co-workers? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Donna Cutting is the Founder & CEO of Red Carpet Learning Systems, Inc, a team of customer service experts who help leaders engage their team to improve the customer experience. She is the author of two books on red carpet customer service including “501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers.” Follow Donna on Twitter at @donnacutting.