Soft Skills for Internal Customer Service

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  • 0:03 What Is an Internal Customer?
  • 0:58 Identifying Soft Skills
  • 1:55 Using Soft Skills
  • 4:25 Benefits
  • 4:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Arielle Rose

Arielle has taught Business and Customer Service as well has Master's degree in Business Administration.

In this lesson, you'll find a brief review of the soft skills required for internal customer service. At the end of the lesson, you should be able to define the term, internal customer, as well as how to use soft skills to meet their needs in the workplace.

What Is an Internal Customer?

There is a huge link between the ways internal customers are treated within a company and how consumers view the company's external customer service. When a company's leaders both encourage and make internal customer service a number one priority, it causes a trickle-down effect that eventually reaches the consumer. Those who are committed to communicating and serving their teams well will undoubtedly serve the consumer well. In essence, excellent customer service begins inside the company.

So who are the internal customers of a company? And, more importantly, how do you train them in this seemingly lost art? Well, your internal customers are employees who need you to help them complete a goal or task. For instance, the internal customer of an IT department is anyone who is connected to a computer or telephone network and who has an issue with one of those systems.

Identifying Soft Skills

Training for internal customer service is not difficult. In fact, some of the same concepts used in training for external customer service can be used. These include communicating clearly and positively, using effective listening to anticipate the needs of the customer, deescalating conflict or using professional courtesy and politeness.

Often, when working within a team, especially in the midst of an important project, it's easy to forget to say 'please' and 'thank you.' These simple words can mean the difference between a coworker feeling appreciated or having lowered morale. Saying 'please' and 'thank you' is an example of a soft skill. Soft skills are individual skills that a person uses to effectively communicate with others. These skills can be learned, but are often imparted as an individual gains more experience in the workforce. Managers are usually tasked with the job of teaching these skills through coaching and development sessions with individual employees.

Using Soft Skills

While in the middle of an office task, have you ever been interrupted by an employee with a question? Did you wonder if he or she even saw you were working? In future instances, how do you think employees will feel if you ask him or her to come back later, instead of asking how you can help? How would you feel if someone did that to you?

Deciding which soft skill to use is easy once we start to ask ourselves how we would feel if we were in that same situation. It's very possible the employee realized you were busy, but there was no one else to ask, or you were the only person who could answer his or her question. Processing these possibilities takes empathy and understanding, which begins with putting yourself in an employee's shoes.

Although frustrated by an interruption, smiling and asking the employee how you can help is a form of positive reinforcement, or a method for encouraging desirable behaviors. When greeted with some enthusiasm and energy, the employee will likely understand why you're frustrated and appreciate your willingness to help even more. As simple as it may sound, asking 'How can I help you?' communicates much more than your intent to help, it also:

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