Internal customer


Internal customer

Internal customer is a technical term used in management science.

If one department, individual or process within an organization supplies another such within the same organization with goods, information or services then the latter is described as the internal customer of the former.

For example, a dispatch department may be the internal customer of a packing department, which in turn may be the internal customer of the manufacturing process.

It can be used for cost accounting within and between internal company divisions.EG: Measure time and cost for IT to support the Marketing Dept. v. the Sales Dept.

Misapplied, this concept can and does confuse the metric being studied with the complete collegial and bilateral relationship of employees working together, serving the goals of the company.

True customers have complete discretion over spending, and unilaterally select when where how and with whom they will do business. So the 'Internal Customer' analogy has limited utility to colleagues and is prone to misapplication.

When companies misapply the important metric of 'customer satisfaction', to colleagues, they run the risk of trying to satisfy the 'internal customer' (some employees and NOT others) instead of satisfying the goals of the company.

EG: An end user likes downloading free but dangerous screen savers, and downloads viruses, and then the IT Dept. removes the screen savers and 'displeases' the 'internal customer.' In this example the misapplication of 'customer satisfaction' of the 'internal customer' risks the integrity of the computer system, enforcement of company policy and worker productivity for the misapplied concern of pleasing the (internal) customer.

References

1 http://www.issurvivor.com/ArticlesDetail.asp?ID=176
* [http://www.missouribusiness.net/cq/2004/care_internal_customers.asp Taking care of your internal customers.]


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