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How would you improve relations between customer service and operations?

Posted in Customer Service on November 10, 2011
There are (2) comments permalink


Michelle is the customer service manager at a plastics company.  They have been very busy but recently customers have been complaining about long lead-times.  The production planner, Derek, is responsive only when Michelle personally pushes to get an order expedited but Michelle has been spending all of her time begging for expedites and has no time to do anything else.  The five customer service reps that report to Michelle are losing moral.  They feel unappreciated and want to be listened to when expediting orders themselves.  Nobody cares what they say; Michelle has to do it all.  Operations, scheduling, sales and purchasing don’t engage with the customer service group at all.  Michelle has complained several times to her boss (the sales director) that she has no support from other departments but her boss sees that Michelle personally has the relationships and does not think there is a problem.

  • What can Michelle do to get the other departments to work better with her team?  
  • What systems can be put in place to raise awareness in the organization about the growing lead-time problem?  
  • How can Michelle get her boss to support her better…what specifically should she ask him to do?

Comments (2)

Senior_Exec posted on: April 19, 2012

I agree, take it out of the hands of the relationship which sounds to be strained anyway. Another idea might be to take a survey from your customers, who are frustrated by lead times, etc, and then present those findings internally. Sales and Quality should be engaged because their customers are not happy.

If you tailor the survey correctly to be a constructive feedback tool it no longer becomes customer service trying to get internal stakeholders to react, its the voice of the customer direct.

I hope this helps. Customer service can be a challenging position, especially without internal support. You get the unhappy customer calling, push-back internally and often with little to no commendation. Just remember that Customer Service is a critical component to the team effort.

LeanLeader posted on: April 13, 2012

Try working with the quality department to develop processes that are across all company departments in an effort to streamline customer requests. If you solve the problem with improving processes, it no longer is about relationships so Michelle can refocus her team and her own time.

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What department in your company has more paralyzing process constraints?