Internal customer service refers to the way different sections of an organisation deal with one another rather than how a company serves the public. Although this may appear not to have as measurable an effect on a company's business, it can be a fundamental issue in its operation. Surveying staff about internal service can produce insightful responses, but it needs to be handled in a different way than traditional customer surveys.
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Questions for Public-Facing Staff
The idea that external and internal public service are completely unconnected is a myth. Those staff members who deal directly with the public rely on support from different departments within the company. For example, a staff member in a customer call centre can help callers reporting delivery problems only if she has clear and accurate reports from the delivery department to explain any problems, such as a backlog with a courier, and how they can be resolved. Survey questions to these staff should be focused on what information they require to be able to deal with the public better.
Absolute, Questions, not Comparative Ones
Most external customer surveys aim to discover public opinion of a company's products and services in relation to the company's competitors. With an internal survey, there's often little to compare the "service" to. For this reason, questions should aim to produce absolute answers ---whether a system works effectively or doesn't work effectively --- rather than comparative answers, which indicates whether a system works better than a rival system.
Internal customer surveys work better when the question aims to elicit specific details rather than answers that give ratings or scores. Using the latter approach --- for example, allowing participants to select "very satisfied/satisfied/unsatisfied/very unsatisfied" --- can work with the public for two reasons: There are enough participants that individual interpretations of what falls into each category are evened out, and there's enough data so that changes in ratings can be tracked over time. With internal surveys, however, there usually aren't enough participants for ratings and scores to offer meaningful results. Instead, it's better to ask questions that go into detail: The smaller number of participants means it's less burdensome to go through such responses individually than with a public survey.
Asking questions about how staff members see their role in the company's processes can be illuminating. For example, a survey can ask where particular staff get instructions and information from, who they pass information on to and who they consider responsible for particular tasks. Disparities in the results may highlight problems within a company's organizational structure.
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