A few months back, I wrote a post about why great internal customer service is so important.  If you missed it, follow this link so you can get the 101 before reading this post (I linked the first post back to this one, so I promise you won’t get lost in cyberspace).

Understanding why internal customer service is critical is one thing; knowing how to deliver it is quite another.  So as a follow-up to June’s post, here are four practical tips for improving customer service within your staffing or recruiting firm:

1.  Provide all the pieces of the puzzle.  When a co-worker requests your help, give him all the information he’ll need – the first time.  When you provide complete information – about a client’s work order, a candidate’s references, a file location, etc. – at the start, you make it infinitely easier for your “customer” to do his job.  Specifically, you eliminate the need for follow-up emails or drop-ins that waste everyone’s time and energy.  So when an internal customer asks for something, try to anticipate the tools, resources or information he might require to complete his task.  Give him everything he needs and more, and he’ll return the favor.

2.  Don’t make commitments you can’t keep.  For a staffing firm to operate like a well-oiled machine, all of the “parts” (i.e., departments) must work together in real time.  Occasionally, additional pressure is placed on a department to keep up – to get payroll processed, candidates interviewed, references checked, etc.

While you may be tempted to go into “superhero” mode when this happens and take on as much work as co-workers throw at you, be careful about the promises you make.  A good internal customer knows his (and his department’s) limits and helps end-users set realistic expectations for delivery.  Simply put, honesty is the best policy in internal customer service.  If you know you won’t be able to hit an impossible deadline, explain the situation to your internal customer and brainstorm creative alternative solutions.

3.  View interruptions as opportunities to serve.  Do you tend to view every interruption in your day as a hindrance to your success?  If so, you may want to reexamine your thinking.  Sure, the co-worker who drops in on you to share office gossip is robbing you of precious time; however, if someone interrupts you to ask for sales figures she needs to analyze the sales team’s performance, that’s a necessary diversion that will get your company closer to its goals.

As you go through your day, learn to identify internal customers’ real needs.  Look at the time you spend helping internal customers with valid requests as opportunities to serve.  Take pride in assisting them and learn to embrace your role in sharing information and providing services that help others get their jobs done.

4.  Find ways to make internal customers look good.  How would you feel if a co-worker went to your boss and told him what a great job you’re doing?  Pretty fantastic, right?  Be the start of something great in your company.  Find ways to support the success of your fellow employees, make their jobs easier and make them look good.  Simple things like providing complete information (see Tip 1), speaking positively about co-workers and meeting your commitments to internal customers not only help them look great; they reflect well on you, too.  So get the ball rolling in your staffing firm and pay it forward!

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