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Article

Ian Chaston

To determine the degree to which UK manufacturing companies have adoptedan internalcustomer‐oriented philosophy, a survey was undertaken usinga modified version of the…

Abstract

To determine the degree to which UK manufacturing companies have adopted an internalcustomer‐oriented philosophy, a survey was undertaken using a modified version of the Parasuraman SERVQUAL model. The majority of respondents indicated the existence of type 1,2,3 and 4 gaps in the internal customer management process within their firms. Major influencers of these service gaps include departments placing internal efficiency ahead of internal customer needs elsewhere in their organization, minimal effort to gain further understanding of internal customer requirements and a lack of formal quality standards for managing internal customer relations. Respondents consider their departments are able and willing to enhance the quality of provision if the issue was given higher priority by senior management. Identified obstacles to greater emphasis on an internal customer philosophy include insufficient trust between departments and low confidence levels over ability to manage the process. Unless British firms can be persuaded to revise their opinions about the importance of creating effective internal customer chains, concern must exist about the capability of the UK industry to achieve “world class” manufacturing standards.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 14 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article

G. Ronald Gilbert

Identifies two empirically derived measures of internal customer support used to assess team effectiveness from the perspective of the team’s internal customers. The…

Abstract

Identifies two empirically derived measures of internal customer support used to assess team effectiveness from the perspective of the team’s internal customers. The measures, personal service and technical competence, are based on analysis of the responses of 465 individuals representing 150 internal customer teams. When compared, the expected (self) ratings of the members of internal intact work teams were more positive than those ratings actually attributed to them by their internal customers. The findings reveal members of work teams tend to over estimate the effectiveness of their team’s performance when compared with the ratings the same teams receive from their internal customers. The measurement of internal customer satisfaction is a tool that can be a useful aid for managers of service quality and their work teams to help them more accurately measure the effectiveness of their units.

Details

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-4529

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Book part

Joseph Soalheira and Greg Timbrell

This chapter discusses the constitution of Shared Services and the value of a consensual agreement of a definition for academe and practice. It explores the operating…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter discusses the constitution of Shared Services and the value of a consensual agreement of a definition for academe and practice. It explores the operating principles and services, the concepts of internal customer and internal service, and their importance for the practitioner and research communities.

Methodology/approach

This chapter employed a broad review of the literature to examine Shared Services. The research team used NVivo as a tool to create a database of key articles and books to analyze the key concepts and topics.

Findings

There is a lack of consensus on the definition of Shared Services in the research and practitioner community. Additionally, the concept of internal customer requires greater exploration and understanding within the context of Shared Services. How Shared Services provides competitive advantage to organizations is also not well understood.

Research limitations/implications

This discussion provides a challenge to the research community to focus on the contributions of shared services to business management theory. This requires a consensus that is currently nonexistent, to ensure the correct use of the terminology and model.

Practical implications

By establishing a clearer understanding of what is Shared Services, the academic and the practitioner community, in particular, will gain greater competencies on Shared Services to support change management programs during the implementation phases and minimize implementation costs by lowering organizational and people resistance. The variants in shared services terminology create confusion which is likely to result in ambiguity during implementation and have practical implications on governance, customers and service, benefits realization and performance.

Originality/value of chapter

This chapter addresses the lack of agreed definition of the term Shared Services and the role of the internal customer and consequent internal service delivery.

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Article

Ioanna Papasolomou‐Doukakis and Philip J. Kitchen

This paper discusses findings from an exploratory study concerning internal marketing in the UK retail bank industry. In order to enhance efficiency and provide motivation…

Abstract

This paper discusses findings from an exploratory study concerning internal marketing in the UK retail bank industry. In order to enhance efficiency and provide motivation to employees many UK banks have adopted internal marketing. The paper adopts the approach of first defining the generic research area, and then describing the research approach. It is concerned with first identifying the rhetoric of internal marketing as employed in UK banks, and second with exploring the practice of reality of internal marketing as practiced within UK banks. The paper is grounded in Mason's view that theoretical positions or data explanations move from the particular context of internal marketing views and expand within banks to the general theoretical contribution to be made. Findings are explored via two extant relationships and three anomalies based on the data analysis. Evidence from the study suggests that internal marketing is being taken seriously but in such a way as to be managerially, not employee, oriented. At best, internal marketing within this industry is regarded as a form of window dressing or part of the trappings of marketing, rather than having any substantive base or rationale insofar as employees are concerned.

Details

International Journal of Bank Marketing, vol. 22 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-2323

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Article

Corina Braun and Karsten Hadwich

This paper aims to explore the determinants of perceived internal service complexity in internal service encounters. In this context, the nature of internal service…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the determinants of perceived internal service complexity in internal service encounters. In this context, the nature of internal service complexity is considered, to identify its promoting and limiting factors, as well as its non-linear effects on internal service quality.

Design/methodology/approach

To acquire information on factors influencing internal service complexity, a broad literature review was conducted. Furthermore, to validate and verify these results, structural equation modeling’ was used in the context of a quantitative study with 705 internal customers.

Findings

The results revealed four promoting and seven limiting complexity determinants at organizational, interdepartmental and internal supplier-related levels. Moreover, the findings showed that an optimal, moderate level of internal service complexity maximizes internal service quality.

Research limitations/implications

As the findings are restricted to this study, further research should be conducted with regard to different types of companies and internal customers. Furthermore, future research should take variability over time into account. Executing a longitudinal approach to internal service complexity might therefore be appropriate.

Practical implications

Managers should note that exclusively reducing internal service complexity is insufficient; rather, a hybrid strategy of lowering and controlling is indispensable for an optimization. Based on the identified complexity determinants, a three-step guidance to optimize internal service is proposed.

Originality/value

Despite examining the construct complexity, previous research has neither analyzed internal service complexity nor studied its determinants. This paper provides an empirical model that analyzes inhibiting and promoting factors of internal service complexity as well as its non-linear effects on internal service quality.

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Article

Victoria Bellou and Andreas Andronikidis

The increasing importance of customer satisfaction is uncontested. Yet, banks are currently facing another major challenge, meeting the changing needs of customers. For…

Abstract

Purpose

The increasing importance of customer satisfaction is uncontested. Yet, banks are currently facing another major challenge, meeting the changing needs of customers. For this reason, the present study aims to examine the effect that internal service quality has on employees' prosocial customer behaviour displayed, which is crucial for customers' perception of service quality. This effect was examined both for publicly and for privately held banks.

Design/methodology/approach

Out of 19 banks that operate in a major Greek city, 16 agreed to cooperate. The researchers personally administered 10 questionnaires to front‐line employees of every branch, on a random basis, and gathered 113 usable questionnaires. Responses were analysed using descriptive statistics, and regression analyses.

Findings

The findings indicate that employees are more likely to improve their general performance and are more cooperative when internal service quality exists. Despite the fact that employees in both sectors agree to the fact that reliability and access are critical for displaying role‐prescribed customer behaviour, there are significant difference with regards to cooperation and extra‐role customer behaviour.

Research limitations/implications

Since, the study took place in only one Greek city, increasing the sample base both in terms of the number of cities and respondents could provide safer generalizations of findings.

Practical implications

Quality circles, employee involvement and human resource management policies designed to stress internal service quality can enhance employees' willingness to serve customers, and in turn increase service quality provided to external customers.

Originality/value

The paper assesses the impact of internal service quality on customer service behaviour, focusing on the Greek banking sector.

Details

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 25 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-671X

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Article

Robert Johnston

This exploratory paper investigates internal service from a service management perspective. The objectives were to identify the main internal barriers that are preventing…

Abstract

Purpose

This exploratory paper investigates internal service from a service management perspective. The objectives were to identify the main internal barriers that are preventing improvements to external service within business‐to‐business (B2B) organisations, to explore the bi‐directionality of internal services provided between internal functions, to assess the quality of internal services provided between functions and develop a means of testing staff and managers for their level of internal versus external focus.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative study was conducted involving structured interviews in two European countries with 20 staffs and managers from a large international express package delivery firm.

Findings

Five findings emerged. First, six main internal barriers to improving external quality were identified. Second, the study found that the barriers in B2B organisations were the same as those in business‐to‐consumer (B2C) organisations. Third, it suggested that internal service, unlike external B2C service, is bi‐directional. Fourth, it demonstrated a perception gap in internal service provision suggesting some degree of arrogance or delusion. Fifth, it demonstrated that the managers and staff viewed their service from an organisational, inside‐out, perspective, despite articulating a desire to provide excellent service to their business customers.

Research limitations/implications

The key limitations were that only one organisation was studied and 20 interviews conducted. The paper provides support for the total quality management approach and suggests that a dual approach combining a service, customer, perspective with an operations, efficiency, perspective might be useful in generating deeper insights to better understand and bring about improvements to the quality of services delivered.

Practical implications

From a practitioner perspective, the findings suggest that managers and supervisors need to develop a better understanding of the performance of internal services.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the knowledge of internal service, particularly in B2B services.

Details

International Journal of Service Industry Management, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-4233

Keywords

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Article

Richard J. Varey

Presents an interdisciplinary literature review and research agendaand suggests a number of propositions, in advance of new fieldwork, todiscover a revised or new theory…

Abstract

Presents an interdisciplinary literature review and research agenda and suggests a number of propositions, in advance of new fieldwork, to discover a revised or new theory of internal marketing as it relates to organizational change management. The literature on marketing, services marketing, corporate strategy, total quality management, operations management, human resource management, and organizational development reveals a body of work referring to or describing an “internal marketing” concept or internal customer concept. This seems to have grown out of an organizational internal communications perspective and the notion of an “inner market” in the organization comprising “internal customers”. Provides an extensive overview of tactical and strategic issues relating to internal marketing. Presents a resulting model and includes a comprehensive bibliography is included, with suggestions for some themes for possible fruitful research in this area of change management and service quality management.

Details

International Journal of Service Industry Management, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-4233

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Article

Ian N. Lings

Presents a model of service quality which is based on both internal and external customer and supplier groups in supply chain partners. Two possible types of internal

Abstract

Presents a model of service quality which is based on both internal and external customer and supplier groups in supply chain partners. Two possible types of internal customers are proposed in intra‐firm inter‐departmental relationships and two types of interaction are proposed in inter‐firm inter‐departmental relationships. The management of these interactions using tools originally developed in the field of internal marketing is discussed and the implications for service quality between supply chain partners are explored. The use of SERVQUAL to monitor the quality of service provided across these interactions is discussed and a research agenda to test the propositions developed is presented.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article

Dwayne D. Gremler, Mary Jo Bitner and Kenneth R. Evans

An internal customer′s (i.e. employee′s) satisfaction with a servicefirm can be significantly influenced by service encounters experiencedwith internal service providers…

Abstract

An internal customer′s (i.e. employee′s) satisfaction with a service firm can be significantly influenced by service encounters experienced with internal service providers. For example, a loan officer′s satisfaction with the bank he/she works for may well be influenced by internal services provided by the data processing group. Introduces the concept of the “internal service encounter” and presents the results of an initial study of internal service encounter satisfaction. The empirical study builds on previous research in using the critical incident methodology to examine internal services in a large US bank. Indicates that internal customers are similar to external customers in that, with a few interesting differences, the same types of events and behaviours distinguish satisfactory and dissatisfactory incidents in both internal and external encounters. Implications for managers and suggestions for future research are also presented.

Details

International Journal of Service Industry Management, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-4233

Keywords

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