Who Is Your Customer?

18 Mar

You can’t provide good service unless you know who you are supposed to be serving.  You can’t anticipate needs or receive customer feedback until you identify the customer.  And every job has a customer.  In fact, every job has many customers. It could be:

  • those buying your product or services
  • third party vendors/administrators
  • the government
  • your boss, your department, your company, your coworkers
  • your family
  • your professor, your classmates
  • yourself

That’s right, you are your own customer.  When evaluating a deliverable, you need to take this into account.  Does your product or service meet the customer’s needs?  Does it meet the customer’s specs?   Are you proud of and happy with your work? Does your work represent you at your best?  Would you be pleased if you were the customer? What could you do to improve the final product?  Would the increase in quality be worth the additional time/money spent on improvements?

If you are a perfectionist, you need to focus on the first two questions. Everyone else should take them all into account.

When you ask for feedback from your customers, make sure to evaluate yourself as well.  A once a year self-appraisal is not nearly as valuable as weekly mental check-ins.  Are you serving one customer better because of a personal connection – they are funny, you admire their work ethic, you like their company?  Or are all your customers being treated like VIPs? Is a certain time of the day more conducive to high quality work?  If so, try to book less meetings during those hours and focus on customer-oriented projects.  Think back on a not-so-great work moment from the past week and outline three unique ways you could have handled yourself differently.

Self-evaluation doesn’t need to take long. It can be done in the elevator, on the drive to work, while on an early morning run.  You can do it by yourself or use someone else as a sounding board.

The point is to ensure you aren’t just satisfying the customer.  You aren’t just providing the bare minimum.  Challenge yourself to step it up.  Genuinely seek to provide outstanding service to all of your customers.  In turn, you will start noticing that you receive better service yourself.

Who is your customer?
A simpler question would be — who isn’t?



One Response to “Who Is Your Customer?”

  1. kgbusco March 18, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    I think that evaluating yourself is very important as you mentioned. I tend to do this on a monthly basis, but I should do it more often than that. Knowing who your customer is can provide useful information on how to better serve them. Thanks for the post.

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