After a bicycle ride, I turn my jersey inside-out to launder it – in order to minimize wear on the fabric.
I have ridden my bicycle about 3,000 miles a year over the last few decades, so you can imagine how many cycles (on the road and in the laundry) it's had to endure!
I have found that, in the case with running an organization as well as with washing my cycling clothes, the Nside/Outside Principle has proven to be the key to service excellence!
Identify your internal customer
First, we talked about how to identify your internal customers and suppliers. Here’s a link to that blog post <here>. Don’t miss the leadership tool that’s free to download from within that post.
Interview your internal customer
Next, we talked about how to determine the true needs of your internal customers. You can jump to that blog post <by clicking here>, where you’ll get access to another leadership tool, the Internal Customer Questionnaire, that helps your people discover how to function better as a team!
Everything that I’ve learned points us back to the truth:
Our service to our external customers can only be as good as our service to each other. – Bobby Albert
When people learn that every team member impacts (as small as it may seem) the retention of external customers, they become strongly motivated to improve the necessary quality of the internal service between the internal suppliers and internal customers.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV
Achieve Service Excellence
Once you implement the quality improvement ideas you receive from the Internal Customer Questionnaire, a typical external customer transaction should occur with…
- The initial customer-contact employee enthusiastically interacts with the external customer by asking questions and listening.
- The external customer requirements are accurately recorded and the employee’s understanding of the customer’s needs and desires are confirmed with the customer.
- Any confusion or ambiguities are quickly identified and cleared up before the fulfillment journey goes any further.
Insight: Uncorrected errors can quickly sabotage your business. The longer it takes to identify and correct an error, the more your costs skyrocket!
- Team members downstream from the sale transaction are made aware of the exact external customer requirements, as requested.
- Any changes in requirements caused by a shift in the external customer expectations would be communicated with those downstream as soon as possible.
- Stronger relationships are built between internal customers and internal suppliers. This enhances communications with everyone involved and positions them to better deal with future changes.
Every leader and every employee, both internal customers and internal suppliers, must clearly understand how their contribution impacts the external customer’s experience.
This understanding paves the way for the entire organization to provide service excellence!
What methods do you use to ensure top-notch customer service at your organization? What has worked best for you? Please share your thoughts <here> and share this blog post with a friend or co-worker.