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Remember: The internal customer is equally important

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During customer service training, lessons and activities in the way to treat internal customers are necessary, or we will have failed to achieve important training goals. Good internal relationships ensure the success and prosperity of an organization.

Who are our internal customers?

These are the people within our companies, our colleagues--the people who depend on us, and on whom we in turn depend, in order to deliver sterling service to our external customers. Internal customers need our timely help and service also, accurate information, courtesy, our respect and cooperation. When we deliver these basics to our internal customers we automatically become part of a great team working to promote the success of the company we work for.

Management and employees at times lose sight of the importance of the concept of the internal customer as they place all emphasis on the external customer. But bear in mind, if turmoil reigns within a company, if needs and expectations are not met internally, then who suffers? The answer to that question is too obvious: The external customer, of course.

Origin of the term

In 1988, Joseph M. Juran, the Quality Management writer first introduced the notion of an external customer in the fourth edition of his Quality Control Handbook. He stressed the importance of meeting needs and expectations internally, of fulfilling promises, of employees being knowledgeable as they assist their colleagues-- all toward the great goal of retaining the external customer.

Train well

Truly, the happy internal customer is a force within a company. Yet some companies ignore the importance of good internal relationships and the great team-building that results, as they focus exclusively on the external customer. We have news for you: There will be no way of keeping the external customers away once that internal machinery is operating and delivering at its optimum. So, let's start with the training.

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