As an Executive Administrative Professional we strive to provide excellence in customer service every day to both our internal and external customers. We are the face of our Executive’s office and represent him in person, over the phone, via email and social media. Our words and actions are powerful because we operate on behalf of our Executive therefore it is critical to offer the best customer service we can to all of our customers.
When we think in terms of our internal customers, we have many of them, and we spend our work days serving them. Have you paused lately to think about who your most important internal customers are? They are the people who count on your support every day to help facilitate their short- and long-term objectives. They are the people who rely on you to get things done promptly, efficiently, and effectively. And they are the people that value your proactive and forward-thinking, problem-solving, and networking connections.
For most of us, that customer is our supervisor and the team that supports him. For me, that person is the CEO of Tampa International Airport and his Executive Team. Once you determine who your most important customers are, your mission is set. Your primary focus is clear. We have to juggle many priorities in a day so realizing who our most important internal customers are, guides us every day to do everything we can to provide superior customer service to them. This, in turn, advances the team’s objectives and achieves mutual business goals.
With so many important and often competing priorities to manage all day long, we often find ourselves becoming reactive. This leads us to spend our time responding to everything that comes our way without pausing to assess the priority level of each request. Our “to do” lists are often filled with many tasks that do not relate to our primary mission – supporting our most important customers. Of course everything on our list is important and needs to be accomplished. My strategy is to create a daily priority list with tasks at the very top that relate to my CEO. As I work, I keep a sharp focus on whether I am efficiently checking these priorities off this list.
Examples of my daily priorities for the CEO involve scheduling meetings, making phone calls, reading and answering his emails in “real time,” facilitating paper flow in/out of the office, soliciting or researching information for him, keeping him informed, preparing him for his upcoming calls and meetings throughout each day, and so on.
Because the CEO’s Executive team members are also important internal customers to me, their requests to meet with the CEO, relay messages and information to him, place correspondence and reports in front of him, and other requests automatically rise to the top of my priority list. Providing them with excellent customer service facilitates their objectives which are directly tied to the CEO’s and the company’s objectives. Assisting them is always a high priority on my list. By demonstrating my customer service towards them, the team learns they can rely on me to be responsive and handle their requests promptly and thoroughly.
An added benefit to the customer service we provide to our most important internal customers, is that it increases overall productivity. When we share important information in “real time,” we facilitate productivity. This is one of the most critical tasks we can accomplish and one of the ways we contribute most in our role.
I ask you to consider who your most important internal customers are. Once you identify them, focus on ways you can prioritize providing the very best customer service you can to them each and every day. Strive to keep a sharp focus on their needs and you will not only notice the difference it makes, but the difference you make.
About the Author: Lisa Assetta has more than 30 years experience as an administrative professional. She has worked with business owners, executives, and chief executive officers in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, publishing, restaurants, and aviation. Lisa currently works as the Senior Executive Assistant to the CEO of Tampa International Airport. Her responsibilities include creating systems to enhance productivity and efficiency in the CEO's office, calendar management and serving as a liaison to the CEO's Executive Team. Passionate about eco-friendly business practices and office wellness, Lisa is a member of the airport's LEAF Team, which advises management on sustainability issues, and the airport's Wellness Committee. Previously she served as a member of the Advisory Council for the Executive Assistants' Summit.
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