“We don’t have customers”, “we don’t have any touchpoints with customers”, “my colleagues are no customers”. These were the most common responses from my colleagues when I would talk to them about servicing their (internal) clients the same way we expect them to service their (real) customers. I could literally see in their eyes what they were thinking about me. I earned a lot of weird looks.
Only one year later I had back-office teams betting bottles of champagne on who will hit the highest satisfaction score from their clients.
How did I achieve this? I developed a measurement system along the value chain. It was a mix of service satisfaction and quality components. This showed them quite vividly the impact of their work. For them it was values that were close, tangible and influenceable. Especially the teams with good team leaders really put themselves into it and achieved great things. Every three months there was feedback that they could work with and see the results of their efforts.
Customer focus is not only the job of the employees at the front. It is not only about understanding the external customer but also about knowing your own customers. And for employees in the back office, that means first and foremost their own colleagues. If an entire company is to be customer-centric, this is usually the first shift in the mindset that needs to happen.