Developing an effective internal customer service ethos

O'Riordan, Joanna


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Dokumentart: Bericht / Forschungsbericht / Abhandlung
Institut: CPMR- Committee for Public Management Research
Schriftenreihe: CPMR discussion paper
Bandnummer: 24
ISBN: 1 902448 95 2
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 2003
Publikationsdatum: 01.04.2009
Originalveröffentlichung: (2003)
DDC-Sachgruppe: Öffentliche Verwaltung
BK - Basisklassifikation: 88.20 (Organisation staatlicher Einrichtungen, Management staatlicher Einrichtungen)
Sondersammelgebiete: 3.7 Verwaltungswissenschaften

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

‘Ensure that staff are recognised as internal customers and that they are properly supported and consulted with regard to service delivery issues’ (Internal Customer Principle, of Quality Customer Service, July 2000). The internal customer is not new, nor is it a purely public sector concept. The idea was first used almost forty years ago to describe different forms of administrative relationships within the private sector (Sayles, 1964). It stemmed from an understanding that in any organisation all staff are both the providers and receivers of services and, critically, if poor internal service exists, then the final service to the external customer will be diminished. The concept of the internal customer is however particularly helpful in a public sector environment where the connection between those for example in policy making or corporate service divisions, and external customers may not be readily apparent. Developing an internal customer ethos serves to emphasise the idea that government departments cannot expect to meet targets in respect of delivering a quality service to the public if the needs of staff are not met with similar standards of timeliness, courtesy and consultation. However, the internal customer is not just about ensuring an organisation meets the needs of its external customers more effectively. The concept also highlights the fact that a duty of care is owed to staff as colleagues. The definition of the internal customer used in this report is consistent with that found in the international literature. Internal customer services are understood as covering those services provided by distinctive organisational units/sections, or the people working therein, to other units/sections or individuals within the same organisation (Strauss, 1995). In relation to the Irish civil service, this means that all civil servants working within the same department, or in offices or other bodies coming under the aegis of the department, are internal customers. Those working in the wider civil service, semi-state or other public service bodies can,however, more appropriately be regarded as external customers.The Quality Customer Service (QCS) Initiative was launched in 1997. Part of the process involved the drawing up of a set of guiding principles, to be reflected in departmental Customer Action Plans (CAPs). In 2000, prior to the preparation of a new round of plans,three new principles were added, in respect of equality and diversity, the Irish language and the internal customer. With regard to the latter, the intention was to acknowledge formally the importance of giving an excellent service to colleagues in furthering the objectives of the QCS Initiative. CAPs produced by departments for the period 2001 to 2004 were the first to include the three new principles. Virtually all departments commit to consulting with staff in relation to the delivery of services to external customers and also to providing training in respect of customer service. However, a small number of departments indicate an awareness of the need to develop internal customer service in a broader sense. Where this enhanced understanding of internal customer service delivery pertains, a wide range of initiatives are being progressed, including proposals to improve departmental communications and consultation,the introduction of service delivery standards and internal customer service charters, staff networks and welfare issues.

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