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Why internal customer service is just as important as external

Melanie Mildenhall of Newbury Building Society on empowering employees

Why internal customer service is just as important as external

Customer service is more than building and nurturing relationships with external contacts.

How colleagues come together in the workplace is just as important.

This is where internal customer service steps in.

Internal customer service is much the same as external customer service.

It is how colleagues respond to – or ‘serve’ – the requests of others.

Having excellent internal customer service holds many benefits.

It can increase employee advocacy and satisfaction, create brand ambassadors and improve performance, to name only a few examples.

Ultimately, if you have satisfied, engaged and valued employees, they’re more likely to reflect these same attitudes in the service they give customers.

In the last couple of years we have put feedback mechanisms in place to really get beneath what both our customers and employees think about us, understand how they want us to move forward and what we can do to provide a ‘world class’ service.

As a result, in July 2019 Newbury Building Society was awarded the coveted ServiceMark accreditation from The Institute of Customer Service (ICS) for its outstanding commitment to customer service excellence.

The process included an extensive customer survey undertaken at the end of 2018 as well as a two-day assessment to audit employee engagement by the ICS.

This included individual and group interviews with employees to help understand the society’s internal values and workplace culture.

The assessor concluded there was “a genuine family feel, both at head office and in branches. People enjoy coming to work, like their customers and get on with their colleagues. There is a strong sense of community.”

So, how can you ensure your business provides great internal customer service?

Tar your employees with the same brush as your customers.

Define internal service standards, empower your employees, ensure two-way accountability and transparency, listen and communicate.

Internal customer service isn’t about free food and drinks on a Friday.

The simple fact is this – recognising the important part internal customer service plays in external customer satisfaction is key to maintaining a sustainable business.

Satisfied employees = satisfied customers.

And it has to be maintained 24/7, 365 days a year.

Melanie Mildenhall is the head of customer service at Newbury Building Society. Call 01635 555777 or visit

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