“The problem is,” a shipping supervisor told us during a customer experience assessment for one of our clients, “that the sales team doesn’t do the work they are supposed to do. They give us incomplete information, then wonder why things don’t get shipped. We end up scrambling, the product goes out late and the customers complain.”
It would have seemed like a fair observation had we not met with some of the shipping clerks earlier in the day. One in particular stood out because of her record of zero late shipments. “I used to work in sales,” she said. “It’s harder than people think to connect with clients these days, not to mention the internal people who have to sign off on large orders.”
“Usually,” she said, “the information we need is just one or two simple things. If I can just pick up a phone and get the information directly from the client or whoever, I do it. It’s 20 seconds out of my life that saves a lot of scrambling later on.”
One of the clerks looked at her skeptically and made a comment about her being taken advantage of. “Perhaps,” the first clerk said with a grin, “but I get a steady stream of chocolate and wine.” The other clerks looked at each other. They’d seen the wine.
External Customer Service Relies on Internal Customer Service
It is important to keep in mind that the customer service our end-customers receive is really just the end of long, interconnected chains of internal service experiences. For an organization to be truly customer-focused, internal customers – those colleagues who depend on us to get their jobs done – need to be treated with the same care and respect with which we show external customers.
The next time your colleagues need something from you, try and think of a way to go a bit beyond their expectations. Not only will you make life a little easier for them, you will also earn their respect and thanks. Do it consistently enough and who knows – maybe you’ll start getting chocolate and wine too.