July 15, 2018

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The Little Known Secret About Satisfying Customers

The Problem:

Poor Employee Relations leads to poor customer service.

Can an organization really expect to provide excellent service to its customers when their employees can't provide good service to each other?

For example, if the sales and production departments don't cooperate with each other, the customers won't receive what they were promised. Also, if the IT department doesn't cooperate well with the rest of the organization, timely service to customers will suffer.

Organizations spend a great deal of time trying to increase external customer satisfaction but very little on improving internal customer satisfaction. Employees often complain that:

  • Other departments don't provide them with what they need in a timely manner

  • Other departments don't understand what they do

  • They are not treated with respect and dignity by their coworkers

  • Other employees are often moody, unpleasant and discourteous

Yet, most employees are often unaware of how they contribute to the problem. They typically say, "we provide excellent service to our internal customers." Our studies have consistently shown that employees think they are providing better services to their internal customers than their internal customers feel they are receiving from them.

What you can do to improve internal customer service

  1. Conduct an Internal Customer Satisfaction Survey

    The survey should ask employees how they feel about the timeliness, professionalism, and quality of the services they are receiving from others in the organization. The results will be a real eye-opener to many.

  2. Reverse the Finger Pointing

    Instead of blaming others, employees must learn to critically examine how their own actions are contributing to problems. Each time employees point a finger, ask them what they can do to help resolve the problem.

  3. Educate Employees about Solutions

    Improving internal customer satisfaction is everyone's responsibility in organizations. But breaking old habits and changing relationships is difficult. Teach employees what they need to do to improve the level of service they provide to others.

  4. Find the Best Practices in Your Organization

    Some employees and some departments do a much better job of satisfying their internal customers than others. Identify their good behaviors and teach others in the organization to copy them.

  5. Start at the Top

    If senior management is discourteous to employees, their behaviors will trickle down throughout the organization. Coach senior managers on what they need to do to improve their relationships with employees.


The secret is to improve external customer satisfaction, look inside your organization first.

- Bruce L. Katcher

Bruce Katcher, PhD is President of Discovery Surveys, Inc. His firm conducts customized employee opinion and customer satisfaction surveys. Learn more at He can be reached at or 888-784-4367.