Internal Customers are Still Customers

We have a number of clients who take a significant number of calls from internal customers. It might be a co-worker from another division, another customer support department, or an outside sales person. Do we analyze these calls? Yes, in most cases we do include some of these calls in the sample. Here are a couple of reasons:

  • The best of the best CSRs understand that there is no difference between their external customers and internal customers.
  • The better you serve internal customers the better service you get from internal customers ("what goes around comes around").
  • It’s difficult to give sloppy "I don’t care" service to an internal customer and then flip the switch and deliver great service when a "real" customer calls. The best CSR I’ve ever analyzed in twelve years is a great example. She rarely scores less than 100 and she treats her co-workers as if they were her most valued customer. Rather than thinking it’s stupid or wierd, her co-workers have an amazing respect for her.
  • Internal customers are an integral part of the service delivery system that ultimately effects the external customer. I have, more than once, heard a CSR answer their phone after seeing a co-workers extension on the caller-ID. "What the h*ll do you want?" I recall one CSR joking when they picked up the phone, only to hear the co-worker say "Hi, I have customer Bob on the line with me and…"
  • Internal calls can surface process and procedures that may be getting in the way of resolving customer issues.

An "internal" call is still an important part of your business. There is value to providing quality service no matter who is on the other end of the line.

Related Posts:
Lessons in a Dialogue
You Know What They Say About Assumptions

  11 comments for “Internal Customers are Still Customers

  1. July 15, 2006 at 10:01 am

    Tom, I wrestle with this one nearly every day, because we have a lot of intercompany communications. The real challenge is in convincing agents that there really is no difference between customers and fellow teammates. We do record and review these internal conversations, but I realize there’s a lot more work to be done than that. Any magic bullets out there? Thanks.

  2. July 15, 2006 at 9:36 pm

    Internal Customers Are Important Too

    Tom Vander Well of QAQnA has a great post about internal customers, or our coworkers. We should always treat our internal customers just like our external customers – with respect and kindness – because wouldn’t you wanted to be treated…

  3. July 16, 2006 at 7:40 am

    Tom: Can you elucidate on some specific things the CSR did/said – the lady who is the best CSR you’ve seen in 12 years? How did she score 100 most of the times?

  4. July 17, 2006 at 7:46 am

    Starbucker, here’s a suggestion: If possible, utilize your QA software to “follow” a customer as they get blind-transferred and passed around to multiple people within your company. This can be a real eye-opener for people to hear.
    One of the things we do in training is “recreate” an actual phone call using voice-actors and changing names/account numbers to protect the identity of the individuals. With one client we had a recording of one CSR arrogantly refusing to take a transferred customer from an associate and arguing about it while the cusotmer was waiting. We recreated it and played it for the group. Everyone agreed that it was not an isolated incident and it sparked the beginning of some changes.
    (By the way, we have made call recreations for others at a reasonable cost. If anyone wants more information, please contact me.)

  5. July 17, 2006 at 7:47 am

    Good question, Harsha. Sorry to put you off, but I think that the answer is good fodder for another post. Stay tuned!

  6. July 18, 2006 at 8:35 am

    Good stuff Tom – thanks. BTW; we use Verint for our QA; it’s quite good so we could do the “following” rather easily. All the best.

  7. July 18, 2006 at 12:40 pm

    Great! Let me know if you get it done and how it turns out.

  8. October 22, 2007 at 10:39 am

    Trying to create a CS mission statement for internal customers. Anyone have help?

  9. October 22, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    That’s a great question, Nick! Let me put a post together and pose it to our readers and subscribers. Maybe we can dig up some ideas. I’m interested, as well!

  10. June 8, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Did you and/or Nick of Amanet have any luck developing a CS mission for internal customers? I’m looking to develop a CS strategy with the key focus being internal customers.

  11. June 9, 2009 at 7:32 am

    I heard nothing more than the comments on this post, Michelle! Anyone else want to report on their success?

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