When you think of a business, it is really composed of many customers and suppliers internally within the organization itself. In a manufacturing company for example, the sales department usually starts the process by getting an order from a customer. They pass this order to the Purchasing department, who sends it to the Engineering department and from there it goes to Manufacturing and then is passed on to Shipping. Each of these departments has certain things they need from the prior department or “internal supplier”. Therefore each department is a supplier and a customer to each other.
There is a domino effect between internal customer satisfaction and external customer satisfaction. In order to produce happy external customers (the ones who buy your product/service), it is important and imperative to build customer satisfaction between the internal customers.
How to do this? Start by having each department:
1. Identify an internal customer and an internal supplier.
2. Talk to this internal customer and ask them specifically what is needed for them to do their jobs that their department provides.
3. Ask this internal customer what they currently do that disappoints them in delivering what they provide.
4. Ask this internal customer what they could do that would delight them and make their jobs easier.
5. Go to supplier and ask what you can do to help them deliver what your department needs.
Continue to repeat these five actions with all of your internal customers and internal suppliers. Keeping internal customers satisfied and happy is the first step towards creating external customer loyalty.