Internal and external customers
Customer service is the attendance to customers once they present themselves for business in a company. I believe that outstanding customer service is paramount to achieving success in a competitive business environment. An organization with high customer satisfaction score will gain a bigger market share than an organization offering poor or unsatisfactory customer service. Developing an effective strategy to create and maintain internal and external customer satisfaction will create a competitive advantage for a business.
An organization's customers are categorized into two groups: Internal and external customers. Employees working in different departments are considered as internal customers since they are directly responsible for the production process, or provide service to external customers. Internal customers are key assets which directly affect the bottom line profitability of an organization. Therefore, the management should ensure excellent customer service is provided horizontally across all departments within the organization through the human resorce department. Additionally, departmental heads should ensure that employees understand the roles they play in the overall success of the organization. Armed with this information, employees across all departments will understand how customer service affects the overall success of the organization. I believe that management which is focused on internal customer service support will motivate employees and create profits for the business.
External customers on the other hand are the consumers of an organization's goods or services, and they are the ultimate drivers of a business. An organization with inadequate customer service is not as competitive as the one with high service quality, primarily because of customer dissatisfaction. Normally, it is more costly to acquire new customers than it is to maintain existing ones. Therefore, dissatisfied customers will more often than not inform their friends and family members about their customer experience making it unlikely for the latter to become new customers. This is one of the reasons why a business might lose its customers, and thus managers must ensure external customers are satisfied before, during and after business transactions. I believe customers should be contacted at least quarterly by customer service personnel to gauge the overall satisfaction of products or services sold to them.
Japanese organizations are the leaders in customer service. In particular, customer service in Okinawa is top-notch. For instance, after buying a refrigerator from DeoDeo in 2010, I was contacted at least five different times by customer service to assess my overall satisfaction. When my friend bought a new SUV, the dealer gave him a lifetime membership with perks and an awesome presentation that included a champagne celebration. This type of customer service is imbedded within Japan's culture, and it's probably the main reason why the Japanese tend to be loyal customers.
A focus on internal and external customer service is paramount to the longevity of an organization in competitive business markets. Therefore, management should ensure excellent customer service is provided across all departments within the organization. At the same time, departmental heads should ensure that employees understand their roles in the overall success of the organization. Continuous customer satisfaction should be a major strategic goal for a business, and management should take a hands-on approach in identifying problems and solving them. Implementing this strategy in an organization's culture will improve organization's profitability while establishing loyalty in customers.
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