The Enemy Within: Internal Customer Service Impacts Growth

A shared vision impacts teamwork, service and growth

This is the second post in a three part series about customer service.  The first post asked the question, “Can great customer service be taught to anyone?”

This post examines the need for people at every level of an organization to share a vision and view each other as their customer:

  • Have you ever needed something from a co-worker in order to do your job but encountered red-tape or bad attitudes?
  • Have you ever gone in search of answers about data that was required for a critical report only to be passed from person to person and from department to department, finding that no one would provide a straight answer let alone take ownership?
  • Have you ever sat through a meeting where it was more important to point fingers and place blame than it was to look for solutions?
  • Has your organization ever laid anyone off because it wasn’t generating enough revenue, and you know that you know, that you know; that the biggest challenges they are facing weren’t created “out there”  it was created by the silos, politics and turf wars within the organization?

Below are several real examples: 

When a new patient is being admitted to the hospital for testing he waits in the waiting room for several hours.  En route to the room, the orderly talks smack about the disorganization of the administrative staff.  Throughout the rest of the stay in the hospital the patient witnesses hospital staff being kind and friendly with him, and yet repeatedly knocking other departments.  If you were the patient would you be very trusting about your diagnosis, your care, or even the accuracy of the billing, based on the lack of teamwork you were witnessing?

When people see a lack of alignment at the top, they know they don’t have to align.  Ken Blanchard

A candidate is flown into town from another state, HR requests that the drug test is done while the candidate is in the area.  The hiring manager doesn’t think it is a priority.  The candidate returns home without taking the drug test.  The battle between departments begins.  Ultimately the candidate is asked to fly back again, just for the drug test!  Wasting time, wasting finances, increasing the battle lines and decreasing trust.  If you were the prospective new hire would you be concerned about what it is like to actually work for this organization?   

Silos – and the turf wars they enable – devastate organizations.  They waste resources, kill productivity and jeopardize the achievement of goals.  …They cause frustration, stress and disillusionment by forcing employees to fight bloody, unwinnable battles with people who should be their teammates.  Patrick Lencioni

An organization creates a new program to help customers drop off items at the place of business before it opens, to make things more efficient for their customers.  The program is promoted in their newsletters, their internet site, and throughout their locations.  Soon after the new program is rolled out, one of the stores institutes a change that makes it impossible to provide this service. Then another store makes a change. Soon customers are up early and driving from location to location for the marketed service, to find that it no longer exists in some locations, causing them to question if it has been discontinued through the entire organization.   If you were the customer would you start doing business with a competitor?

Customers make repeated requests to frontline employees for changes in procedures that would support their needs at a higher level but when the department heads meet to discuss the request, the response is “No!  There is no way we can do that.”  No consideration, no debate.  Because after all it is more important to make things easier for one person, or one department than to consider the needs of the customer or the entire organization….  Would you invest in a company if you knew this is how they did business? 

“Are you bringing a spirit of obligation or a spirit of contribution to your team?” Nikki Nemerouf

The office staff is frequently yelled at, cussed at, and belittled by the sales staff in a large organization.  As a coping mechanism the office staff create rigid rules that must be followed to the letter, no exceptions.  Daily the two teams tangle.  Daily they waste time.  Daily decisions are based on who can trump who, not on what is best for the customers or for the organization as a whole.  If you were one of the employees caught in this turf-battle would you get tired of the energy-suck?   

The country you call home is divided over a heated battle between conservative and liberal, he said, she said.  It looks like children fighting on a playground worrying more about “ME” than “WE.”   People do what people see.  How are you leading?    

Whether you are the CEO or lead a small work team, you are ridiculously in charge if you are the leader.  And you can certainly protect it and defend it against that which would infect it, derail it, or bring it down. You will get what you create and what you allow.  Dr. Henry Cloud

Does everyone in your organization share a powerful vision?

Does it pull people together?  …Increasing teamwork, service and results?  

If not.  Start there!  

Organizational Health

Chery Gegelman Keynotes and Workshops


Image credits:  iStock

President, Giana Consulting

Chery Gegelman is an adventurer that loves to learn. ...Deep conversations, books, travel, and daily living are all food for growth.

As a speaker, facilitator and workshop leader she creates energizing environments that reflect God's grace, tear down walls, help people to consider new perspectives, and inspire change.

Chery is the Founder of Giana Consulting and Conversation Safari's, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

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