IDD Customer Service - Inside & Out
We are all aware that customers are the life blood of any company, without them there is no revenue and without revenue even the best goods and services cannot continue to be produced. Focused Software lives and breathes this principle with our industry-best 24/7 LIVE customer service to the IDD service providers who use our Electronic Health Records (EHR). In order to serve our customers optimally we need to be very clear on the answer to a very basic question that might seem redundant (it isn’t!) – ‘just who are our customers anyway?’
Customers are of two types – the most commonly recognized is the external customer. These consumers are found outside of the organization and they need something the company provides. In the IDD/special needs service arena these external customers include people receiving services and their advocates and families, as well as local authorities and government entities or private sources that issue payment. They are the targets of most marketing strategies and the means to generate revenue, thereby keeping the business afloat. IDD leaders and other professionals do whatever they can to keep external customers happy and satisfied because of the crucial role they play in the success of the business.
However, there is a second, less obvious group, of customers who are a part of your organization: the internal customers. They include people like shareholders, stakeholders, managers, general employees, suppliers etc; they are often easy to overlook/forget about and are too frequently taken for granted. However, internal customers are as important as the external clients who are availing themselves of the business’s services. The problem is the requests of internal customers can be seen as interruptions that take us away from our “real” jobs, yet they are vital to our company’s success. If you see a gap between your “real” job and the needs of others in your organization, you need to rethink what your real job is. In helping others in your company, you help your company succeed. Superior internal customer service delivered with integrity improves morale, productivity, employee retention, external customer service and, ultimately, profitability.
Here are some tips from Scott Miller, vice president of Kirk Miller & Associates Inc., for creating an atmosphere that fosters a positive internal customer service environment:
1. Begin with your own perspective: Regard fellow employees and other departments as your customers. Understand that helping your colleagues do their jobs more successfully helps your organization and you. Therefore they are your customers. Treat them like VIPs.
2. View interruptions not as nuisances, but as opportunities to serve your internal customers. If you tend to view every interruption as a pothole in your road to success, reexamine those interruptions. If someone interrupts you to share gossip, that’s a pothole. If someone interrupts you to ask for critical incident figures she needs to analyze QA team performance, that’s a necessary lane change that will get your company closer to its destination. Learn to identify every real need from a colleague as a “necessary lane change,” and think of every “necessary lane change” as an opportunity to move your organization closer to its goals. Take pride in helping your colleagues; enjoy your role in sharing information and providing services that help others get their jobs done. In most cases, your willingness to help others get their jobs done will lead them to readily assist you when you need it.
3. Exceed your internal customers’ expectations. When someone exceeds your expectations, how do you feel? Most people feel delighted, excited, upbeat and very, very positive about that person and his or her organization. Think what you can accomplish in your organization by exceeding the expectations of fellow employees. If the billing office asks for all service delivery logs (SDLs) to be approved by 3 p.m., provide them by 1 p.m. so the billing team can relax, knowing they have the SDLs and notes in hand. If human resources asks for a list of important points to cover for a new case manager orientation, take time to think about it and provide a thorough list of what you would want to know if you were being introduced to a new job and company.
4. Say thank you. A simple, genuine “thank you” goes much farther to create an atmosphere of sharing and helping than two such small words would suggest. Even when it is a person’s job to provide information or a product to you, tell them “thank you” when they have done it. Express your appreciation of their timeliness in providing it. Explain how it has made your job much easier. Show them your delight when they exceed your expectations.
At Focused Software our customers (external and internal) are at the center of all we do. This is why we offer 24/7 live customer service in a relaxed and friendly working environment, continuous innovation and free user tools (including this blog series!) to help your business and our team succeed. Everybody needs help with software from time to time and if you can’t get swift help when you need it then all the bells and whistles in the world won’t mean a thing to your staff or business.
Pleasing both internal and external customers is imperative to attaining and maintaining success for any business – believe us we should know! Everyday we communicate the Focused EHR mission and value to ALL of our clients with words backed up with actions – give us a call TODAY!