Internal Customer Service (beta) - Study Notes

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Complaints are an inherent part of customer service, and this is especially true of internal customer service environment.
No matter the level of vigilance, problems will arise, and when they do, they must be greeted with quick and effective decisions and actions to ensure that business can proceed.
Learning and applying conflict-handling skills to overcome a host of obstacles and provide excellent internal customer service is a must.

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Internal Customer Service (beta) - Study Notes

  1. 1. Internal Customer Service Study Notes Entry Level 1|P age Internal Customer Service
  2. 2. Table of Contents 1. Driving Forces for Improving Internal Customer Service ....................................................... 3 2. How to Improve Internal Customer Service .......................................................................... 3 3. Effective Internal Customer Service ...................................................................................... 4 4. Customer Segmentation ....................................................................................................... 5 5. Improving Communication .................................................................................................... 6 6. Empowering Employees to Give Excellent Service ................................................................ 8 7. Qualities for Internal Customer Service Excellence ............................................................. 10 8. Motivating People ............................................................................................................... 10 9. Rewarding Excellent Service................................................................................................ 11 10. Rewarding People: past and present examples .............................................................. 12 11. Progressive Leadership ................................................................................................... 13 12. Defining Key Customers .................................................................................................. 14 13. Creating a Customer Experience Statement ................................................................... 15 14. Customer Experience Statement..................................................................................... 15 15. Meeting and Exceeding Customers' Expectations ........................................................... 16 16. Managing Conflict ........................................................................................................... 19 17. Creating an Internal Customer Service Plan .................................................................... 19 18. Setting Standards in the Organisation ............................................................................. 21 19. Customer Feedback Questionnaire ................................................................................. 22 20. Measuring Success .......................................................................................................... 24 21. Creating a Complaint-friendly Environment .................................................................... 25 22. Dealing with Complaints Positively ................................................................................. 25 23. Types of Dissatisfied Customer ....................................................................................... 26 24. Identifying the Root Cause of a Problem ......................................................................... 28 25. Finding Solutions to Problems ......................................................................................... 30 26. Negotiations with Internal Customers ............................................................................ 31 27. Communication with Difficult Customers ....................................................................... 33 28. Glossary........................................................................................................................... 36 2|P age Internal Customer Service
  3. 3. 1. Driving Forces for Improving Internal Customer Service Many organizations operate within industries that they cannot control. The visibility and success of these organizations are subject to driving forces. In order to survive, the organization must adapt to these forces. There are two types of driving forces that encourage the improvement of internal customer service.   Internal forces—These are pressures from within the organization that drive the need for co-workers to give and receive better service. The organization has control over these drivers. For example, if your accounting system is very labor-intensive for the team-members, your company may develop new software to reduce processing time. External forces—These are pressures from outside the organization that drive the need to improve internal customer service. The organization has little, or no, control over these drivers. For example, pressure from a competitor might make you focus on how your advertising department supports your salespeople—encouraging you to help them to get better-quality leads, and more exposure to your customers. Internal and external driving forces prompt organizations to improve their processes so that they can compete in a sophisticated and rapidly changing marketplace. As a result, employees must be accountable for their performance and demonstrate that they add value to the organization. This can't happen unless every employee receives excellent internal customer service from his co-workers to help him succeed. Organizations are realizing the importance of encouraging their employees to work together more effectively. By working in this way, each employee can achieve more and work in a fulfilling organizational environment. 2. How to Improve Internal Customer Service When internal customer service works well, the entire organization pulls in the same direction. To get everyone in the organization to pull together, you need to improve three things: Implementing customer-friendly processes Customer-friendly processes make it easier for your internal customers to "do business" with you. For example, your company could use a customer-friendly approach by creating a careers Web page for all employees, on which they could find out about potential careers and job vacancies, and get answers to their questions. Understanding your customers Who are the internal customers? Your employees must know this before they can have a commitment to them. Policies and standards should be put in place to support these 3|P age Internal Customer Service
  4. 4. customers. For example, you could hold planning sessions with staff members to identify and understand your key internal customers. This may enable you to commit to supporting these internal customers more effectively. Engaging in dialog with your customers Engaging in a dialog with your customers involves asking internal customers what their needs are, and measuring how well those needs have been met. To achieve this, you should treat your customers like business partners. Before you implement plans, ask your customers what they think. Use regular meetings, questionnaires, or phone calls as opportunities to involve them. These three key areas for improvement are equally important. If your organization is weaker in one area, then your organization may not succeed in delivering great service to its internal customers. It is essential that your employees have a positive attitude toward internal customers. Help your employees to consider their customers and what they want and need. The key is to involve people so that they will be able to see the bigger picture for themselves. Getting commitment from your employees to improve the service they offer will increase your chances of success. The key focus areas that will help you improve the service you offer your internal customers are customer-friendly processes, understanding customers, and customer dialog. 3. Effective Internal Customer Service To help your employees to offer effective internal customer service, you need to understand the qualities that allow them to deal with different situations most effectively. People who consistently meet and exceed customer expectations usually have the following qualities:    They show initiative—Showing initiative means taking action or responding to situations without being asked or directed. When people use initiative, they think outside the box, looking for opportunities to prevent problems, or looking for ways to keep customers happy. It means being creative. You will hear people saying, "Well, how about doing this?" or "Let's try this." People who don't show initiative wait to be asked, or don't take responsibility for finding solutions. They are flexible—Being flexible means working with the systems and processes you have while taking customers' needs into account. When someone is flexible, he's willing to compromise, or do something that makes life easier for the customer. You might hear him say, "For you, I will," or "Yes, I can." When someone is inflexible, you will probably hear him say, "I'm sorry, I can't," or maybe "Those are the rules—too bad." They are knowledgeable—Knowledgeable employees are confident. They have the right level of expertise, giving customers confidence in their ability to solve problems. Employees must learn all they need to know to do their jobs well. If they 4|P age Internal Customer Service
  5. 5. don't know something, they should know who has the knowledge. You might hear them say, "You need to speak to Sandy—she can help." People who are not knowledgeable may try to cover up what they do not know. You might hear them say, "I think you should do this," or "Last time, we did it this way." It is important to understand the qualities that your people need to develop. Your employees need encouragement from you when they demonstrate these qualities, and provide effective internal customer service. Offering great service to your internal customers is a constant challenge that involves skill and personal commitment. You should encourage your team members to be flexible when dealing with internal customers, and to show initiative. If they can also demonstrate knowledge about their jobs, then their internal customers will have greater confidence and will clearly see the value that they add to the organization. 4. Customer Segmentation You can't begin to improve the service you offer to your internal customers until you identify these customers. You can use a technique called "customer segmentation". Customer segmentation is the process of breaking your internal customer base down into smaller chunks. Doing this helps you identify different customer groups, which allows you to analyze their behavior and anticipate their likely needs. A simple, yet effective, way of segmenting your customers is to place them into one of three categories and then examine their needs. These three categories are: 1. Occasional customers—These are internal customers who use your services infrequently. They need to know more about what you can do for them. People who use your services occasionally may not be aware that you have more to offer. Take the initiative and contact them. Ask them more about what they do, and then publicize what you can do for them. 2. Repeat customers—These are internal customers who return on a regular basis or who have more contact with you. However, they tend to use your services only when absolutely necessary. You have an opportunity to turn them into loyal customers. Find out what they value about your service, what they would like you to do for them, or what you could do differently. 3. Loyal customers—These are internal customers who hold your service in high esteem. They have a genuine need, or desire, to deal with you, and make good use of the services you offer. Make sure they know that you also value dealing with them. Remember to thank them for their business and their continued support. Demonstrate your appreciation by taking them to lunch, or sending them a thankyou letter. Segmentation is a useful tool to help you define your internal customers. You need to know who is using your services, as well as who your greatest allies are, and who does not value your services. 5|P age Internal Customer Service
  6. 6. Identifying your internal customers will allow you to better meet your customers' needs by adding greater value and continuing to improve the service you offer. 5. Improving Communication Improving internal customer service is not just about asking your employees to go the extra mile. Great internal customer service comes from building and strengthening relationships among departments. Good relationships among departments begin with collaboration, and better communication among managers and department heads. If departments do not communicate, then people have a poor understanding of what other areas do, and how they contribute to the business as a whole. Also, when departments communicate effectively, people throughout the organization feel part of a bigger team. This helps them understand the importance of good service. There are various ways that managers throughout the organization can improve communication and relationships among departments. These include: Creating forums to share information The more employees know about the goals of the organization, and how each department contributes to accomplishing those goals, the less likely they are to feel a need to protect themselves, and their jobs, by building walls around their "turf." Proactively sharing information By offering information about your department to other areas of the company, you will encourage people to be more open with you about their activities. It also helps to demonstrate how different areas of the company contribute in their own way. Creating an information-sharing environment A lack of information can create conflict and mistrust. Sharing information leads to better communication throughout the organization. Creating this environment encourages people to be more open. There are a number of practical ways to encourage the flow of information among departments and improve communication. The following are some examples:    Hold meetings—Organize regular meetings with different departments. Place regular articles in internal magazines focusing on the work of different departments and how they add value to the business as a whole. Establish committees—Organize steering committees with representatives from different departments. Volunteer information—If your department has information, statistics, and data that may be of benefit to other departments, offer it to them before they ask for it. 6|P age Internal Customer Service
  7. 7.  Give rewards—Reward people who communicate well by commending them at meetings. Compliment people who have proactively shared information. Build information-sharing into objectives and performance reviews. When people throughout the organization share information with one another, this opens up the channels of communication. It also encourages people to feel less protective of their particular part of the organization. Communication will only improve if everyone takes responsibility for finding opportunities to share information. This entails being proactive, and rewarding and encouraging this type of behavior at all levels of the organization. Being proactive Ask your customers what they are doing. This will give you the chance to be proactive and offer information that might help them. Do present things in a way that will be easy for your internal customers to understand and make use of. Make sure you don't use jargon. Do not, however, assume that everyone will want information. Preparing it can be time consuming for you, and they may view the information as irrelevant. Let people know you have information available—they can decide whether they need it. Creating an environment Creating an environment for sharing information means supporting people, and recognizing their efforts when they take the initiative to improve communication. Look around your organization—which departments could you build closer links with? Find ways to get together, and start building relationships. Strong internal customer service can only be achieved if people understand the connections between their roles and their customers in other departments. Departmental walls can be broken down by sharing information, helping to create an open working environment of trust, understanding, and mutual support. 7|P age Internal Customer Service
  8. 8. Being Proactive Creating Forums Creating the Right Environment Do ask your customers what they are doing. This will give you the opportunity to be proactive, and offer information that might help them. Do find out whether meetings are already taking place between different departments. Offer to get your department involved, or invite other departments. Do remember to recognize people, both personally and publicly, who proactively share information and make the effort to improve communication with other areas of the organization. Do present information in a way that will be easy for your internal customers to understand and make use of. Don't wait for customers to ask you for information. They probably won't know that you have certain pieces of information that might be a vital help to them in their work. Don't use jargon or technical language in any information you offer to your internal customers. Do offer to contribute articles and information about what your department does to internal publications. Don't overlook certain departments because you don't already have a link with them. These are areas in which you need to raise awareness of what your department does, and how it adds value. You also need to build a relationship if none exists. Do share these best practices with other people to demonstrate how you support this behavior. Don't wait to recognize people when they've done a good job. Don't forget to let people know how they are performing against their objectives when it comes to sharing information. Regularly discuss progress with your people, and give them ideas about what they might do in the future. 6. Empowering Employees to Give Excellent Service If the people you work with do not share your enthusiasm for giving the very best service to their internal customers, then internal customer service is unlikely to succeed in your organization. For internal customer service to work well and for your employees to feel empowered, they need to be given every opportunity to make it happen. If their job roles are complicated by "customer-unfriendly" activities that do not add value or they do not know the standards that are expected of them, then this creates barriers that they may be unable, or unwilling, to overcome. 8|P age Internal Customer Service
  9. 9. It is imperative that you empower employees to give good service to their colleagues. You can do this by: Making processes more user-friendly Customer-friendly processes deliver quality products or services on time in a way that helps the customer. Customer-friendly processes make your internal customers feel good about dealing with you. Ask yourself the following questions: How easy is it to get through to your department? Which of your existing processes are unnecessary? What can you do to make life easier for your internal customers? Giving people the right information Make sure that your employees have product descriptions and access to the vital information they need. Remove obstacles to providing great service for their internal customers by asking them what might help them perform their jobs better, and finding ways to provide it. Make sure your staff members have product descriptions and access to vital information they need, so that they are efficient and knowledgeable when they deal with their internal customers. Regularly update information and make it readily available. Developing response schedules Provide clear standards that your employees can follow. They will know how quickly you expect them to respond to their internal customers' inquiries. Decide how quickly you want your employees to respond to their internal customers' inquiries—hours, days, weeks, months? Set clear standards, and let your internal customers know that these are the standards so that you manage their expectations. Providing a clear chain of authority Your employees will encounter issues that they need to respond to, or resolve. They must understand the limitations of their authority, and know when to refer problems to someone at a higher level of authority. Explain to them how to handle an issue that they do not have the authority to deal with or cannot resolve. To enable your employees to deliver the best possible service to their internal customers, you need to put systems and guidelines in place to support them. Give them the greatest chance of success! 9|P age Internal Customer Service
  10. 10. 7. Qualities for Internal Customer Service Excellence Showing Initiative Being Flexible Being Knowledgeable Showing initiative means going out of your way to help your customers without being prompted. It means being creative. Flexible employees are willing to compromise, or do something that makes life easier for their customers. People need knowledge to do their jobs well. If they don't know something, they should know who has the knowledge. You need to say… You need to say… You need to say… "Well, how about doing this..." "I've thought of something that will help you.” “Let's try this..." "For you, I will." "Yes, I can." "It works like this..." "You need to speak to Ellen; she'll know the answer." You need to avoid saying… You need to avoid saying… You need to avoid saying… "It's not my problem." "So what do you want me to do about it?" "I'm sorry, I can't/I won't." "Those are the rules." "Too bad." "I'm pretty sure you should do this..." "Last I knew, the answer was that..." 8. Motivating People Simply telling people that they need to offer better service to their colleagues, or giving them financial incentives, is not enough to make it happen. People need to feel motivated and encouraged. The key is to help people set clear goals that are personal to them and then give feedback about their progress. People need to know exactly what is expected of them. They also need to know when they have achieved it. The personalized goals that you set for yourself and your team members need to be specific. To set specific and personalized goals, you should: 10 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  11. 11.    Be precise—In order to set a specific goal, you must state exactly what the goal will achieve, when it will be achieved, and how its success will be measured. Goals should never be vague; they should leave no doubt about what needs to be achieved. Adapt goals to the person—People are motivated to achieve goals if the goals have meaning on a personal level. When you set goals with your team members, adapt the goal to fit the person's skills, job, or personal contribution. Be measurable—Establish the precise improvements you want to see, and set a clear time frame. For example, your team goal might be: Improve internal customer satisfaction by 30 percent by June. Setting specific goals for the team enables you to clearly state what is expected of the team, and define some way of measuring the team's success. Personalizing a team goal means adapting it so that each individual can see where his job fits into the team goal and what he can do to contribute. Motivating your team members is a vital factor in encouraging them to improve the service they offer to their colleagues. Specific and personalized goals are essential ingredients in helping people stay motivated. 9. Rewarding Excellent Service Organizations are finding it difficult to hire new, qualified candidates. So it is more important than ever to hold on to the good people you already have. Although a good salary is important for keeping people satisfied, it is no longer the main consideration for most people. Feeling valued by their employer and receiving recognition for the work they do rank higher than salary in determining job satisfaction. If you want your staff members to improve and continue offering excellent service to their internal customers, their efforts must be recognized and rewarded. There are three key ways you can do this.  Express appreciation—Whenever you see an action that supports internal customer service excellence, you need to acknowledge the person's efforts in some way. Expressing your appreciation and bringing this to their attention will encourage them to continue what they do. For example, if you see a member of your team giving great service, tell them right away. This will reinforce what they do because they often don't realize when they're doing something well unless you tell them.  Share best practices—Find opportunities to share best practices related to internal customer service excellence. Make sure people around the organization know what 11 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  12. 12.  good service looks like and that it is happening. This will encourage other people to do the same. Unless you publicize it, people won't know that it's happening. Offer rewards—Set internal customer service targets, and personalize the rewards when targets are reached. This gives people a more concrete incentive to work toward. Encouraging people to go out of their way to give good service to their colleagues can only happen if you appreciate that people need to be rewarded and recognized for their efforts. Make your employees feel that their efforts are appreciated. 10. Rewarding People: past and present examples Fun Days William T. Quinn Jr. of W.T. Quinn, a publishing company in New Jersey, hands out bonuses to his employees for improving internal customer service, but urges them to be creative and spend the money on something fun. Why? According to Quinn, “It helps relieve job stress-saving up bonuses for a television set wouldn’t do that.” Odetics, the robot maker based in Anaheim, California, is the wackiest place to work in the United States. It is not uncommon for the company’s employees to take part in all kinds of fun activities. The company also sponsors programs in stress management, acupressure, and yoga, which reward employees for their hard work but also help employees to relax and unleash their creativity. Recognition To recognize the difficulties presented to employees' families when workers are required to work long periods of overtime, BurJon Steel Service Center of Ohio sends flowers and free dinner coupons directly to the workers' spouses or significant others as a personal note of thanks. To demonstrate to all employees how important their jobs are, Anne Robinson, President and CEO of Windham Hill Records in California, holds an hour-long meeting every Monday morning for all employees at company headquarters. Everyone--from the warehouse stocker to Robinson herself--gives a two-minute summary of what he or she plans to accomplish in the upcoming week. According to Robinson, employees report more accurately than if a manager spoke to them, and they are instilled with a sense of pride in their work. Advertising agency, Dahlin Smith White, gives employees a small art budget to use in decorating their offices. The only rule is to “do something wild!” Roto-Rooter, a nationwide plumbing chain, holds an annual employee appreciation week. Each day of this special week is chock-full of activities, including an employee appreciation 12 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  13. 13. toast and reception, a catered hot breakfast buffet, employee-management dinners, and even ice cream delivered to employees' desks by the company’s president. 11. Progressive Leadership As a manager, it is imperative that you lead people in the right direction and that you set an example for people to follow. To make internal customer service truly successful, you must proactively encourage people, through your actions, to give better service. This is known as progressive leadership. To be a progressive leader, you should: Consider employees as customers In the same way that you expect your employees to value their internal customers, you should also consider your employees as your customers. Without your employees, you will not be able to achieve the results you need. You should treat employees as valuable members of your team. Remember to tell them how they are adding value to your team and organization. Try to put their needs first, and consider how they would like to be treated. Be available for employees Being available for your employees requires you to be visible within the organization, and to have regular communication with your employees. Create opportunities for your employees to spend time with you, either formally or informally. You can do this by holding a "cafeteria session," or taking people to lunch. Set specific times aside so people know when you will be available to talk to them. Exceed employees' expectations You can create better relationships by demonstrating that you are prepared to work hard to stay in touch with, and be involved in, your team's activities. You can do this through simple things such as helping people answer the telephone on a very busy day, or taking them out for lunch at the end of the month as a way of recognizing their contributions. Exceeding your employees' expectations with a gesture, no matter how small, reinforces their desire to do the same for internal customers. Ask for, and listen to, feedback Your employees are closest to how the business operates on a day-to-day basis and will be aware of processes that may create problems or potential solutions to issues. Take time to ask for, and listen to, your employees' views. You might use a feedback questionnaire, or invite specific feedback about key issues during team meetings or during the course of a conversation you are having with your team members. 13 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  14. 14. Progressive leadership requires you to take personal responsibility for making internal customer service happen within your organization. Improving internal customer service requires you to take steps to break down barriers and build better relationships with your employees. This will make their path to customer service excellence a much easier one. 12. Defining Key Customers Everyone within your organization has customers. Some people interact with customers who are external to the company, but everyone interacts with their colleagues: their internal customers. It is important to define who your key customers are. These are the people who rely on you, and who need your support. Until you identify your key customers, you won't be able to determine what they need from you, and how you can improve the support that you give to them. Identifying your key customers will not automatically improve your relationships with them, but it will help you to determine who to target when it comes to building better work relationships. It is important to treat all of your internal customers with respect, and to give them the highest level of service at all times. However, it is also vital to recognize that there are two distinct types of customers as follows:   Key—Key customers are the people who rely on you for your support, and on whom your job depends. If these people did not exist, then neither would your role. Non-Key—Non-key customers are the people that you encounter in your role, but whose work or job is not integral to what you do on a day-to-day basis. For example, Jordan works in product marketing. Sales team members rely on Jordan to provide them with information and prices, so they can sell the products to their external customers. His role would not exist without them selling his products. He considers them to be key customers. The human resources team members request information from Jordan about staff changes, sickness, or annual leave from time to time. They are not integral to his role on a day-to-day basis. He considers them to be non-key customers. Think about your own key and non-key customers. Who are the people on whom your job depends? And what can you do differently to support these people, and build better relationships with them? While improving your service to all internal customers is important, it is vital to target the people whose success depends on your support, and who are an integral part of your own achievements. 14 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  15. 15. 13. Creating a Customer Experience Statement A customer experience statement consists of three elements:    The service you will deliver How you will deliver it The overall goal 1) The service you will deliver State clearly what you will do for customers so that they will be able to see how you are adding value. Don't use jargon or vague statements, you need to be precise. This a great chance to bring in your values and share your philosophy with customers. An example of this might be: "Providing help and advice about products so people feel more knowledgeable." 2) The standards you will work within You need to be specific and state what you will do for customers. You must commit to this, so don't make promises that you cannot keep or that are unrealistic. An example of this might be: “We will treat our customers with professionalism and respect, by responding to all customer inquiries within 24 hours." 3) The overall goal This should sum up the ideal scenario. Your overall goal is a statement of exactly what you expect to achieve. You need to have some way of measuring the goal so you must be specific. An example of this might be: "To be the first port of call for all internal customers inquiries regarding customer research." 14. Customer Experience Statement Before you can give an excellent level of service to your internal customers, you first need to define what you are offering them. Why would they want to use your services? To answer this question, you need to design a customer experience statement. This enables you and your colleagues to establish what you are aiming to deliver to your internal customers. It also helps you to achieve some consistency in your approach. A good customer experience statement consists of the following three elements: 15 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  16. 16. 1. Service—An effective customer experience statement describes the service that you will deliver. This details the very essence of what you do for yourself and others, and how you add value to the business. 2. Standards—Next, you need to explain how you will deliver the services to your customers, and what standards of service they can expect from you. 3. Goal—An effective customer experience statement describes the overall goal that you are aiming for, once the service and standards are in place. This states what the services and standards are working toward. It also helps you to measure whether you are achieving your aim. For a customer experience statement to be truly effective, it must mirror the aims of your team. Your customers in direct and commercial sales cannot see how you add value to the business. A customer experience statement will allow you to show them exactly what you will do and how you will do it. Both of these elements need to be specific and realistic. This will enable you to manage your customers' expectations more effectively. By ending with an overall goal, you are stating what you expect to achieve. Remember, your goal needs to be specific, but also measurable. If it's not measurable, then you won't ever be able to tell if you have achieved it. A customer experience statement will help you to manage your customers' expectations, and make your colleagues more aware of what you do and how you add value to the company and meet their needs. It enables you to pinpoint the types of services that you offer and what you want to offer. This is a good starting point for improving your customer service systems and processes. 15. Meeting and Exceeding Customers' Expectations In order to improve the service that you offer your internal customers, it is important to understand the psychology that is involved whenever they communicate with you. When your internal customers have any interactions with you, these form part of their customer experience. This experience is made up of two elements:   Physical element—The physical element is any interaction that your customer has with you: for example, speaking to you on the telephone, or receiving a letter or report from you. Emotional element—The emotional element is how a customer felt as a result of dealing with you. Both of these elements contribute to the total customer experience, leaving internal customers with a lasting impression of you and your business area, based on what they encountered. 16 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  17. 17. The expectations of your internal customers about their physical experience with you will determine their emotional experience. If the physical experience does not meet your internal customers' expectations, then they will have a poor emotional experience. If the physical experience meets or exceeds their expectations, then their emotional experience will be a rewarding one, and this will help them to form a favorable opinion about you and your business area. So how will you know what your internal customers' expectations are, and how can you meet or even exceed them?    Defining physical experiences—You can't meet or exceed expectations before you know what physical experiences your internal customers will go through when interacting with you. Start by thinking about the types of encounters that you have with your customers, and map out these experiences in detail. Determining customer expectations—Next, look at each physical experience and find out what your customers' expectations are. Think about what standards exist that might raise their expectations, and ask your customers for their direct feedback. Exceeding expectations—Finally, look at what opportunities you have to exceed your customers' expectations. The key is to focus on one or two areas where you know that you can make improvements. Always focus on people issues first, then on any technical or procedural issues. Creating positive emotional experiences for your internal customers will help you to build stronger relationships with them. Ultimately, this will help to create a service that your customers will truly value. 17 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  18. 18. ELEMENT EXAMPLES First, map out the typical physical experiences your internal customers might go through with you. 1. Defining Physical Experience KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER How do you communicate with your customers? On the telephone, face to face, in meetings or presentations, by e-mail, via bulletins, newsletters or other written communications? Think about the main sources of contact your customers have with you. Start by thinking of the main types of encounters you have with your customers. It is imperative to do this step first, as you can be more accurate in gauging your customers’ expectations. Otherwise, you are in danger of making assumptions. 2. Determining Customer Expectations Next, look at each physical experience, and consider A customer calls you on the what your customers’ expectations are likely to be. telephone with an inquiry-her expectations might be: To help you do this, you need to think about what standards exist that might raise their expectations.  within her Also consider any feedback that your customers department all have given you. calls are answered within four rings, she expects you to do the same  that you are polite and knowledgeable  that you reply to her inquiry when you say you will  that you are able to access her details on your computer database. Finally, you need to look at what opportunities you have to exceed your customers' expectations. 3. Exceeding Customer Expectations Your customer wants you to post him a report. Always give the customer an exact The key to doing this is to focus on one or two areas time within which he can where you know you can make improvements. One expect to receive the report. In order to exceed of the best ways of exceeding your customers’ his expectations, try to expectations is to manage their expectations. ensure that you post the Always try to focus on people issues first; these are report so that it arrives earlier than he expects. any issues to do with your customer’s well-being, helping them to feel as comfortable as possible. You should then tackle any technical or procedural issues. 18 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  19. 19. 16. Managing Conflict People often see conflict as negative or destructive. Indeed, conflict can have negative consequences, but when you manage it effectively, it can bring many benefits. Conflict is widely accepted as a fact of work life. Without conflict, issues would remain unresolved, and fester until they are blown out of proportion through sheer frustration. You need to acknowledge where conflict exists between you and your internal customers, to help you address the important issues that affect your relationships. Conflict can be helpful when it brings issues to the surface, but only if it is dealt with effectively. People tend to use one of the following three types of behavior when conflict arises:    Assertively—When you behave assertively, you formulate and communicate your own thoughts and wishes in a clear and direct manner. You are more likely to get what you want, without treading on other people's toes. Passively—Being passive means that you don't stand up for your own rights, or you stand up for them so half-heartedly—often apologizing for doing so—that others can disregard them. You are not honest about what you want or feel. Aggressively—When you behave aggressively, you ignore or dismiss the needs, opinions, feelings, or beliefs of others. You achieve what you want to achieve, but you do this by violating other people's rights. If you want to resolve conflict effectively, then behaving assertively is always the most appropriate approach. Yet it can be tempting to slip into different types of behavior when conflict arises. So how will you recognize when this is happening? To behave assertively, there are two steps that you need to take as follows: 1. Present your opinion—Do this by being honest about what you need, and stating it in a direct manner. 2. Gain agreement from people—Do this by suggesting a course of action that meets your needs and accommodates their needs. In the past, conflict was viewed as something negative that needed to be suppressed in the workplace. But with careful and assertive handling, conflict can actually help to bring issues out into the open and restore harmony. 17. Creating an Internal Customer Service Plan In order to take the first step toward focusing on your internal customers, you need to put a plan in place. This will help you to implement your ideas as any good intentions will probably disappear when your telephone rings, or when you have deadlines to meet. 19 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  20. 20. An internal customer service plan brings together information about how to improve the service you offer. It does not have to be a slick and glossy document, nor does it need to be lengthy. However, it should contain the following elements:    Key processes, services, and activities—These are the key tasks that you need to undertake in order to make changes or improvements. Break the overall task down into bite-sized chunks—do not attempt to tackle a large task all at once. Think about each step that will be involved, and list them. This enables you to clearly see what needs to be achieved. Key milestones—These are the points in time when you expect to achieve certain activities, or when you will review progress. Give each task a deadline for completion, or for reviewing progress. This helps you to stay on schedule. Remember to be realistic, but don't set a date too far into the future. Always add in a review period, especially if the completion date is six weeks away or more. This enables you to keep the plan on course, and address any issues that arise. Definitions about who is taking responsibility for each activity— This determines who will perform each individual task. You might have overall responsibility, but you cannot do everything alone. You will depend on others for cooperation or information, so add their names to the plan. Before you put the wheels in motion to improve your internal customer service, you need to plan exactly what you will do, and how and when you will do it. This approach ensures that you stay on target and can achieve your goals. 20 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  21. 21. Elements of the Plan Key Activities Description Do Don't Break the overall task down into bitesized chunks. Do not attempt to tackle a large task. Think about the main steps that will be involved and list them. This enables you to clearly see what needs to be achieved. Do break large tasks Don't attempt to tackle down into smaller tasks a large task all at once. by listing the main steps you need to go through. Alongside each task, add a timescale within which you expect the task to be completed, or when you will review progress. This helps you stay on track. Do remember to be realistic. Milestones Do remember to set a date to review your progress if your milestone date is more than six weeks in the future. Define who will be involved in each task, Do communicate with and add their names in that column. people; distribute the plan to your colleagues so that they know exactly what their responsibilities are. Responsibilities Don't set dates that do not give you enough time to achieve the tasks you have set for yourself. Don't try to do everything yourself. Even if you are responsible for getting a task done, you will be dependent on other people’s support, expertise or cooperation. Make sure you add people’s names where you have a dependency upon them. 18. Setting Standards in the Organisation Planning how to implement an internal customer service strategy is the first step on the road to better service. But setting standards enables you to move your ideas and theories even closer to reality. Standards are the criteria that you will seek to satisfy. Standards hold you to account, by enabling you to quantify whether or not you are sticking to the plan that you set for yourself. Without standards, you will only have vague aims, and it will be harder to measure how successful you have been in achieving those aims. Although there are many different areas in which you could set standards, three in particular will help you to create a better experience for your internal customers. They are:  Accessibility—This involves setting standards about how your internal customers can gain access to you and your department. How easily do you want your customers to 21 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  22. 22. be able to contact you? In order to set this standard, you need to look at your internal customers' working patterns and how they prefer to deal with you. Do they need queries answered during lunchtimes, early in the morning, or late in the day? Do they prefer to use e-mail, the telephone, or to meet with you face to face?  Accuracy—This involves setting standards about the accuracy and quality of the information, service, or products that your department produces. To set this standard, you need to determine what you will do to ensure that the work and information that your department produces is up to date and high in quality. You also need to consider who should take responsibility for this. Have people check one another's work. Agree on how, and when, information will be updated or communicated, so that your people are giving accurate information, or know where to find it.  Timeliness—This involves setting standards about providing services in a timely manner, managing customers' expectations, and informing people if you cannot deliver on time. To set effective standards for timeliness, be honest with your customers about when they can expect a response from you. The key is to be realistic. Also, be honest with them if you cannot deliver on time. Setting standards helps you to commit to providing a high level of service to your internal customers. Standards give you clear targets to aim for, and help you to manage, and even exceed, your internal customers' expectations. 19. Customer Feedback Questionnaire You have been successful in improving the service that you offer your internal customers only if they feel that you are adding value to their roles. No matter how many statistics you produce that state that you've achieved your targets, if your customers' opinions differ from yours, then you must sit up and take notice. One of the best ways to measure customer satisfaction is to send out a customer feedback questionnaire. The questionnaire is an opportunity to ask your customers for their thoughts on how you measure up to your standards. It can also help you to assess what they need and expect from you. Questionnaires do not have to be formal documents. They can be interesting and informal, and structured in a way that measures not just the practical information, but also your customers' emotional satisfaction levels. When you are asking for internal customer feedback using a questionnaire, it is important to ask the right questions. This allows people to give you usable and honest feedback. The most appropriate types of questions to use are: Open questions These are questions that allow you to obtain lots of information. As the name suggests, they 22 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  23. 23. invite your customers to openly express their opinions. Open questions should begin with what, who, where, when, how, or why. These words invite your customers to respond openly, and give you lots of information. Do use these questions when you want to get feedback about how you can improve your service, and what you can do differently. Don't use these questions if you simply need a confirmation about something, where a simple yes or no will do. Closed questions These are questions that solicit a specific answer or a yes or no type of response from your customers. Closed questions begin with: "Is the...?" "Have you...?" "Do you...?" and "Are you...?" Any statement that will lead the customer down a specific path is a closed question. Do use closed questions if you want to check something specific, or need a simple response. Don't use closed questions if you are looking for opinions—people won't give them unless asked. Don't manipulate the question by making assumptions such as: "You probably feel..." or "Don't you agree that..." Situational questions These questions place customers into a scenario that has either happened, or which may happen in the future. You then ask them for their views and opinions. Situational questions are similar to open questions, but they place your customer into a scenario. For example: "Imagine if our department could provide you with any type of support. What would be most important to you?" Do use these questions to generate the feedback that is most valuable to you, for they encourage people to be creative, and to suspend reality, thereby generating good ideas. Don't use these questions too often, as this can lessen their impact. Save them for when you need your customers to generate ideas. Collecting feedback from your internal customers helps you to reinforce what you already know about your service, and to gain customer views and opinions about any improvements that you should make. It gives you the chance to measure the effectiveness of your service, and to make changes that will enhance the experience of your internal customers and benefit the organization as a whole. 23 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  24. 24. 20. Measuring Success Questions Description Open Questions Do Don't Open questions should begin with: Do use these questions when you want to get feedback about how you can what, why, where, when, how or improve your service, and what you can do differently. who. Don't use these questions if you simply need a confirmation about something, where a simple “yes” or “no” will do. These words invite your customers to respond openly and give you information. Closed Questions Closed questions begin with: “Is the...? Have you...? Do you...? Are you…?" Do use closed questions if you want to check something or need a simple response. They start with any statement that will lead the customer down a specific path. Don't use closed questions if you are looking for ideas or opinions, as people will be unlikely to give them unless they are invited to. Don't try to manipulate the question by using an assumptive statement such as: "You probably feel... or "Don't you agree that..." Situational Questions Situational questions are similar Do use these questions to to open questions, but the main obtain feedback that is most difference is that you place your valuable to you. customers in scenarios that enable them to think more carefully about what you need to know. This allows your customers to suspend reality, to help them be creative and really consider what they want and need from you. Don't use these questions too often as this can lessen their impact. Save them for getting your customers to generate ideas. For example: “Imagine you were given the authority to completely change one of our processes. What would it be? What changes would you make, and why?” 24 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  25. 25. 21. Creating a Complaint-friendly Environment Technical Assistance Research Program—research group in America found that if companies can get their customers to complain directly to them, they can minimize damage. Companies can actually create greater customer loyalty if the complaint is handled effectively. If this is the case with external customers, then this provides a strong case for encouraging your internal customers to complain if they are unhappy with the service they receive. In order to find out when your customers are dissatisfied, you need to create a complaintfriendly environment. You do not need to have ready-made solutions in place, but you do need to make your customers feel that they can complain. To create a complaint-friendly environment, do the following:     Put a customer complaints policy in place for staff members to follow. Explain to your customers who they should complain to. Explain to your internal customers how they can complain. Explain to internal customers how their complaints will be dealt with. If you can recover a dissatisfied customer, then you will have a more powerful ally who is likely to appreciate the effort you have made to rectify the problem. Creating a complaint-friendly environment gives you the opportunity to create stronger relationships with your internal customers. 22. Dealing with Complaints Positively Complaints can often appear awkward and difficult to handle. However, if you approach them positively, this need not be the case. Try to view the complaints your internal customers make as an opportunity to improve your service and tighten up your processes. Solution space Approaching complaints positively means setting goals and taking actions. This involves a process called solution space. Solution space is a simple model to help you create goals and actions to deal with a complaint positively, confidently, and quickly. Solution space consists of two dimensions: planning and actions. Planning Planning is about thinking through what you need to achieve, and what you can do as a result of receiving this complaint. When you are planning how to resolve a complaint, you need to think about what is most important. Is the customer extremely angry or unhappy? Is this a symptom of a wider problem within your team? Define the key issues that you need to address. 25 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  26. 26. Actions Actions are the steps you need to put in place to satisfy the complaint—what you should do to act on the complaint. These action steps are as follows:     Determine what can be done to regain the customer's trust. Find out what needs to be done to resolve the issue, what might have caused it in the first place, and how to prevent it from recurring. Discuss the complaint with your team. Call the customer and apologize. Complaints happen, and although they mean that a problem has already occurred, using solution space presents you with an opportunity to improve your customer service. By using solution space, you can plan and put actions into place to regain your customers' trust—in your business area and in you personally. 23. Types of Dissatisfied Customer Before you set the wheels in motion to create a complaint-friendly environment, you need to be aware that there are different types of dissatisfied customer. Dissatisfied customers are all unhappy about the level of service they have received, but they behave in very different ways. There are three types of dissatisfied customer: 1. Voicers—These are the most desirable of the dissatisfied customers. They will actively step forward and tell you about their bad experiences, sometimes offering advice and support, as they genuinely want to see you succeed. 2. Passives—These people say nothing to you, but will tell everyone else how unhappy they are. These people can damage your reputation without you knowing, until it is too late. 3. Activists—These customers are the most dangerous. They will go to great lengths to seek revenge. They will do this by going to your immediate supervisor directly, or even higher up in the organization. Their motivation is to seek revenge for poor service. Once you are aware that these different types of dissatisfied customer exist, you need to adopt the following strategies for dealing with them in the most effective way:   Voicers—Because voicers take the initiative, they genuinely want to see you correct your mistakes and make things right. Thank them for their feedback. Offer to let them know how you have resolved their complaints. Passives—As passives are reluctant to speak up, you need to ask them questions to get to the root of the complaint. Don't ask them, "Are you OK?" or "Are you unhappy about anything?" as they will probably say they are fine. Ask them open questions like, "What can we do differently?" 26 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  27. 27.  Activists—You need to manage this type carefully. As soon as they complain, tell them exactly what you will do. Stick to your word, as these people feel they have already been badly let down and may not trust you. Follow up with them to make sure they are happy with the end result. To deal most effectively with your internal customers' complaints, you need to understand what type of dissatisfied customer you are dealing with. Not all dissatisfied customers are alike. Being aware of the different types that exist will help you deal with each one most appropriately, and allow you to protect not only your relationships with your internal customers, but also your good reputation. Customer type Actions Voicers Because voicers take the initiative, they genuinely want to see you correct your mistakes and put things right:   Passives As passives are reluctant to speak up, you need to ask them questions to get to the root of the complaints:   Activists Don't ask them, "Are you OK?" or "Are you unhappy about anything?" as they will probably say they are fine Ask them open questions like, "What can we do differently?" You need to manage activists carefully:    27 | P a g e Thank them for their feedback Offer to let them know how you have resolved their complaints. As soon as they complain, tell them exactly what you will do Stick to your word. As these people feel they have already been badly let down, they may not trust you Follow up with them to make sure they are happy with the end results. Internal Customer Service
  28. 28. 24. Identifying the Root Cause of a Problem When you are feeling ill, the symptoms of your illness tell you that there may be a problem. In the same way, when you encounter a problem in the workplace, the symptoms give you the first indication that a problem exists. Although looking at symptoms is helpful when you are trying to solve a problem, treating them may not actually reach the root cause of the problem. Symptoms of a problem in the workplace could arise in any of the following areas:     Manpower—Issues associated with people. For example, managers, teams, coworkers, and internal customers. If people are unsure or unhappy about something, then this can make the problem worse. If the majority of the symptoms lie with manpower, ask people what they need to know, what their concerns are, or what can be done to make their jobs easier. Methods—Processes, or procedures that might be contributing to the problem; for example, deadlines, policies, performance objectives, and standards. Look at the processes or procedures that are involved. Look at what you can do to remove them or simplify them. Materials—Any materials that may be contributing to the problem. For example, stationery, forms, reports, and other documents. If this area contains the most symptoms, you need to examine the materials you use. Look at your materials to see what improvements you might make to resolve the problem. Machines—Anything mechanical that might apply to the problem. For example, computers, software, machinery, and equipment. If there are more symptoms relating to machines, ask yourself what might be causing the problem? What can be done to resolve it? Focus on areas that may be causing the problem. Where there are more symptoms relating to a particular area, you need to investigate this area further, as it will point you toward the cause of the problem. Depending upon the area that may be causing the problem, you need to take certain actions. You may become aware that a problem exists because several symptoms arise to alert you. Treating the symptoms themselves may take you off track, and might not provide a longterm solution to the problem. The most effective way to tackle a problem and prevent it from happening again, is to get to the root cause. Use the following questions as a checklist to measure how important internal customer service improvement is within your organization and business area. If you answer, “yes” to a question, think about what you can do to make improvements in this area. If you answer, “no” to a question, think about what you can do to take the next step toward addressing this issue. 28 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  29. 29. Customers Leadership Policies/Products/Services and Processes Do you know who your internal customers are, and how many you have? Do you know how many complaints you received this year from your internal customers? Is internal customer satisfaction part of your organization’s vision? Do you listen effectively to all your customers? Is there commitment at top-management for internal customer orientation? Are your products or services developed with your internal customers in mind? Do you regularly make an inventory of the key needs and expectations of your internal customers? Do you set a good example with regard to internal customerfriendly behavior? Do you appoint process owners for controlling processes? Do you regularly organize meetings with your internal customers to learn about their needs, wants, ideas and complaints? Are you available at all times for your internal customers? Does your department guarantee the quality of work it delivers? Do you have an internal customer complaints policy? Do you personally handle internal customer complaints? Do you run a training program to educate new employees concerning the importance of satisfying internal customers? Do you ask your employees to generate ideas about increasing internal customer satisfaction? Do the criteria for reward and recognition within your department include internal customer orientation and continuous work toward improvement? 29 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  30. 30. 25. Finding Solutions to Problems Once you have identified what is causing a problem, solving it should be straightforward. There is a simple three-stage process that you can follow to help you put a solution in place. The stages are: 1. Plan—Develop a plan to guide the solution through to a successful outcome. This involves taking an overview of what steps to put in place, who will be involved in the solution, who may be affected by any decisions you make and the time frames involved. 2. Implement—This step involves putting the tasks that need to be undertaken into action. For example, making the necessary arrangements, deciding on how people will be informed about what is happening and setting milestones to measure your progress. 3. Review—At this stage, you need to look back at how successful the solution has been and what has changed, or could have been improved upon. Reviewing doesn't happen just at the end of the process, but includes asking for feedback along the way. Check regularly during the implementation stage how well the plan is solving the problem and what changes need to be made to address any issues. Careful planning, implementation, and reviewing will considerably increase your chances of finding a successful outcome to each problem you encounter. Problem-solving Process: Steps Points to Remember Plan You should have a clear plan of exactly how you will solve the problem. Think things through carefully before you commit yourself to any actions. Decide who you need to involve in your decision making, and who may be affected by any decisions you make. Implement At this point in the process, you need to put specific actions in place to resolve the problem. At the implementation stage, you should identify exactly who will carry out specific tasks, and allocate timeframes to work within. Review Reviewing does not happen at the end of the process, but should include asking for feedback along the way. Check at various milestones in the implementation how well the plan is solving the problem, and what changes need to be made to address any issues. 30 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  31. 31. 26. Negotiations with Internal Customers A negotiation takes place when two people are communicating and where one or both parties has a goal in mind. For example, you and a colleague need to answer the telephone over a two-hour lunch period. You each need to take an hour for lunch, but you both want to take it at 1 p.m. This is a situation where negotiation is called for. To negotiate with your internal customers successfully, there are two very important skills that you need to use. These are:   Creating value—Creating value is about looking at a situation and working out what your own, and your customer's, needs and interests are. Claiming value—Claiming value is about getting your needs and interests met as closely as you can. In order to put creating and claiming value into practice, there are three steps you should follow: 1. Asking high-yield questions High-yield questions are questions that enable you to extract useful information from the person you are negotiating with. High-yield questions help you to find out what is important to the other person and help you to create value. Do start by asking open questions. These begin with what, why, where, how, who, and when. Open questions will get the other person to open up, and give you the information you need to put your case across effectively. Do use closed questions to confirm information, such as, "Have you?" "Do you?" "Are you?" Don't make assumptions that you know something. Don't ask assumptive questions, such as, "Don't you think..." or "Shouldn't you..." Look at the key interests both you and the other person have around the situation. 2. Identifying common interests Try to find something that you are both in agreement with. Finding common interest helps you to create value. Do focus on what you both want to achieve. Do state the facts, such as, "I need to do this" or "It appears we both want to achieve this." Don't say things like, "That's not fair" or "It's my turn." Don't raise minor issues that are not related to the issue you are negotiating about. 3. Using the right level of muscle There are four muscle levels you can use to help you claim value. They are:    Level one—This level is a polite request to the other person. Level two—This level is a more assertive request. Level three—At this level, you state the consequences. 31 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  32. 32.  Level four—At this level, you assert your authority against his wishes. Do use as little muscle as you can. If you have identified strong common interests, then only level one will be necessary. Use level two if the other person still needs to be convinced. Do avoid using muscle level four, as it creates conflict. Don't apply levels three or four right away, no matter how strongly you feel, as you risk creating a permanent breakdown in relationships. Only use level three if you reach a stalemate, and the other person will not back down. Although you are aiming to provide the best service you can for your internal customers, there are occasions when you cannot do exactly what they want, without compromising your own needs. At times like these, you need to negotiate so that you can achieve a winwin situation, one where you strengthen the relationship with your customer, and you successfully achieve your own aims. 32 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  33. 33. Steps to Successful Negotiation: The Steps Description Do Don’t High-yield Questions These questions enable you to extract useful information from the person you are negotiating with. High-yield questions enable you to find out what is important to the other person, and help you to create value. Do start by asking open questions. These begin with what, why, where, how, who, and when. Open questions get the other person to open up, and give you the information you need to put your case across effectively. Don't make assumptions that you know something. Use closed questions to confirm information, such as: "Have you...?" "Do you...?" "Are you...?" Don't ask assumptive questions such as, "Don't you think...?" "Shouldn't you...?" Find Common Interest Look at the key interests both you and the other person have around the situation. Finding common interests helps you to create value. Do focus on what you both want to achieve. Do state the facts, such as: "I need to do this," or "It appears we both want to achieve this." Don't say things like: "That's not fair," or "It's my turn." Don't raise minor issues that are not related to the issue you are negotiating about. Using Muscle There are four muscle levels you can use to help you claim value. Level one is a polite request to the other person. Level two is a more assertive request. At level three, you state the consequences. At level four, you assert your authority against his wishes. Do use as little muscle as you can. If you have identified strong common interests, then only level one will be necessary. Use level two if the other person still needs to be convinced. Do avoid using muscle level four as it creates conflict. No matter how strongly you feel, don't apply levels three or four straight away, as you risk creating a permanent breakdown in relationships. Only use level three if you reach a stalemate, and the other person will not back down. 27. Communication with Difficult Customers If you want to improve your relationships with difficult customers, you need to understand their styles of communicating. 33 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  34. 34. Your internal customers all have different personality types. You will have an immediate rapport with some people and will have to work harder to please others. People favor one of four basic communication styles: 1. Concise—Concise communicators want information, and they want it now! They tend not to be interested in polite small talk, but are on a mission. They can come across as rude and arrogant. 2. Analytical—Analytical communicators are more introverted and detail oriented. They want lots of information, but they also want plenty of time to digest it before making a decision. They are more at home with data and statistics. 3. Nurturing—The nurturing customer is someone who is easy going, and a real people person. They are non-aggressive and pleasant, but can often be hesitant and unsure. 4. Creative—The creative customer is not interested in the details, they are busy thinking about the bigger picture. They will take risks and think creatively, so they become impatient if they feel they are being bogged down with detail, or asked to comply with rules. The key to communicating effectively with difficult people is to try and set aside your own communication style and adopt one that complements the other person's. That's not to say that you should try to behave like her or try to act differently every time you are around her. However, there are a number of key things that you should and shouldn't do when trying to deal effectively with people that have different communication styles. They are: Concise communicators     Do your preparation beforehand. Concise communicators have no time for delays or niceties. They like to cut to the chase. Do use short sentences, and offer the briefest of information. They don't have time for chit-chat. Don't show a lack of confidence as they will assume that they can gain the upper hand. Don't waste their time. Organize your thoughts and the points you wish to make before you speak to them. Analytical communicators     Do tell them the facts in the order that they occurred. Do explain the details, and let them know exactly what to expect. Don't bounce around from one topic to another. Don't rush analytical types into making decisions; they need to weigh the pros and cons before reaching a conclusion. Nurturing communicators   Do behave nicely toward them. They don't have thick skin and want to feel as though they are liked. Do make an effort to be more personable and less formal. 34 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  35. 35.   Do spend more time with them. They want to build relationships. Don't cut them off if they are talking to you. If you don't have time to chat, then plan some time at a later date so that you can give them the time they need. Creative communicators   Do stay positive. The creative communicator is an optimist, so she hates to hear what cannot be done. Focus on what you can do, rather than what you cannot. Don't go into the details with creative communicators. They have short attention spans. Stick to the headlines and the bigger picture. It is easy to interpret other people's behavior as difficult, simply because it does not match your own way of communicating. The key to dealing with difficult customers is to understand what they are looking for and to give it to them. You only need to adjust the way you communicate slightly to help restore the balance and build better relationships with these customers. 35 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  36. 36. 28. Glossary Activists Dissatisfied customers who go to great lengths to seek revenge. They will do this by going to your immediate supervisor directly, or even higher up in the organization. Their motivation is to seek revenge for poor service. Analytical Communicators People who are more introverted and detail oriented. They want lots of information but they also want plenty of time to digest it before making a decision. Claiming Value Getting your needs and interests met when you are negotiating Common Interests Looking at the key interests both you and the other person have around the situation when you are negotiating. Trying to find something that you are both in agreement with. Concise Communicators People who want information, and they want it now. They tend not to be interested in polite small talk, but are on a mission. They can come across as rude and arrogant. Creating Value Looking at a situation, and working out what the needs and interests are of both you and your customer when you are negotiating. Creative Communicators People who are not interested in the details. They are busy thinking about the bigger picture. They will take risks and think creatively, so they become impatient if they feel they are being bogged down with detail, or asked to comply with rules. High-yield Questions Questions that enable you to extract useful information from the person you are negotiating with. Negotiation This takes place when two people are communicating, and where one or both parties has a goal in mind. Nurturing Communicators People who are easy going, and interested in people. They are non-aggressive and pleasant, but can often be hesitant and unsure. Passives Dissatisfied customers who say nothing to you, but will tell everyone else about how unhappy they are. These people can damage your reputation without you knowing until it is too late. Reciprocity Returning a favor. TARP Technical Assistance Research Program. Voicers Dissatisfied customers who will actively step forward and tell you about their bad experience. They offer advice and support, as they genuinely want to see you make a difference, and succeed. Aggressive behavior Ignoring or dismissing the needs, opinions, feelings, or beliefs of others. Achieving what you want to achieve, but doing this by violating other people's needs, feelings, or opinions. Assertive behavior Formulating and communicating your own thoughts and wishes in a clear and direct manner. Getting what you want without ignoring other people's opinions and feelings. 36 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  37. 37. Customer experience statement A customer experience statement describes the service that you will deliver, and how you will deliver it. It also describes the overall goal that you are aiming for. Emotional experience How your internal customers feel as a result of dealing with you. Key customers People who rely on you for your support. People on whom your job depends. Non-key customers People that you encounter in your role, but whose work or job is not integral to what you do on a day-to-day basis. Passive behavior Behaving in a self-effacing and apologetic manner. Either not standing up for your own rights at all, or standing up for them only half-heartedly, so that others can disregard them. Physical experience Any interaction that your internal customers have with you--a telephone conversation, a letter, an e-mail, or a face-to-face meeting. customer dialog The process of asking internal customers what their needs are and measuring how well they have been met. A way to understand your internal customer's world. customer-friendly processes Processes that add value, having functions that make it easier for your internal customers to "do business" with you. employee commitment One of three factors that need to be in place for internal customer service to succeed. All employees should have a clear understanding of who the internal customers are. Policies and standards should be put in place to support these customers. external driving forces Pressures that come from outside the organization that encourage the improvement of internal customer service. The organization has little or no control over these. internal customer service The way in which you serve people within your team and people you come into contact with in other areas within your organization. internal driving forces Forces within the organization that drive the need for co-workers to give and receive better service. The organization has control over these drivers. jargon A specialized or technical language of a trade, profession, organization, or department. loyal customers Internal customers who hold your service in high esteem. They have a genuine need or desire to deal with you and make good use of the services you offer. 37 | P a g e Internal Customer Service
  38. 38. one-time customers Internal customers who use your services once or occasionally. personalized goals Goals that relate to the individual's job role or skills. progressive leadership Proactively encouraging people to give better service through your own actions. repeat customers Internal customers who return on a regular basis. specific goals Goals that clearly state what is expected of the individual and make it easy to measure the individual's progress. 38 | P a g e Internal Customer Service

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