Internal Customer Service: Definition & Explanation

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jerri Glover
Internal customer service refers to the support services provided by a business to its employees. Learn about the definition and explanation of bad and good internal customer service, and discover the elements of internal customer service. Updated: 11/23/2021

Internal Customer Service

We understand that good customer service is important to the success of any business. If we don't provide good customer service to those who are purchasing our goods or services, they won't come back, and our business won't be successful.

When providing service to external customers, we know that we need to be friendly, efficient, knowledgeable, and always give it our best efforts. What would make our interactions with our coworkers, employees, and other managers any different?

Internal customer service is viewing your coworkers, employees, and managers as customers and treating them accordingly. This is a relatively simple idea. However, it's just as important to the success of a business as providing good external customer service.

Let's look at some examples of both bad and good internal customer service. Then we'll talk about some key elements to internal customer service.

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  • 0:04 Internal Customer Service
  • 0:55 Bad Internal Customer Service
  • 1:41 Good Internal Customer…
  • 2:33 Elements of Internal…
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Bad Internal Customer Service

Alex works in men's clothing at a large department store. It's the holiday season and the store is busy. However, Alex's department has only one customer who has already declined assistance, so Alex is tidying up the department.

Jeff works in men's shoes, and there are many people standing and waiting for Jeff to pull shoes to be tried on. Jeff asks Alex for his assistance, but Alex refuses to help Jeff, stating that he's too busy and Jeff will just have to figure it out.

Alex would never refuse to help an external customer who asked for it. Why would he refuse to help an internal customer? Most likely because Alex does not view Jeff as an internal customer; he just views him as someone else who works there. Therefore, he provides bad internal customer service.

Good Internal Customer Service

Cathy works at a coffee shop with two front counter registers and a drive thru. She's been assigned to one of the front counter registers. On a very rainy day, Sara is assigned to the drive thru. Customers are avoiding the rain by using the drive thru rather than going into the store, and Sara was having to take orders, operate her register, and hand orders through the window as they were ready.

Cathy steps over and offers to help Sara by taking the orders. She's able to take the orders and set them up for the baristas. Sara just has to operate the register and hand orders through the window. The drive thru line quickly diminishes and the tip jar is full.

Cathy provided good internal customer service by stepping in to help Sara. In turn, Sara was able to provide excellent external customer service to the drive thru customers. Everyone had a better day and received a generous tip share.

Elements of Internal Customer Service

There are specific elements to providing good internal customer service. Let's focus on four of them, including:

  • Recognition
  • Initiative
  • Cross-Training
  • Quality

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