From the Center for Strategic Relations, a twice-monthly supplement to Applying Strategic Relations, mailed at your request

Weak Internal Relationships

Are you seeing the connection between how employees are treated and how they treat customers? Understanding this connection is critical to cultivating profitable customer relationships.

In the last lesson, you learned how to persuade internal customers. This persuasion helps motivate employees to take action around business objectives, to work more proactive towards lasting results, and makes employment more rewarding.

But, what really happens when internal relationships are weak and unproductive? You'll learn just that in today's lesson. Including what you can do to improve internal business relationships.

How do you apply these improvements in internal relationships to building profitable customer relationships? Stay tuned, next month learn frugal relationship building strategies that help you focus on buying relationships with the right customers .


Justin Hitt
Consultant, Author & Speaker

What Really Happens When Internal Relationships Are Weak And Unproductive?

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

What if the way your company treats employees caused them to repel customers, even send customers straight to your competitors? Would you change or adjust your behavior? When internal business relationships are weak and unproductive they:

The strength of internal relationships reflects directly in customer relationships because employee's thoughts and attitudes about your company shape their actions. This means unsatisfied employees are sapping money and resources away from creating customers into their own drama , all because of how they perceive the company feels about them.

If your employees don't feel a strong loyalty to you as a manager or executive, they won't be motivated to invest in creating loyalty in customer interactions. Ask yourself, "Are employees happy?" You cannot satisfy everyone, but you can establish a respectable level of trust, credibility, and loyalty that encourages positive behavior towards customers .

How do you improve internal business relationships? You don't have to hug employees, have heart-to-heart discussions, or even "get in touch with peoples feelings." None of these things create sustainable results like basic behavior modification.

If you want to create stronger employee relationships, try one of these behavior modification activities today:

  1. Regular relationships training on the basics of customer service at least monthly. Too often poor employee relationships are simply the result of not knowing what is expected, how to achieve certain objectives, and outdated skills. Employees need regular refreshment training around important skills necessary to serve your specific customers, focus on regular training followed by real-world implementation and discussions about what is working well. Most employees will do things how they are trained.
  2. Improve customer facing behavior with role play and communications skills. Behavioral skills are best learned incrementally and are dependent on your organizations acceptable culture. Focus first on communications skills both with customers and between internal departments. When possible role play with customer service professionals who have a background in turning customer interactions into profitable revenue generation. Highlight specialized employee roles at each customer interaction point to model training.
  3. Tie together roles, responsibilities, and compensation. Involve Human Resources in developing compensation programs designed to let employees score their own behavior within roles and responsibilities necessary for strong buying relationships with customers. Supervisors are poorly skilled in motivating and disciplining unproductive employees, but this can be overcome by making it easy for employees to measure their own behavior. Self-evaluation creates fewer misunderstandings because now employees know where they stand even without a supervisor's intervention.
  4. Provide time for highlighting strengths and successes among staff. In meetings ask these three questions; "What needs to be done? ", "What are we doing? ", and "What have we done well?" Limiting responses to the top 3 to 5 activities helps get these questions answered in one sitting while helping employees focus on top priority activities and successes.
  5. Move more responsibility and decisions to customer facing employees. Proper delegation builds stronger more capable employees. If you find yourself making the same decision more than twice, then provide employees with criteria and responsibility to make the decision on their own then report their results at the next staff meeting. Faster decisions at customer interaction points improve both employee self-respect and a customer's perception of your ability to serve them.

Yes, there is much more you can do. Just remember, a bad relationship with employees directly influences their ability to build profitable customer relationships . With simple new behaviors, you can strengthen employee relationships to attract and keep more profitable customers.

© 2005 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved.
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