Do you know who your external & internal customers are?

by todaystrainingblog

The basic precept of customer service is acknowledging who your customers actually are. The question now is do you know who your internal & external customers may be?  Then the question turns to can you define who they are and why they’re important, especially the internal customers?

Most everyone, whether you’re in a service or retail business, know for a fact who the external customer may be. That is elementary, except knowing them by that designation. But let me give a little list.

The client in which you work for. If you’re in security, then it’s obvious if it’s 1 location. But every single location managed by a different person is a separate customer

Client employees. Yes the client’s employees become another set of customers that are external that must be serviced

Vendors. Any vendors that work at the client site are also customers such as copier people, forklift mechanics, & so on

Delivery/pick-up people. UPS, FedEx, USPS, & etc. are also your customers

Visitors. Yes the visitors who come into the facility are also customers and deserve to be treated that way



Now the hard part starts. Who are your internal customers? This may be a little harder to delineate and figure out who they actually are. But they are just as important to your success as the external. And again this is just as critical for customer service as any other. To start you out here is another short list, because I’m sure you can figure out many others;

The company. The company you work is one of your customers. Their success becomes yours as well

Company employees. Of course they are who else are you servicing if not for these people? If you’re a contract worker i.e. security they also depend on you to be successful. And the main question is how many departments are there within the company – because they are all independent customers

Your own vendors, delivery, & pick-up people

Visitors. Yes visitors, whether they are applicants, interviewees, students, or regulatory personnel they also should, and need to be, treated as if they are customers, which of course they are


With the above lists, can you add any more to it? Depending on whom you work for you could be making a lot of lists. For example with a large nationally recognized security company you’ll have the following;

  • IT support
  • Officers in the field & others that support them
  • Human Resources. Both corporate & local
  • Legal
  • Corporate support personnel i.e. administrative assistents, secretaries, payroll clerks & etc.
  • Again, both corporate & local

Every single department, whether locally, regionally, or nationally is your customer.

In a hospital you also have many departments that can be your customers. Admitting, security, housekeeping, radiology, surgery, food service, pharmacy…

It doesn’t matter how big your company is, or small, you have to worry about both sets of customers at all times. And even a one person company has internal customers. It may be a surprise but they do.

The one person enterprise has the owner. The owner serves as CEO, COO, CFO, IT, & operations. Therefore the biggest customer that they have is themselves. They have to take care of themselves, and their families who should be treated as customers, as best as the external ones who buy the product.


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear