Ways to Leverage Internal Partnerships to Improve the Customer Experience

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant, https://iunctura.com/

The number one contributor to customer experience is how well your organization performs in regards to your customers expectations. This is not always easy, requirements change, and customers are not always clear about their wants. With a few simple internal partnerships strategies you can stay on top of your customers needs without breaking the proverbial bank.

Here are 12 strategies to get you started:

  1. Build internal partnerships on win-win objectives from day one. If your internal relationships are not performing, how can you expect external partnerships to grow? Clearly define and communicate the roles of each internal partnership before engaging a customer.
  2. Help employees see the benefit they gain by properly serving the customer. When your employees understand what they gain from a happy customer they are more likely to want to provide service to that customer. Help your employees get what they want while providing what the customer wants.
  3. Channel customer requirements and project related feedback away from employees. Your internal team and management group should handle customer requirements and project feedback respectively, instead of employees. Divert administrative efforts away from employees so they may concentrate on service.
  4. Clearly define communications channels as they pertain to relationships types. When your customer knows who to go to when they have question or concerns, they can get answers more quickly. Be regular in your communications with your customer; dedicate time periodically to survey the customers' needs and desires.
  5. Align actions with your business and the customers' objectives. Your internal and external partnerships need to take into consideration both groups objectives -- this should not be hard if you have the right customers. Remember, you want to serve your customers' objectives, not those you have imposed on them.
  6. Define measures and targets at each point of partnership before you start work. When building a team, consider how you will measure success in the partnership. These criteria should be used to measure those people involved and check your own progress.
  7. Understand the relationship model as it pertains to the customer. The employee-customer relationship is the action provider of two self-correcting feedback loops. Each loop contains both employees, customers, team leads, and managers involved. It is critical each group knows their role in respect to the other groups involved.
  8. Allow your front line people to provide the "how" while team leadership provides the "what." Too often, those in charge want to tell frontline people "how" to do their jobs. Nothing frustrates your employees more. If they are new or inexperienced then training is the solution to bring them up to speed, not managerial direction.
  9. Organize your actions along your customers wants. No matter what you do, place emphasis on those actions most desired by the customer. Concentrating on their wants and needs always improves the customers' experience.
  10. Choose a representative of each group to support evaluation of the customers' experience. This does not have to be the same person each time, just someone who can bring forward with the concerns of an individual partnership. These representatives' supports the evaluation efforts that verify their partnership is on track with the expectations of the customer. Rank each partnerships performance against the measures, objectives and expectations gathered front the customer for their formation.
  11. Help develop customer expectations in advance of providing any services. Let the customer know what to expect, gather a complete list of requirements, and coach the customer on how to adjust requirements if necessary. Do not assume anything or that change requests will always come through managers and team leaders. Teach employees to direct customer requirement modification to their team leaders.
  12. Catalog information about lessons learned in a central repository ordered by partnership role. Whether corporate or program based, support regular and secure communications between like type partnerships. This cross-pollination of lessons learned helps make consistent customer service while capturing valuable knowledge within your organization.

Utilize your internal partnerships to build an organization strong enough to serve your customers' needs from the beginning of the contract. Your clear understanding of how you will support and service your customer will be reflected in the positive experience your customer gains. Strong internal partnerships are the ounce of prevention that eliminates pounds of trouble.

© 2002 Justin Hitt, All rights reserved.
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Justin Hitt helps business to business executives ethically create more profitable relationships with customers, employees, and strategic partners. You are invited to visit https://iunctura.com/

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