When your employees see you prioritizing their needs — even before those of your external customers — it signals that they matter. And when they feel valued, they are more likely to stick around and contribute to your long-term bottom line.
Learn more about the clear definition of internal customer service, why it is essential in every company, and the eight best practices you can implement today.
Table of Contents
What Is Internal Customers Service?
Internal customer service is a type of customer service directed to employees within the organization.
It involves everything an organization can do to help employees fulfill their duties, reach their goals and enjoy their work and covers how different departments communicate and how individuals interact with their colleagues, subordinates and superiors.
Internal customers can be an employee in an organization, including managers, supervisors, and coworkers.
Here are some examples of internal customers:
- A corporate secretary who handles all correspondence between departments in a large company
- A marketing coordinator who coordinates ad campaigns for various products and departments within a business, working closely with sales teams and graphic designers
- Stakeholders, partners, and shareholders
8 Best Practices of Internal Customer Service
- Use Customer Service Tools
- Make Company Knowledge and Resources Available in One Place
- Set up Multiple Communication Channels
- Have an Internal Help Desk
- Foster a Rewarding Workplace
- Listen to Your Internal Customers' Feedback
- Address Every Concern
- Set Clear Expectations and Service Standards
Here are the top 8 best practices for ensuring you're providing outstanding internal support:
1. Use Customer Service Tools
Customer service tools can help employees and customers alike. For many businesses, these tools can assist both internal and external teams.
These features can be used for internal teams to process employee requests and complete daily tasks.
Using an internal customer service tool can also help your team handle customer service issues more efficiently by allowing them to access information faster than they would without a tool.
This increases productivity and ensures that all your employees have access to the same information at all times so that no one has to undergo extensive training before they can start working effectively.
2. Make Company Knowledge and Resources Available in One Place
We've all been there: you're working away, and suddenly, someone comes to you with a question. Maybe it's a coworker asking for help with a project they're working on, or perhaps it's a customer who wants to know why their order hasn't shipped yet.
Whether it's something simple or complicated, whenever someone asks you for help, part of your brain goes into crisis mode.
That's where an internal help center comes in! If you create one, employees can search for answers on their own without bothering anyone else—and as a bonus, everyone will be more productive.
Make company knowledge, employee handbook, and FAQs available in your internal help center.
3. Set up Multiple Communication Channels
An excellent internal customer service strategy ensures that you have the proper communication channels so that your employees can get in touch with you about any issues they may be having at work.
It also means offering more than one way for them to do so. This helps ensure that everyone has access to the same level of service, regardless of their preferences and needs.
This means an openness to face-to-face contact, emails, phone numbers, and even a choice of superiors to discuss issues.
4. Have an Internal Help Desk
To improve your response time, you need enough people on your team to handle the volume of requests you receive.
If you do not have enough internal staff, you can use a chatbot or other AI-driven systems if possible because they don't need sleep, lunch breaks, or even bathroom breaks!
5. Foster a Rewarding Workplace
Research shows that employee recognition is the most critical driver of excellent work.
You want your employees to feel valued and appreciated. And you can't expect them to feel that way if they're not being rewarded for their hard work and good performance.
Cultivate a culture where support is a priority, which means having programs to reward effort and good work.
A rewarded employee will enjoy what they do and, in turn, make magic happen for your clients and external customers.
6. Listen to Your Internal Customers' Feedback
The best way to keep your employees happy and productive is to get feedback from them and then act on it.
Listen to the customer feedback and information from the employees' teams and their workplace experience.
Make sure everyone feels valued, respected and included in the workplace by considering their feedback on how you can make things better or how the processes can be improved.
7. Address Every Concern
Problems always happen, and they're inevitable in any business environment. But don't let your internal team members shoulder the burden of solving problems alone.
No matter the issue, your employees deserve to get a response from you.
Suppose you want to build a solid internal culture that values transparency and communication. In that case, you need to be able to acknowledge every question your team has—even if you can't answer it.
When you resolve a case, let employees know how the issue occurred and what you did to fix it. Not only does this ensure the problem is solved, but it also shows employees how to correct it should they reencounter it.
8. Set Clear Expectations and Service Standards
Working in a company where you don't know what's expected of you is hard. That's why it's essential to set clear expectations for everyone in your organization.
Ensure that all employees know the specific standards you expect them to maintain and that they understand their responsibility to hold up to those standards.
Internal Customer Service VS External Customer Service
When you think about your customers, who are you thinking about?
You might have external customers in your mind. These people pay for and use the products or services your company offers.
When you're running a business, it can be easy to forget that people are on the other end of your product or service — these are your internal customers.
Your internal customers are the ones who make it all happen: they're the ones who work for you and create your products and also the ones who use those products in their daily lives.
Internal customers may not be the same as external customers, but they can be just as essential to your business's success and reputation.
Suppose you don't take the time to accommodate them adequately, especially in the modern digital age where they have unprecedented freedom to connect with people inside and outside our companies. In that case, it can affect how your organization runs overall.
Why Is Internal Customer Service Important?
Much like call centers for consumers, internal customer service is a process that every company should have in place. It helps employees who need it and helps the company as a whole to be more efficient.
Internal customer service can help with the following:
Employees with a problem with their job or work environment can be a drag on the company in terms of morale and productivity. But when you provide superior internal customer service, you're not just helping your employees succeed—you're helping your company win as well.
Internal support is good for employee satisfaction because employees can more easily solve problems that impede their work and know someone will be there to help them whenever they need assistance.
Internal support can lead to improved employee satisfaction and retention rates. This happens because happier employees tend to stay longer than those who feel disengaged due to poor working conditions or limited job opportunities (and vice versa).
For example, if you want to retain your employees, you must show them that you care about their well-being. One way of doing this is by offering them internal customer service.
Internal customer service allows employees to get the help they need without going through an external party or a third-party contractor.
This means they don't have to wait for another department's approval before getting access to the information they need to do their jobs correctly.
Internal service allows employees to work directly with internal teams so they can see how their work impacts their organization's success as a whole.
After all, companies with better engagement are 21% more profitable than others.
Because of this, internal support can be used to help improve employee engagement by giving them the chance to feel connected and invested in the organization's overall goals.
Internal Customer Service improves workplace culture by providing employees with tools and resources to help them better understand their customers. This, in turn, allows employees to respond more efficiently and effectively when dealing with issues or inquiries raised by those same customers.
Examples of Internal Customer Service
- Creating an email address where employees can send questions to your support teams, such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
- Creating a help center where employees can search for answers to common questions and find up-to-date information about benefits, policies, etc.
- Live chatting with an internal support team member for questions that can be answered with a quick back-and-forth (e.g., fundamental tech issues).
- Building a web form where employees can describe their issue or choose from a drop-down menu to indicate what issue they're having (e.g., tech support or HR).
Internal Customers Service: Final Thoughts
Your employees are your most important customers—they're the ones who make your company run smoothly day in and day out. It's worth putting in the effort to have excellent internal customer service. Doing so will help your business grow healthier, which ultimately means scaling in the long run too! Hiring services of professional call center companies can help in that regard.
Internal Customer Service FAQs
1. What is an example of internal customer service?
Improve employee support and enhance communication and accessibility by implementing the following strategies:
Establish dedicated email addresses for employees to send questions to relevant support teams, such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Develop a comprehensive resource and help center that offers answers to frequently asked questions and is regularly updated with relevant information about benefits, policies, and more.
Enable live chat for employees to ask simple and quick questions to the internal support team, like fundamental tech issues.
Build a user-friendly web form where staff members can describe their issue or select from a drop-down menu to indicate what type of support they require.
2. How do you provide good internal customer service?
Here are the ways you can deliver an excellent internal customer service:
- Offer multiple communication channels for employees to reach out.
- Ensure your help desk is well-staffed to provide timely responses.
- Centralize knowledge and resources in one location, such as a help center.
- Provide clear communication about the next steps to manage employee expectations.
- Aim to empathize with employee perspectives and understand their needs.
- Monitor feedback and take action to address any shortcomings.
- Respond to every question, even if an immediate answer is not available.
- Leverage data to identify areas for improvement.
- Curate the appropriate tools for your tech environment.
- Make employee service an integral aspect of your talent strategy.
3. What's the difference between internal and external customer service?
The difference between internal and external customer service comes down to two critical factors: the recipients and the provider.
Internal customer service is geared towards members, employees, and managers within an organization, while external customer service is aimed at individuals and organizations outside the business entity. This implies that internal services are exclusive to the company and its components, whereas external services can be utilized by anyone, regardless of their affiliation with the company.