Internal Customer Service

Christoph Guttentag’s positive experience with Duke’s HR department got me thinking about internal customer service. Isn’t the customer service you provide to your employees just as important as the customer service you provide to your customers? They should be happy, too. They should like working for and with your company in the same way that your customers like working with your company. But companies tend to place internal customer service even lower on the priority list than regular, external customer service. (discussed here) has an internal customer service policy where their marketing team promises to make web site updates within 24 hours of the initial request. While they obviously can’t do that for every request, they make an effort and a commitment to each other to get things done and to respect everyone’s requests and wishes. This isn’t always easy, but it makes working with the marketing team, and as a result, contributing to’s web site, a lot easier. They’ve made it easy and it’s paying off.

At other companies, internal customer service is almost ingrained into the culture. The whole idea of treating your co-workers with respect and doing what you can to make their life easier is a big part of many companies’ cultures. Solidifying the process and the cultural idea is always helpful, though.

I’ve also read about companies (I believe it was a hotel) that do things to make the behind the scenes experience enjoyable for employees. They’ll do employees’ laundry, have employee concierge services that run errands, daycare, etc. These are all becoming more and more common, especially at companies in industries and cities where there is competition for employees. All of these things make the company a better place to work. The best places to work tend to attract the best talent, which more often than not, leads to a return on the bottom-line.

In addition to the hiring and retention benefits of internal customer service, great internal customer service tends to make jobs less stressful and more enjoyable. When Mr. Guttentag can pick up the phone and easily get answers to questions about his retirement packages and what not, it makes his life easier. He doesn’t have to scramble for answers and think about what a pain it is to get an answer each time he has a question. The experience is hassle free and maybe even enjoyable.

Service like that, whether it be internal or external, sets the average companies apart from the great companies (or organizations).

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