Deliver, Monitor and Evaluate Customer Service to Internal Customers: Part II
This article is written to help candidates pursuing their qualification in NVQ Business and administration. The first part of the questions for this unit are in a different section. Please use the link below to get there.
This section deals with quality standards, customer complaints procedures, monitoring customer satisfaction, feedback, dealing with problems and continuous improvement.
The question below is unique for each type of organisation and most details can be found on the company’s intranet for the employees to look at. The best way to prepare for this question is to refer to your own organisation’s quality standards and write down the ones relevant to your department and general for the organisation.
4.1 Identify Quality Standards for Own Organisation and Work
Quality is very important when it comes to anything, be it for personal reasons or professional. When completing a piece of work, or a project or products, quality is more important than quantity. Every organisation has quality standards for the services they provide or the products they sell, and have quality standards for the work that the employees complete.
Our organisation has quality systems and standards that are integrated into the working of our organisation to deliver quality services and products. This also helps the employees to enhance their work experience. These standards imply the meaning of quality, why it is important and also the effects it has on the organisation. When we pay attention to quality, it means that we have set a high standard to deliver service in a consistent manner. This also saves cost on doing things over a second or third time.
Our directorate, which is adult social care, has its own standards that are expected of all staff working within that directorate and of the organisation.
- Providing equitable service to all residents in the community and meet the legislations, government guidance, regulations and local policies and procedures.
- Assess needs without delay and record all information relevant to the assessment and services thereafter.
- Respect peoples’ choices, privacy, dignity, personality and confidentiality of the information they provide.
- Value partnership working with individuals, families, community workers and agencies.
- Be customer centred and consider their overall safety and welfare through regular reviews and visits or calls.
- Promote independence and protect them from harm or danger by creating a safe living environment.
- Protect the rights of customers and ensure that they do not harm themselves or others.
- Be accountable for one’s own work.
- Respect equal opportunities and diversity.
- Be reliable and dependable and honour work commitments.
- Adhere to policies and procedures and report dangerous, abusive or discriminatory behaviour.
- Meet relevant standards of practice by maintaining clear and accurate records, work openly and take necessary training and guidance where necessary to improve knowledge and skills.
- Quality control methods are in place to monitor levels of performance.
- Deliver service in the agreed specification, budget, timescale and quality.
- Practicing teamwork, develop good communication skills and building a balanced workforce.
- Provide and receive feedbacks on a regular basis and conduct audits on a regular basis.
4.2 Explain the Value of Agreeing Quality Standards and Timescales
In order to achieve best provision of quality service and consistency of service, quality, quantity, the price and timescales have to defined, agreed and implemented. Agreeing quality standards and timescales are the commitments an organisation makes to its customers and it clearly tells the customers what they can expect and when.
The value of agreeing quality standards and timescales are:
- It sets the expectations with internal and external customers and with colleagues.
- It helps the organisation to focus on the needs of the customers, as they know what needs to be done, to what standard and when.
- It encourages improvements in service and also ensures consistency in service.
- All steps involved in the process are accurate and quick.
- There is a standard or measure against which the product or service can be measured and monitored.
- They follow the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) objective.
- Helps to focus on the needs of service user, set and maintain standards for each service provided.
- Helps one to close voids in the service process or performance and also look for areas of improvements.
- Develops trust between customers and organisation and communication improves.
- There is team building spirit and the approach from and between partnership companies.
4.3 Explain How to Set and Meet Quality Standards and Timescales With Internal Customers
Setting quality standards and timescales are important for a business or an organisation, without which one will be putting tasks aside without getting them done. Setting these motivates the customers and the person working on it. It helps to focus on a task or project.
Quality standards and timescales can be set in the following ways:
- Focus on the customer and find out what the customers expect, or what the customers’ needs are and what matters the most to the customers, and by what time.
- Find out any voids in service quality and close the gaps, as these will lead to poor quality standards and will be time consuming during rectification process.
Quality standards and timescales can be met in the following ways:
- Improving trust between the organisation and the customer.
- Improved communication with customers.
- Joint working and team building which in turn boosts the spirits and motivation.
- Approaching partnership companies and internal customers with greater openness.
5.1 Describe the Types of Problems That Internal Customers May Have
An organisation has to keep its internal customers happy by taking care of them, just as it takes care of its external customers. There should be systematic way of processes in place and training need to be provided to apply the services available for the internal customers. Every organisation has a system which is used to accomplish any task or get any work done. When internal customers are satisfied, it leads to the success of the organisation.
Problems related to work:
- Not enough knowledge of the internal processes or work systems which leads to them not being able to get the work done properly.
- Not knowing what their job roles are or deviating hugely from their job role, as sometimes they are expected to agree to any demands from higher management or not knowing what to do as they have not been briefed about the job.
- Not enough support from the human resource department for motivation and developments within the organisation.
- Lack of training required to complete the job/tasks/projects.
- Lack of encouragement, recognition and appreciation of one’s work.
- Lack of Health and safety procedures that have to be in place for the customer to carry out the job and also checks to see if the workplace is suitable for the work being done.
- Not using latest technologies to keep up with the advanced systems in place which can highly disrupt the workflow with partnership companies that are way ahead in the use of technology.
- Not having standards set up for services, record management, data storage and retrieval, trading standards etc.
- Not having performance goals, performance indicators and timescales for achieving tasks.
- Work not complying with the SMART objective.
- Lack of communication/information sharing which is a major fact in most organisations that need to be considered.
- Lack of help and advice from higher management.
Problems that are personal:
- Not giving choices but delegating work to certain people without getting their consent or input.
- Unfair treatment.
- Not giving equal opportunities.
- Safeguarding issues.
- Making racial remarks or remarks about appearance.
- Not being included in the processes within the team.
- Sense of being ignored.
5.2 Explain Ways of Dealing With Problems
Problems happen everywhere and are there in every organisation. Problems exist in personal and professional life, but the important fact is to not run away from problems, but to face them and deal with them. Minor problems are most of the time ignored in the sense that they will go away, but any problems that occur, be it major or minor, have to be analysed and resolved otherwise it will hinder your progress. Minor issues can pile up if not dealt with and cause huge obstacles. Dealing with problems strengthens ones personality and teaches lessons. You gain a lot of experience dealing with problems.
Problems have to be dealt with as soon as possible, otherwise they grow bigger and bigger and will be harder to solve later. We should not get accustomed to a life with problems and be convinced that we have to live with it. This will have serious effects on the quality of life and the performance at work. Leaving a problem unresolved will open doors to many other problems or will lead to many other problems.
When problems are your own:
- Changing the way we think about problems. Rather than thinking that problems are a part of daily life, we need to think that we need to live problem free. This will motivate you to deal with the problem.
- Always focus on what solution you need out of the problem. Focussing on the problem can make you stressed and overwhelmed and will not let you look for a solution. So focus on how it will feel if the problem is solved and get yourself motivated to deal with it.
- Look at the problem as another person’s problem and this will make it easier for you to deal with it. When you have the feeling that it is yours, it drags you down. Thinking it the other way round helps you come up with ideas to deal with the problem.
- You need to accept the fact that there is no problem that cannot be solved. This will free your mind, give you hope and help you deal with it effectively.
- Be confident that the problem can be resolved and stay focussed on the solution rather than the cause.
- Consider the problem as an opportunity to learn new things, because as you deal with the problem, you will learn a lot and gain a lot of new experiences. It helps you to grow up as a strong person and have strong will power.
- When problems of the same kind are repetitive, it is good not to deal with it the way it was dealt with before, but to take advice from others and use a different procedure to deal with it, so that it does not repeat in the future.
When it is a customer’s problem:
- Put yourself in the situation and mindset of the customer and set aside the feeling that you were not responsible for the problem. Focus on the client and their situation. Stay calm.
- Listen to them actively as they want you to listen to them. Ask them why they are upset and what the problem is and how it happened.
- Do not jump into conclusions instantly, but listen to them completely and wait for them to finish. Do not interrupt either.
- Watch their body language.
- Repeat to them what you have heard to confirm you have heard it right.
- Be empathetic and show them that you have understood why they are upset.
- Apologise if it was your mistake or the organisation’s mistake, acknowledge and accept their concerns and present them with a solution. Provide them with choices of solutions if possible.
- Take actions and follow-up on the problem also making them aware of the steps that will be taken to resolve and how it will be resolved.
- Once resolved, contact the customer to say that the problem that was being dealt with has now been resolved. This will make the customer happy and show that you genuinely care.
5.3 Explain the Purpose and Value of a Complaints Procedure, If Applicable
A customer complaints procedure is a systematic method used by any organisation to receive, record and respond to complaints made by the customers. It also helps to efficiently and effectively monitor the status of the complaint. This is used to also improve the working of the organisation.
The purpose and value of a complaints procedure are:
- Provides a formal route to address concerns and any problems.
- Ensures that complaints are considered fairly, dealt with at once within the agreed timescales.
- Helps resolve complaints constructively without damaging relationships.
- Helps with confidentiality.
- Helps with an appropriate response.
- Promotes good employment practices.
- Encourages harmony at work place.
- Helps reduce bullying, harassment and victimisation at work.
- Improves customer retention and gives a good reputation to the organisation.
- Helps the organisation decide on appropriate actions regarding the complaint.
- Helps the organisation identify its areas of weakness thereby helping with improvement and development.
6.1 Explain the Purpose and Benefits of Monitoring Internal Customer Satisfaction and How to Do So
Customer satisfaction has to be monitored to improve the performance of the organisation. There are many indicators that can be used to monitor internal customer satisfaction and the quality of internal customer service provided by the organisation. This can be done by:
- Receiving feedback from staff and taking surveys from them from time to time.
- Checking on the time it has taken to respond to enquiries.
- Gathering information about how they found out about this organisation and what made them want to work with the organisation.
- Monitoring sales and other accounts.
- Statistics of customers staying with the organisation and leaving the organisation.
- The number of complaints received and the number of complaints resolved.
- The awards received or nominated for in a particular year or period of time.
- Performance against a standard target for improvement.
- Checking how services and products were delivered.
- Check for any requests in service improvements.
- Monitoring service delivery.
- Monitoring customer perception of the organisation.
The purpose and value of monitoring internal customer satisfaction are:
- It helps with improving customer service skills within the organisation.
- Will help the organisation improve its working standards and service delivery.
- Internal customers have a feeling of security and will know that the organisation cares for them.
- The customers feel valued.
- Improves performance of the organisation.
- Improves the profit for the organisation.
- Internal customers when cared, will care for the organisation and bring in more external customers.
- The organisation learns a lot through internal surveys and feedback.
- Customers know that their thoughts are listened to.
6.2 Describe Techniques for Collecting and Evaluating Customer Feedback
Feedback is a process through which an organisation receives reactions from customers regarding their products and services or performance of a particular task. It is an essential part in any business or organisation. Feedback helps with making future plans and progress in business.
Some techniques for collecting and evaluating feedback are:
- Suggestion box – This box can be kept at reception or near the entrance in an organisation and customers can drop in suggestions anonymously into the box about any issues, enquiries or improvements necessary. These can be collected on a regular basis and discussed in meetings to decide on the best possible results. Our organisation has a suggestions box at the entrance of the building.
- Comments book – This is not something everyone will like to use, but still can be left in a corner at reception for customers to write in comments and suggestions. In our organisation we have comments book for building maintenance issues.
- Feedback or evaluation sheets – These sheets can be sent out to customers or kept available on the intranet, so that customers from various departments can answer questions in that form or write down suggestions based on their experience with the service, performance of the organisation and the way they feel or are treated by the organisation in every aspect.
- Questionnaires – These can be again sent out by email or by post or on phone, or face-to-face or made available on the Intranet. Customers can choose to anonymously answer these questions just giving information about the department or directorate they work for. Our organisation does this every year through a link on the intranet. Most people will hesitate to complete this face-to-face or over the phone, so the best method would be the intranet.
- Complaints procedure – This is another process through which customers’ point of views and their problems can be heard. It is a process through which customers can voice their thoughts.
- Focus groups and participative evaluation processes can also be used to monitor customer satisfaction. Our organisation has an (______) day every year, where we get a chance to participate in discussions and evaluations on company’s progress, projects being worked on or to be started and any effects of organisation’s performance on customers, and how the customers feel about the organisation. There are also various activities to help improve communication and relationships between the internal customers and between the customers and the organisation.
While all the above are different techniques to evaluate customer satisfaction, care has to be taken in order not to burden customers asking for feedback. The organisation has to make sure that customers are not pressurised and interested candidates can be asked to participate in focus groups and participative evaluation.
6.3 Explain the Benefits of Continuous Improvement
Continuous improvement helps an organisation to gradually gain skills to find problems and solve them so that the organisation’s policies are followed and objectives are fulfilled. It is done by using techniques in a systematic manner and methods that are proven to improve efficiency. This helps with improvement in products and services. The process involves identifying the problem, defining the problem and analysing ways to solve it, exploring ways to solve the problem, selecting the best way or method to solve the problem, implementing the best method to solve the problem and finally reviewing the results.
The benefits of continuous improvement are:
- It leads to better results in the business when it comes to cost, productivity, timescales, profit and delivery.
- It improves customer satisfaction.
- Helps customers improve performance and helps the organisation to improve its performance.
- Encourages customers to take ownership of their work.
- Helps teamwork and team building.
- Motivates work within the organisation.
- Overall the organisation and its customers flourish.
For the first section of questions for this unit, please follow the link below:
I hope this has been of some use to you. Thank you for reading. If you have any queries, please feel free to contact me.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.