Understanding internal processes
It’s important for different parts of a company to work together and understand each other’s role in the organization. Companies that function well often realize this and encourage communication between different departments.
Some typical initiatives or activities companies use to foster this understanding include
- service level agreements, commonly known as SLAs cross-functional,
- steering groups, and
- service champions.
Service level agreements (SLAs)
SLAs spell out what internal customers can reasonably expect from service providers. They’re usually a formal document aimed at improving internal customer service and its terms are clear to everyone involved.
SLAs ensure service expectations are communicated in advance, so service providers can manage their time and resources. Plus SLAs prevent animosity forming between internal customers and reduce the number of last-minute requests and unreasonable demands.
Cross-functional steering groups
Some organizations establish steering groups made of employees from various departments. Because a range of experiences from different levels of the organization are included, these groups are in a position to spearhead initiatives that improve internal communication and raise the level of internal customer service.
Service champions are individuals who represent their departments or employees who perform the same function. They spearhead improvements by acting as go-betweens for management and their colleagues, and form unofficial links with other service champions.
That way, a network of service champions is formed across the organization, which ensures a steady flow of communication between different departments and levels of management. Service champions often serve to motivate or influence their colleagues.
These initiatives improve internal customer service from an organizational perspective because they entrench systems that allow departments to communicate. But no matter what initiatives, activities, or processes your company may have in place to facilitate interaction and communication between departments, as an individual you can do more to improve your relationship with colleagues you provide a service to.
Delivering on internal customers’ needs is a five-step process:
- List your internal customers
- Get to know their work processes and roles
- Discuss your mutual expectations openly
- Implement necessary action
- Get feedback, evaluate and review
Getting to know internal customers
The first step to improving your internal customer service is to jot down a list of your internal customers. To do this, determine the relationships you have with different colleagues. Once you’ve identified your internal customers, you should get to know their work processes and roles in the organization by gathering information about what they do and why they do it.
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