How Does Your Internal Customer Service Measure Up?
The secret shopper calls did a lot of things. It gave us data to support what already knew (or at least hoped) to be true – the fact that we provided great service to our external customers. It allowed employees from one department to learn more about the services provided, and challenges faced, by other departments. And it created a nice mechanism for triggering upper management to send kudos, in the form of thank you cards, to front line employees. All and all it was a success.
However, I was the one who had instigated the secret shopper surveys and I had a different motive. I wanted the data so we could throw down the gauntlet and challenge our internal departments to deliver the same quality of service that our customer-facing departments did. From my point of view, internal customer service seemed to be lacking. I remember having asked my boss if the emails I sent to Finance went into a black hole. Unresponsiveness was not unusual. Then there was Human Resources. The very thought of having to deal with HR struck fear into the heart of almost every employee at the organization.
To be fair, these departments had been set up for trouble. When I started working there in 1999, a new fiscal director had been hired and had found that the organization (with a budget of about $7 million) was still doing its accounting, quite literally, with pencil and paper. And the previous HR department? There hadn’t been one. People just did whatever they thought was best. Anarchy reigned.
We could argue about whether or not internal customer service is as important as external for your bottom line, but it’s unarguably important for the health of your organization. Giving employees what they need makes them happier, more productive and more likely to keep working for you. So how do you cultivate good internal customer service?
The Right Tools for the Job
There are two things you can and should do to ensure high quality internal customer service. One is to make it clear that teams serving internal customers are expected to live up to the same service standards as customer-facing departments. It’s understood that the answer to some requests will be “no.” However, those no’s can be delivered in a timely, professional and polite manner. Set the expectation that all teams in your organization will be held to the same high standards of customer service.
The other is to give your internal service teams the right tools for the job – the right tools to provide excellent customer service. JIRA Service Desk is a proven tool that streamlines and optimizes request management. ProForma makes it fast and easy for non-tech business teams to adapt to JSD. Best of all, you can bring teams like Finance, Legal, HR and Marketing into JIRA without needing to create custom fields and complex configurations. Instead, teams create the forms they need and attach them to JIRA issues/requests.
Forms are powerful. They allow you to collect all the information you need in one place. Your internal service teams spend a lot of time handling repeated tasks. By allowing teams to create the forms they need, you empower them to manage their processes in a way that works for them. Handling of routine tasks becomes easy and efficient, freeing up team members to concentrate on big picture issues.
We’ve made it easy. ProForma’s form builder is simple and intuitive. Teams can build forms from scratch or access a library of customizable process templates and forms. You can even enable *electronic signatures so that there’s really no more need for paper.
This also gives teams and the customers they serve all the benefits of a service desk model:
- Queues to ensure requests are handled, not left to go stale in an email inbox
- Real-time status so that anyone involved with an issue can check its status at any time
- The ability to connect to a Confluence knowledge base, allowing customers to serve themselves
- An easy mechanism for getting requests approved
- SLAs to ensure prompt service delivery
- The ability to measure the frequency, volume and time needed to resolve particular request types so teams can allocate their resources according to demand
To borrow a metaphor from Atlassian, your internal service teams are the wings that keep the plane in the air. Empowering those teams to provide excellent service will make your organization soar.
*Ability to add electronic signatures is currently only available if you are using the Cloud version of JIRA Service Desk.