Where is the right place to start a service improvement program inside your organization? The answer may seem obvious. You start with team members who sell to and serve your customers. After all, customers are the ones who buy your products and use your services. They come back when they are happy and complain when they are not. It makes sense that salespeople, delivery teams, and support and service representatives should be the first to participate in a service improvement program, right?
Well, no. If your objective is to build an uplifting service culture, this approach is problematic.
Customer facing staff know that service to customers is important; they experience the compliments and complaints every day. But customer facing staff often have complaints of their own about the internal service they receive from other departments. Without an improvement in internal service, it is difficult to ask external service providers to keep improving.
By contrast, when internal service does improve, it is much easier to ask external service providers to improve, and easier for them to do it. This is why Uplifting Service recommends launching your service improvement program with internal service providers: finance, legal, IT, HR, warehousing, facilities, logistics, security, administration. Or launch with internal-service and external-service groups learning together to gain end-to-end service understanding, alignment and commitment.
Focusing only on your customer-facing employees is a mistake you don’t want to make. Involve your internal service providers from the beginning.