I am passionate about customer service. I have always enjoyed providing great service; regardless of whether it was for external customers or so-called internal customers. But what is an internal customer and why is it so important that we look after them? (Carry on reading or watch the video)
Internal customer service is the service we provide fellow employees and other departments within our own hotel or business. Many people may refer to them as Stakeholders today.
Some tips to improve your Hotel’s Internal Customer Service
Build the Importance of Customer Service into Induction. It can be useful to place Internal Customer service as an Agenda item on Team Meetings; but do not set it up as a single session and then forget about it. Keep talking about it. Are the Rooms Division doing better in this regard than last month; are the Food and Beverage Staff improving or getting worse?
Lead by example: Treat others like you want to be treated. Be friendly, compliment staff where possible (catch them doing something good!), encourage them and show your appreciation. Don’t EVER criticise team members in public. It is humiliating for them and reflects badly on you.
Treat colleagues like VIPs! Treat your colleagues with respect: regard them as you would your paying customers. Understand that helping your colleagues do their jobs more successfully helps both your Hotel and you. They are as important as your Guests.
Set Internal Customer Service Standards. With your team, create customer service standards (both internally and externally). Thinking through the process and setting standards for response times for things like emails, phone calls or internal requests help to set expectations for employees. Employees should be held accountable for responding to a co-worker.
Say Thank You. A simple, genuine “thank you” goes a long way to creating an atmosphere of sharing and helping around the Hotel. Even when it is a person’s job to provide information to you, say “thank you” when they have done it. Explain how it has made your job much easier. Show them your delight when they exceed your expectations.
Exceed your Internal Customers’ Expectations. When someone exceeds your expectations, how do you feel? Most people feel upbeat and positive about that person and his or her area. Think what you can accomplish in your department by exceeding the expectations of fellow employees.
Do not expect Internal Customer Service to excel just in the Managers presence; set up a social media account or email address where teams can post-feedback without having to make the trek to your office. Have a reward for the departments that clearly excel in this area each month.
Why is Internal Customer Service so Important?
In helping others at work, you help your Hotel succeed. Superior Internal Customer Service improves morale, productivity, employee retention, external customer service and, ultimately, profitability.
I see Hotels with happy staff that do this very well, and sadly, I also see Hotels where the opposite is true …. can you guess which are always the most successful and profitable?