When I lost 70 pounds in one year, it may have appeared to others as a magical transformation.
My weight loss, however, largely happened as a result of diet and training for my first two triathlons. New disciplines and habits — not workout gadgets — was the only “magic” at work.
We’ve all seen those cheesy, dramatic “before and after” pictures for diet plans or late night TV exercise equipment. They seem to tout a quick and pain free way to go from “flab” to “fab”!
Transformation takes a plan and the will to see it through. And this principle applies to both weight loss and business!
I’d like to share how a simple plan transformed the way we served our external customers and transformed our customer service.
I’m talking about the changes that occurred after we introduced the Nside/Outside principle to our people.
Prior to introducing and implementing the Nside/Outside (internal customer) principle into my company, Albert Moving and Storage, we were pretty good at serving our customers. But, sometimes we would “drop the ball” – as shown in the following example:
Crew leader, Joe Mover, knocks on the door. A lady, still in her pajamas, opens the door, and Joe says, “Good morning Mrs. Smith! We’re here from Albert Moving and Storage”.
Mrs. Smith is shocked! She says, with obvious surprise and some concern in her voice, “I phoned your people yesterday morning and told them we wouldn’t be ready ‘till tomorrow!”.
WOW! The internal service of the person who took her call broke down, leaving Joe and his crew with a wasted trip and the customer, Mrs. Smith, with real concerns about the way her needs are – or are not – being handled.
After implementing the Nside/Outside principle, our employees began to realize the importance of developing an internal teamwork spirit. Where everyone in the organization recognizes that every contact with every external customer represents a chance to hit a customer-delight home run – or a strike out.
Every leader can improve their service to their external customers by asking their internal customers three questions.
Interview your internal customer
When an internal supplier goes to their internal customer in your organization, they can use the following three questions to complete an internal customer needs analysis.
This is much like what a sales person does with their external customer to evaluate their on-going business relationship.
The internal supplier would ask their internal customer…
1. What do you need from me?
2. What do you do with what I give you?
3. What are the gaps between what I give you and what you need?
This is one of the somewhat paradoxical truths of leadership:
Focus on the inside people and processes – and reap the rewards on the outside, with enhanced customer service and delight!
I have made it easy for you to do this in your own organization. I’ve prepared an Internal Customer Questionnaire, complete with instructions. It’s FREE, and you can download it immediately by <clicking here>. Feel free to print it or save it for your own use.
Will you consider using the internal customer questionnaire? What are some of the possible outcomes? Please share your thoughts <here> and share this blog post with a friend or co-worker.