Christine McDade is a Human Resources professional (PHR & SHRM-CP) with over 20 years in the public sector.
Fisher Price Dad, busy and happy at work.
Service with a smile! We have all heard about the importance of providing excellent customer service to those who seek services or goods from a business. A smile along with honest service goes a long way for any company. Providing good support services to employees in the workplace is paramount for success as well. Doing so will ensure a healthy and productive work environment in any organization. Human Resources must exercise such a philosophy when serving the employees. Doing otherwise will surely have disastrous results.
Why is Customer Service SO Important in Human Resources?
- With Current Employees
Good customer service in regard to human resources in an organization is about treating individuals fairly and with respect. The very nature of what HR employees do (hiring, terminating, discipline, employee pay and benefits, etc.) is so sensitive and personal to an individual that it is of the utmost importance to handle all such employee transactions with dignity and confidentiality. Furthermore, not handling such issues with care can have a domino effect on those around the employee who may not even be related to an issue. When they see a coworker mistreated or given poor care by the HR Department, they will choose fight or flight in terms of how they react. Employers whose HR personnel mistreat or show such poor care to employees will discourage employees from bringing issues and concerns to HR to correct problems that exist in the workplace. Harassment or discrimination complaints could escalate when not given proper investigation by the HR Department. Employers could lose some very good employees through poor customer service to themselves or others.
- With Applicants
As Human Resources personnel are often the very first contact an applicant has with a potential employer, it is important to offer good customer service from the beginning to ensure a good impression for the potential employee. During this tough economy with a high national average of unemployment, there might be someone to step in when a good applicant decides to turn down an offer due to the experience they have during the application process. But, it is a certainty that when times improve, you will not have that same guarantee.
- With New Hires
The "honeymoon" period for a new hire with his/her new employer should last beyond the job offer itself. New employees should receive the appropriate training, or on boarding, to be sure the investment made into them during the recruitment will get them off to a good start. The impression the employer makes on that new employee will often have a lasting impact on whether that employee stays in the job for a period of time. The cost to advertise, screen, interview, do background searches and then the drug screen adds up, and you want to be sure you do not lose on such an investment.
- With Public and Other External Customers
Word of mouth about how customers, internal to the organization as well as external, is a very power public relations tool for any company. Someone who complains about customer service they receive or even of what they have heard about how an employee is treated can be detrimental to a company's reputation. An expose in a local paper or a national story about a big harassment case can be very detrimental to the look of any company. The caliber of employee such an organization will attract will likely not be something to boast about to the competition. Providing excellent service to internal and external customers of an organization is a significant characteristic of a company and should be handled with care and tact.
Customer Service Should Be a Priority for Human Resources
When recommending training for human resources, I always suggest customer service training as an important necessity for all HR employees. Along with workplace harassment prevention, how to conduct a job interview and understanding FMLA (Family & Medical Leave Act), demonstrating excellent customer service toward employees and applicants should be a priority. An employer who ensures that their HR staff is properly demonstrating excellent customer service in dealing with those sensitive and confidential matters of an employee will reap many rewards toward their bottom line.
How does your employer measure up?
Christine McDade (author) from Southwest Florida on August 22, 2012:
Thanks for your comments. Internal customers are the glue that holds everything together. Respecting the internal customer will result in a healthy and productive workplace for all.
JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on August 22, 2012:
Internal customer service is overshadowed by external customer service. It is true that external customers are the ones that draw in business. However, internal customer service pulls together everything so that a company can do business with the external customer properly. When departments treat each other properly, a more productive relationship can be expected.