Friday, August 13, 2010

CUSTOMER SERVICE: Internal And External

This week’s top story seems to center on a certain airline employee – It made me think of some past customers & clients I have dealt with in the past. I have used my best diplomacy and negotiating skills in more instances than I could count (and held my frustration in check many times).

The reasons are far too varied to list them all here, but the thing most had in common was something was out of my hands and in a lot of cases out of the hands of subordinates. Coming to mind: -Service from 2 layers downWrong SHADE of a color in an ad—an Unasked request not filled (“they SHOULD have know”)—and on. The two most extreme I think would be a request—um demand—that my boss NOT visit him anymore (AWKWARD!!) and the call accusing my company of FRAUD (that case resulted in A~ the firing of an employee and B~ UPselling of the customer by me).

But the other thing I thought of was INTERNAL customers. Interesting term. Sometimes it is very apt- $ traveled form one department to another, but most times it is different parts of a company that rely on each other to accomplish the end goal= producing a product, satisfying a customer, ETC. In this arena I only had one-for lack of another word- conflict. Another dept was crucial to ME providing the client’s needs, and the manager was – resistant- to taking responsibility for his team’s errors. Well, we had an internal survey, and I spoke my mind. He called my boss and complained- it hurt his bonus. The problems his dept caused cost me bonus money. My boss said that while true “we don’t put it in the survey."
Well- the result was the other manager and myself meeting and going over standards, memos and types of communication available. Longer story shorter (you’re welcome)- We got to the point where he still protected his people, but when it was on his end- he admitted it, fixed it and we moved on. I cemented this by spending an entire day with his team. Them seeing I cared and wanted to understand only added to the improvements seen. My Boss? He publicly gave me credit for building a level of communication between departments the company had not seen before.
Now while it may SEEM I got off track from my opening statement, let me tie it all together. In certain position you have to develop a thicker skin. How many of us have vented once we left the building or hung up the phone? How many have wanted to start singing Johnny Paycheck’s “take this job and shove it?” Now I’m not condemning this guy, Heck- its good escapism and venting by proxy. The thing is, it’s not me

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