Three Internal Customer Service Nightmares That Need to Go!

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When discussing customer service, most companies will point to their excellent policies and procedures for making external customers happy. They go to great lengths to communicate with customers. They gather feedback on products and services in order to solve problems and improve service delivery. They will put together focus groups, conduct surveys and develop training programs for customer service providers. How many times have you heard when calling a customer service line, “…this call may be recorded for training purposes…?” They even monitor and record customer service transactions to make sure the representatives are being kind and helpful to customers.


All that attention to external customers is important. But what about a company’s internal customers? The employees who work every day to win back customers after something goes wrong? Or the employees who do any of the other hundreds of jobs that are necessary to keep a company going? There’s an aspect of internal customer service that is often overlooked.


A recent article in Inc. Magazine, "Three Employees You Need to Fire. Now," suggests there are three types of employees that should be on the termination fast-track. Employees who have no skills and no heart to learn or grow should be out the door. Those who have skills and heart and are really trying, but don’t deliver results, should also get a pink slip instead of their next paycheck. And the last group is those who just don’t fit the company culture. Their work ethic, values or personality just don’t mesh with the rest of the team. 


Keeping one employee who drives everyone else crazy can disrupt an entire work team or department. Hanging on to one manager or executive who fits any of those profiles can drag down a whole division or the company itself. The management team is the company’s internal customer service department, but many companies fail to demand they deliver excellent customer service to their staff, work teams or direct reports. They allow poor managers—even abusive or unethical ones—to continue to hold high positions with big salaries. Despite employee satisfaction surveys, 360 performance reviews and employee complaints that end up with the EEOC, some companies fail to hold their management team to the same high service standards that they expect from their employees. 


In addition to the three types of employees who should get the boot, managers who fit the following profiles should be out the door—NOW—as well.


  1. The Absentee Boss. This manager is never available. She is either out of the office, on the phone, or in a meeting. She doesn’t respond to e-mail, texts or listen to voicemail. She is a blur, always rushing down the hallway or out the door. Out of sight and out of touch, she can’t (or doesn’t want to) get involved in the day-to-day or invest in her staff. 
  2. The Pedestal Percher. This manager feels he is so far above any company policies that he can do pretty much whatever he wants and get away with it. And, for some reason, he does. This is probably the most frustrating to employees who get reprimanded or fired for the same infractions. The joke in the office is that he must have pictures of HIS boss in a compromising situation or knows where the “bodies are buried”—something that offers him some special protection or dispensation. He needs to go, and fast!
  3. The Power Player. This particular manager likes conflict and disruption. He actually sets up situations between his staff members as a sick sort of entertainment. He may call it “professional development” or something noble, but he likes creating situations that divert attention from his own poor performance or lack of management skills. Power Players leave a trail of destruction and mayhem, while they seem to come out untouched. 



These manager-types, and others you may have encountered, do a disservice to the company and their employees. Their focus is on their personal agendas and not on helping their employees succeed. A pink slip to one of these could be a tremendous boost in internal customer service and employee motivation. 


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