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Good Politics and Customer Service

In my previous post I commented at length about the harsh realities of today’s organizational politics and the childish interactions that result… but I did say there was hope… or at least I hinted at as much.

Hope comes in the form of internal customer service and the good will it generates – that good will begets good politics.

Much is made – and rightfully so – about the need to effectively service our external clients. But what about our ‘internal’ customers, should they be held to less of a service standard than their (typically) paying counterparts?

When I’m asked to speak on this subject, invariably this question arises: “Should our commitment to internal service, match our commitment to external customer care?”

The answer: OF COURSE!

Would you talk to your Mother like that?

Customer service requires constant attention to the end-user client. Constant action. Sometimes clients are demanding, too demanding. Sometimes they want too much, need too much, ask too many questions, are slow on the uptake, need help with everything, interrupt your ‘real work’ etc. etc.

But still, even with all of the effort that is required to keep them happy, everyone reading this knows, you never:

  • Swear at a customer, or speak disparagingly

  • Sigh after they make a request, or ask a question - no matter how annoying it may be

  • Forget basic manners, such as: please and thank you

  • Attend a planned meeting late, or forget about it altogether

These things are simply ‘no-no’s” in the world of customer service… Correct?

What if that customer is a colleague from Sales, Marketing, Operations, HR or Finance? Do these simple ‘rules’ still apply? If they do, you are well on your way to creating a team that has the internal support to effectively interact with an increasingly complex external customer… if those rules do not apply to your colleagues – why not?

It’s just math.

As far as I’m concerned, without a positive (internal) focus on any group that is tasked with delivering (external) customer excellence, the result will always be a ‘mixed bag’ of client service interactions. Any organization, department or team that fails to care for its internal customer, is counting exclusively on the intrinsic motivation of the individual contributor to drive results.

As a business owner… that is simply terrifying. The math I mean.

  • Happy staff = Happy clients.

  • Unhappy staff = Customer service pinned to a wish and a prayer.

There are no guarantees in life, but I’ll take my chances with a high functioning, engaged and recognized staff member interacting with my clients, over a disengaged and disgruntled employee that I hope will put the customer’s needs above their own.

It’s just good politics.

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