Does internal customer service affect your external customer experience?

Does internal customer service affect your
external customer experience ?

The experience that your employees have, directly impacts the service and experience your customers receive.

 A pretty strong statement, but one that I absolutely agree with.

This week, Lynsey Kitching and I explored how the experience your employees get from their internal functions can directly relate to the experience your external customers get from your business.

The first thing to note that although I talk about shared services in this blog, the statement relates to ANY internal function within your business and the fact of the matter is that almost any role within an organisation can be linked back to the customer in some way.

Well the scorecard is green so we must be doing fine!

Lynsey, Owner of Lynsey J Kitching consultancy, spent many years working with National Grid. During this time, she headed up a project to improve service quality within their shared service function.

People often use scorecards as a measure of success within shared services. But just because your scorecards are green, doesn’t mean your customers are happy with the service they are receiving. How are you getting feedback?

Lynsey used NPS (net promoter scores) to get internal and external customer feedback and began looking at their low scores/detractors and found there was a direct correlation between feedback and performance on both internal and external NPS.

”The initial NPS scores and supporting feedback from customers was the shared services team were not accessible, our customers didn’t know what we did, email dot boxes didn’t work, and our processes weren’t transparent. That led us to develop our service proposition…to be responsive, reliable and easy to deal with. And act straight away – implement a service management tool to remove dot boxes, set up a pop-up help desk at our largest colleague office and work on improving our first identified colleague journey – how to buy goods or services. In the first 12 months the NPS score improved by 22 points.”

Story time

One of the biggest detractors on Lynsey’s NPS for external customers was a lack of consistency/continuity with people when solving an issue.

An example of how shared services could affect this score.

Your payroll administrator processes the wrong payroll data for your account manager. Your account manager gets paid incorrectly. When he tries to speak with shared services, he gets passed from one person to another with nobody really taking accountability for the error. Account manager becomes disengaged and starts job hunting and leaves his role. Your customer calls up to speak to their account manager only to find they are no longer there. Said customer is on their fifth account manager in 2 years. They are sick of having to re-introduce themselves to someone new and spend time getting them up to speed. Your customer leaves and goes to another provider.

Now I appreciate this is a pretty drastic scenario. But it happens.

‘Every role in shared services can be connected back to the customer and, as a result of this, every role within shared services is hugely important’.

Your Payroll administrator thinks they are the lowest part of the value chain. How can what they do affect your customers, when they don’t even speak to them?

And there lies your problem. Your shared services team doesn’t understand their purpose and they don’t feel empowered to deliver service to the best of their ability.

The leadership role is to set the climate and enable their teams to look at the bigger picture and how their role has an impact.

You need to move from talking in process and transaction terms, to talking about colleague journeys and experience – from setting strategic objectives to individual performance management. Empower your colleagues to step away from process when needed to improve experience (obvs balancing any controls/regulations).

So, there you have it! How internal customer experience can affect external customer service.

If anyone has undertaken a similar project, both Lynsey and I would be really interested to see any hard data relating to customer service and employee experience!

If you would like to speak with Lynsey about her consultancy services, get in touch and we will connect you, or you can catch her on LinkedIn.

For all things HR Shared Services, change and transformation and if you would like to feature in our ‘Insiders Story’ blog, email me on kate@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Kate Wass our HR Shared Services specialist here.

Why won’t top performing shared service professionals join your business? And what to do about it. Download our free eBook here.  

What makes a great HR professional?

What makes a great HR professional?


HR is a difficult job category to hire within. It really is – on paper, most HR CVs look the same. HR should be one of the most transferable functions, I mean we might think people in financial services and retail are different but, fundamentally, are they really??

How do you know the difference between the good, the bad and the ambivalent?

In one word. IMPACT.

Easy to say, difficult to work out sometimes. For example, if you put a training plan in place and then the sales team increased sales, who takes the credit? Did the HR person do this or was it the sales leadership team?

I am likely to go with the latter.

So, what are the measurables that people can talk about?

There are the normal ones that people raise such as:

  • Retention
  • Turnover
  • Exec hires
  • Market value of the organisation
  • Revenue and profits
  • Productivity, quality, service, satisfaction
  • Quality of the workforce

I mean these should be absolute basics these days, if you don’t have a handle on these then that’s a big RED flag…

What the exceptional HR people do is to cut through all this and relate the HR stuff to the business’s objectives.

Answer 1. You reduced turnover by 25%? Who cares!

Answer 2. You retained the sales director and their direct reports, by introducing an incentive programme that tied them in and ensured that they delivered. This team delivered X increased sales growth for the organisation. I would imagine most CEOs would be quite keen to hear this!

Other areas to consider relating impact towards are customer satisfaction, financial performance – top and bottom line, or driving a change agenda.

To discuss further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.

Hiring an Interim Executive? You need to get it right! Discover the 8 step process you should follow, by downloading our free eBook here.

What makes a good shared service leader?

A good shared service leader

Shared services is a continuously evolving function, and with emerging technologies and ever-changing job titles, it’s important that you set yourself apart from the crowd if you want to become a well-known leader within the industry.

Traditionally, shared service leaders were always judged on their hard skills. Shared services are set up to reduce costs, make processes more efficient and deliver results. However, not all shared service functions have an internal focus, and some are more focussed on delivering a better quality of service their customers, stakeholders and wider business.

So, what skills do you need to be a successful  shared services leader?

Leaderships Skills

Well this one is pretty obvious, really. Leadership skills is one of the most important things you need to have. You need to be the ‘anchor’ for the team and show resilience when going through periods of change. 

Ability to influence

In order to be a successful shared service leader, you will need to have the ability to influence. You will need to influence customers, stakeholders, suppliers as well as your wider team and perhaps the board. You will need to get their buy-in whilst delivering transformation through periods of change.

Commercial mindset

The best leaders within shared service functions will have a commercial mindset and will be more operational than transactional. It’s all about looking at the wider business and understanding how decisions can impact other operations and sometimes the end user.

Tech Savvy

With the rise of robotics, AI and cloud-based systems, it’s important that you can keep up to speed with the latest technologies. With mundane processing tasks being eliminated, this is a great chance to take away some of the tasks the team may call ‘painful’, allowing you to upskill them and utilise them more, which leads nicely to my next point…

Talent attraction and retention

You’re only as good as your team. Building a team with exceptional talent can be difficult. Retaining the team is even harder. In such a candidate driven market it’s important keep your team motivated and challenged as they will no doubt explore opportunities externally. Rotational training, incentive, and continuous development is what most staff want – ensure you get the best team and keep them – enabling you to do the best job possible!

Purpose-driven

Whilst there are some nice shiny job titles and sexy remuneration packages the best share service leaders, in my opinion, are the ones that are passionate about delivering change effectively. It’s all about wanting to add value and pushing to deliver results for the business.

What can I do to develop my skills?

  • Complete online courses/webinars to develop specific skills.
  • Speak at conferences and events.
  • Become a mentor.
  • Attend networking events.
  • Get involved in all aspects of the company and suggest improvements.

What skills do you feel make a good shared services leader? If you would like to discuss further, you can email me at sam@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

Why won’t top performing shared service professions join your business? And what to do about it. Download our free eBook here.