When you think of an organization, it is really composed of many customers and suppliers internally within the organization itself. In a manufacturing company for example, the sales department usually starts the process by getting an order from a customer. They pass this order to the Purchasing department, who sends it to the Engineering department and from there it goes to Manufacturing and then is passed on to Shipping. Each of these departments has certain things they need from the prior department or “internal supplier”. Therefore each department is a supplier and a customer to each other.

There is a domino effect between internal customer satisfaction and external customer satisfaction. In order to produce happy external customers (the ones who buy your product/service), it is important and imperative to build customer satisfaction between the internal customers.


How do you do this? It consists of five simple steps:

1. Have each department identify who is their internal customer and who is their internal supplier/s.

2. Request each department to talk to their internal customers and ask them specifically what is needed for them to do their jobs that they provide.

3. Have them ask these internal customers what they currently do that disappoints them in delivering what they provide.

4. Request they ask these internal customers what they could do that would delight them and make their jobs easier.

5. Document all of the above.

Keeping internal customers satisfied and happy is the first step towards creating external customer loyalty. According to the Service Profit Chain (Harvard Business Review) this is where it begins. Yet, from what I’ve seen, there are so few businesses that look at their organization as a microcosm of many customers and suppliers within the overall company and within departments themselves. For instance, the IT department is a supplier to most every individual and other departments delivering the output of help and assistance with computers and computer systems.

It is a like a chain, each link is important to the overall strength of the chain. When there is a broken link, the whole organization is weakened. When one internal department supplier is always late, delivers bad or wrong output, acts discourteously and disrespectfully to the next department – it makes it much more difficult for the other departments to ensure the final external customer is happy and satisfied. This is what creates the tension and stress that frustrates employees and causes their job dissatisfaction. Customer service must become a requirement for all employees within an organization, not just those that deal with external customers. There is a direct correlation between internal and external service delivery.

T.A.Yanovitch, Inc. will work with your organization to instill this culture into your organization so it can compete in today’s world.  Contact Teri at ty@retainloyalcustomers.com or 407.788.7765.

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