Normally a customer is one who approaches you to purchase a product or service. He pays for it and in turn expects satisfaction. Take good care of him and he will ensure your growth and success. Displease him and you run the risk of losing him. In short, if you have customers - you are in business. These customers are EXTERNAL CUSTOMERS.
However from the stage of
enquiry to collecting payments, lies a long chain of activities such as
approval of design, pricing, contract confirmation, booking the order,
manufacturing, packing, dispatching, delivering, installing, invoicing.
Every employee in the company has an equal responsibility in ensuring
that the chain of activities is running smoothly.
If teamwork is the secret to customer satisfaction, then back up staff also need to look around and identify their customers.
In an organisation, someone in
the chain uses the output of an individual or a department's activity.
The recipient of that output is an INTERNAL CUSTOMER. If we have to
satisfy the end user we cannot ignore the intermediate links in the
chain. One must hence respond to the internal customer as they would to
an external customer or end user.
Internal customers could be
anyone in the organisation. They could be your peers, boss or
subordinates all waiting for some requirement to be met. Selling is not
required for this relationship. Though they do not pay and expect
service, they all play a very important role in the satisfaction of the
end user - your external customer.
Departments handling packaging,
warehousing, transportation, would all have their internal customer in 'distribution' that puts the various activities together for his
internal customer the 'sales-coordinator'. Simultaneously 'pricing' feeds price information to the sales coordinator. He now compiles all
this information and forwards to his internal customer the 'sales
manager' who finally presents it to the external customer or end user.
In turn an external customers
satisfaction stems from an excellent offer by the sales manager, which
is due to good outputs compiled by the coordinator that was due to the
efforts from distribution and pricing. Distribution owes their outputs
to efficient support from packaging, warehousing, transportation.