Who is Your Customer?
by Tamara Martfeld
A common recommendation in business is, “Give your customer “Knock Your Socks Off” service”. However, many people think that the only customers are those who are paying money for whatever service or product is being sold. Although these individuals are customers, they are not the only individuals who are customers.
Customers are any individuals who receive any service or product from you. Every job and every profession has customers, and some have chains of customers.
If you are on an assembly line, the person who receives your product next is one of your customers. If you do not provide good customer service to that person then he or she cannot use your product effectively for the next step of the assembly line. An assembly line worker is a good example of one who has a chain of customers. Each and every person up to and including the person who purchases the product is your customer.
If you are an office worker your customers may well be your co-workers. The work done at your desk may be passed to a co-worker for another step in the process, like an assembly line, or it may be passed to a supervisor who then needs to take action with your finished product. The co-worker and the supervisor are both your customers.
If your profession is parenting, your children are your customers and, in a way, society as a whole. When you provide the service to your children of training them to be productive members of society you are serving your customers well.
Sometimes the customer is yourself. You need to ensure that you take care of yourself and your needs. Failure to do so hurts yourself as well as your other customers. If you want to provide excellent customer service to anyone, make sure you provide it to yourself first. You cannot effectively serve others if you are run down.
Of course, don’t forget the people who ultimately pay money for the service. Although they are not your only customer, they are still your customer.
Providing excellent customer service is fairly easy – so easy it is sad that there are so many places that do not provide it. If there is a deadline for the service or product, aim to have it completed earlier than expected. Be pleasant and smile when communicating with your customer. Return calls, e-mails, letters, etc. as soon as you can. Do your best to ensure the product or service is the best you are able to provide. Give the customer what you would like to see when you are the customer in similar situations. It takes very little to go from mediocre service to excellent service. I have customers who think I am wonderful just because I return calls within the hour.
Take a few minutes to identify all your customers. You may be surprised at how many people depend on your excellent work!