Group of Service Providers

Where is the right place to start a service improvement program inside your organization? The answer may seem obvious. You start with team members who sell to and serve your customers. After all, customers are the ones who buy your products and use your services. They come back when they are happy and complain when they are not. It makes sense that salespeople, delivery teams, and support and service representatives should be the first to participate in a service improvement program, right?

Well, no. If your objective is to build an uplifting service culture, this approach is problematic.

Customer facing staff know that service to customers is important; they experience the compliments and complaints every day. But customer facing staff often have complaints of their own about the internal service they receive from other departments. Without an improvement in internal service, it is difficult to ask external service providers to keep improving.

By contrast, when internal service does improve, it is much easier to ask external service providers to improve, and easier for them to do it. This is why UP! Your Service recommends launching your service improvement program with internal service providers: finance, legal, IT, HR, warehousing, facilities, logistics, security, administration. Or launch with internal-service and external-service groups learning together to gain end-to-end service understanding, alignment and commitment.

Focusing only on your customer-facing employees is a mistake you don’t want to make. Involve your internal service providers from the beginning.

5 replies
  1. Chong Lee Cheong
    Chong Lee Cheong says:

    well said. Most of the internal service providers are basically must acting like stand alone service providers. Business Development in their own world of gaining revenue growth, Finance tighterning the expenses, HR filling up the staffs list.

  2. EP Sivam
    EP Sivam says:

    Internal service providers are critical for the competitive advantages of a firm and often are taken for granted. Attracting right talents to backend jobs is always a challenge and company that does it in a balanced way only knows the value of this capability.

  3. James Costa
    James Costa says:

    Great Advise Ron. As a hospitality professional, I must agree that all too often we pay much more attention in the form of training and feedback to those members of the team that are providing the direct product or service we are selling, while paying little attention to those in the support roles. As you mentioned, not training and bringing these support departments into service delivery causes a disconnect between departments, which in turn, all too often results in a problem somewhere along the service delivery process. We will do better at remembering this important part of the service team.

  4. Purple Justice
    Purple Justice says:

    Im working as an operations manager in a full import & local distribution business unit of the world’s number one tire company. I can attest that a strong, professional & service oriented internal partners (hr, finance, supply chain & marketing) are critical to the success of any company or business. Right people, with the right competencies, for the right post and with correct service partner mindset are game changers. Currently my company is experiencing setback after setback because we dont have these kind of talents.. Its just a pity..

  5. Sadanandan Thondieri
    Sadanandan Thondieri says:

    It certainly makes sense to have an “inclusive approach” towards a service improvement program. Involving the support teams right upfront with the business strategy and tying -in their functional imperatives/individual KRAs with the business imperatives with appropriate measures and metrics, is a must. On the other hand the support functions must also reach out to understand how they are creating value for the business and how can it be further enhancesd. It is a collaborative effort – the impact and results would be substantial. We have experienced it.

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