Building Internal Customer Service

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 14:33 -- Carlylb

Are there any QI projects out there on improving internal customer service? Do you ever have to ask a coworker for something 3-4 times and still don't get it for weeks? Do staff have a problem meeting deadlines or turning in monthly reports on time? Any ideas on how to improve internal customer service?

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Submitted by geopops on

I handle the accounting functions at our agency and so my perspective is from me and my staff providing internal customer service. One thing we do occasionally to improve our service delivery is to do staff surveys. We may survey them on a particular task we do (purchasing) or on reports that we provide, etc.

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jerober's picture
Submitted by jerober on

Our agency recently completed a QI project for an administrative process involving internal customers. It was brought to our QI Council's attention because managers voiced frustration that a time-sensitive personnel form would often get held up at certain individuals' desks with little communication.

As our QI team did with this situation, you could gather a team that includes everyone involved in the process under discussion and explore the issue with a process map/flowchart. For our situation, the QI team included everyone who saw, signed or otherwise handled the form in question. They had open discussions about everyone's needs and completed a process map for every step. Using a process map may help you identify bottlenecks and other delays or explanations as to why deadlines or staff needs aren't being met.

Although our particular issue was identified because of managers' frustration with people, it's important to re-focus attention on processes, and process maps can help you do that.

1 user has voted.

Jenny Robertson, MSPH
Salt Lake County Health Department

Submitted by Shawnee Parens on

I recently raised the topic of internal customer service at a division meeting, and it was very clear that this was new terminology. We're going to begin by having conversations/education about what is meant by internal customer service, what it "looks like," and the impact that it can have on everyone's work satisfaction and productivity. In the short term, I've asked the managers who report to me to model exceptional customer service-- without broadcasting that this is what they are doing! I've already received some compliments on their behalf, and I've responded by talking about internal customer service as a focus. This is sort of a ninja approach to start the dialogue. This is just a first step -- but when the concept hasn't been touched on, we have to start by opening the conversation in some way. I'd love to hear other's ideas.

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Submitted by agoon on

As a health officer, part of me responds by saying the problem described is an issue of "staff accountability," not "internal customer service." If we as managers aren't holding people accountable for meeting (or missing) deadlines, then we are partly to blame for the results we are getting.

But I really like Jenny's post and her great example of how they tackled this at her department.

One technique used at our local hospital is having support departments ask the departments they serve to complete an internal customer preference card by listing the top things the support dept can do to provide excellent customer service. You can find an example at
This card is done as part of "internal customer rounding." You can find guidelines on this process (and how to introduce the internal customer service card" at

I hope these links work for you. They are located on the Studer Group® website ( Studer Group® works with healthcare organizations in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and beyond, teaching them how to achieve, sustain, and accelerate exceptional clinical, operational, and financial outcomes. They are very focused on quality improvement, and I have found nearly everything they encourage healthcare organizations to do just as applicable to public health.
Anne Goon, Health Commissioner
Henry County Health Department
Napoleon, OH

1 user has voted.

Anne Goon, MS, RD, LD
Health Commissioner
Marietta/Belpre City Health Department

Selenita_Delgado's picture
Submitted by Selenita_Delgado on

Here in FL DOH in Seminole County had used before the survey option as well.  But the example begin with good internal/external customer service.  We need to treat each other the way we want to be treated.  I am a strong believer of excellent customer service at all times.  It reflect our core values, integrity and loyalty not just to us as proffesionals as a department as well.

1 user has voted.

Selenita Delgado,
MPH Health Information Specialist Supervisor
Florida Department of Health in Seminole County