Internal Customer

Internal Customer
November 10, 2016 Gary Shotton

Every person in the process of delivering the goods or service must view the next person down-line as the “Internal Customer”. By Gary Shotton #000025

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Internal Customer

By Gary Shotton

This text is in Extreme Rough draft and will be edited in the near future.

Hello my name is Gary Shotton, and I’m very pleased to be with you today. Today we’re going to talk about a subject of who’s your customer, and how do you take care of your customer, but specifically how you take care of what we call an internal customer. Now, I’ll explain myself, but let’s first talk about our, what we’d normally say, customer. If you’re making a pizza, and your customer comes to the window, you would want your person taking the order to be pleasant, or if they’re on the phone you would judge them and train them to be pleasant and speak nicely, and you know, be cordial and polite to the customer, and then if the delivery person happens to come and deliver the pizza or you’re in touch with anybody connected with that company everyone there represents that company because when you interact with the customer, that’s when the judgments are being made. I mean you could have the best brochures, you could have pretty business cards, you could have even have great price. I was listening many times over where the sales presentation was perfect and everybody was doing good, but somebody had a bad experience, and that bad experience with the customer, with you as your supplier of a product or service that bad experience sticks in their mind. You have to do things that overcome that. So one of the ways we found to permeate this as a leader or owner of your company, is to instill that at every step of the way you’re dealing with a customer. Now the final supply of your goods or services to your customers is what we normally think of the customer, but let’s say in my case I have a buyer that buys steel, and he’s working to buy the steel, to receive it, and get it ordered correctly, and internally the next person that deals with what my buyer of the metal does is the person that unloads it off the truck and receives it in, checks it off, makes sure it’s right. Well the buyer, he wants to make it just as easy as possible for the person on the truck to do the paperwork, the paperwork’s in order. In other words, not make anything difficult. Think, how can I make it good for my internal fellow worker to be trouble free, things go smoothly ,don’t have to ask questions, not vague or uncertain, and so that person only starts the process. Now in our case, that person might get a long bar of tubing or something, so he passes that steel, that metal, that piece, on to the person at our saws. This might have come in in a tubing and we might have sawed that in, you know, little slivers that thick. Well, he’s gonna make it just as easy as possible for the saw operator. He’s not making it difficult. He’s not even just making it easy. He’s making it exceptionally easy for that person that’s the next step in line. That’s the internal customer. Maybe where he marks or writes the identification on the long tube, that needs to be clear, it needs to be in the same place all the time. Look where he puts his paperwork so that the next person in that chain of events doesn’t have to find the paperwork, the paperwork’s always in order. Everything’s on track so that the next person in order can do his good job, but who’s next in order. When we cut a piece like that, the saw person, there’s some little rough spots. There’s some little burrs. You could grab this, and you could cut yourself real easy. We had a saw operator years ago, He wouldn’t listen to us. I said “Listen, you’ve got to make it easy for the person That’s picking up that piece of steel because he takes that and just with unknowingly he could cut himself. Well this saw person had the attitude, “Well, he should wear gloves.” “No, you should make sure there’s no sharp spots on it.” “Oh he’s got plenty of time, he can just be careful.” “No.” Well guess what? That saw operators not working for us anymore Partly because he wouldn’t deal properly as an internal customer. He should send that raw material to that next operator, grinding it off smooth, doesn’t have to go overboard, but he’s thinking what’s easiest he’s counted them out in an easy way to count because we keep track of every single part. So, if there’s a hundred parts, he just throws them in there. He just makes it in a big pile. He lays them out ten, across ten this way, ten, ten, ten. That’s a hundred. It’s easy to count. There’s no problem with counting because there’s no chance of mistake. We made it easy for the next person and though on and on and on through the shop, who’s handling this material next wants to be your internal customer. And those people in the chain of command the chain of events if they think how would I like to receive it myself? This sounds very elementary, but it’s very very important because every time you have a mistake, You are dealing with something you shouldn’t deal with. The paperwork wasn’t right, somebody cuts their finger. I’m gonna be proud to tell you we’ve been almost 700 days going on almost two full years without a lost-time accident. Wow that speaks miles and good to our customers, to our workers. We do things to be safe, but you can do that if things are in order, the internal customer. There’s things that are lined out smooth. It’s always thinking of the other person. Now, if you’re the owner, this happened just a couple days ago, we identified someone that did an exceptional job. It’s included customer service and some other things. We saw in his paperwork how well he had done, it was just kind of what was normally being paid for to do, but he made a good job, and he’s regularly doing that. I keep in my drawer some extra gift cards. They’re $20 gift cards to buy gasoline, and I opened up my drawer, and I said give it to Eric would you? You know I got an email from Eric and he was so proud, so happy that we acknowledged him that he had done internal customer. He is taking care of business, he’s taking care of the next person in line. He personally may never actually ever see our customer because he doesn’t deliver. Oh, he might see him walk by, but he’s going to just see one person in our customer, but he has our customer in mind. That’s what you’ve got to permeate through your shop. If you’re in Africa and you’re making jewelry or making something that everyone in that shop making jewelry has got to be thinking “Okay, I’m working internally and eventually for the final customer. Everything’s got to be perfect, right the first time with few exceptions. I’m taking care of my customer. Most internal and external.” If you’re in any foreign country, on any product, or any service, there’s hardly anything made this day that just one person takes the order, does everything, it’s like a one-man job. That’s not reality. There’s some people, even though I know it’s not a whole lot of people there’s somebody. Maybe it’s your wife. You know what? I’m married 43 years. When she cooks a meal, she’s not my customer, but she’s internal and dear to me. I get up, I put up the dishes, I clean off the table, she appreciates that and I know she does. I’m not patting myself on the back, I’m just saying there’s an example. I want harmony with my spouse, I’m doing things I don’t have to do, I’m honoring and respecting her. I hope this is helpful to you. We always ask that you consider forwarding this sharing it through social media and giving us feedback if you would. Thank you very much Up next


  1. Adam 6 years ago

    Yes, making processes as simple and easy for the next person in the production chain is very important. I think that is something that is sometimes overlooked by employees who are just concentrating on making their job easy or convenient themselves.

  2. Author
    Gary Shotton 6 years ago

    Thanks for your feedback and encouragement. I have big plans for this project and it is gaining momentum at somewhat of a slow pace, but this has been my “mode of operations” for many years. Seems better than a “flash in the pan”.

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