I think most leaders realize how important it is to provide great service to clients or customers. I often find, though, that some organizations forget about engaging and “serving” their internal customers – their employees. In fact, I would argue that the relationship that leaders cultivate with their employees is actually more important than the one they have with their customers, especially in industries where employees work directly with customers.
I recently attended a workshop led by Ari Weinzweig, of Zingerman’s businesses in Michigan. He spoke about Zingerman’s 12 Natural Laws of Business, and one of them hits this point about serving your internal customers.
If you want staff to give great service, give great service to staff.
I liked Ari’s way of defining this. He said “the service your staff gives will never be better than the service you give your staff”. Zingerman’s leaders use their same principles for serving customers for serving staff:1. Figure out what the customer wants. 2. Get it for them: Accurately, Politely and Enthusiastically. 3. Go the extra mile.
Guess what? Zingerman’s has been so successful that even in the past couple of years of uncertain economy, they have surpassed their annual planned sales. And in 1994, they developed a business called ZingTrain, and have actually added revenue by teaching other businesses about their service model.
What do you think? How do you and your organization serve your internal customers?