“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotions – creatures bristling with prejudice, and motivated by pride and vanity.” – Dale Carnegie
The Merriman-Webster dictionary defines a customer as one who purchases a commodity or service. Encyclopedia Britannica defines a business customer, as one who purchases products or services to use in the production of other products.
The internal customer is anyone who uses your product, skills, knowledge or services inside your organization. It is an ordinary reaction for someone to say, “I work in accounting and never deal directly with the customer.” Using the customary definition, that may be true. However, when you define a customer as “anyone who uses your product, skills, knowledge or services” this definition creates an entirely different customer base.
If we examine the internal customer and apply our definition, the same logic holds. Even if you do not interact with the traditional external customer or client you do have “customers.”
For example, you could begin to create a list that is headed, “A list of those who use my product, skills, knowledge or services includes but is not limited to the following”: My boss, other department personnel, other divisions of my company or organization, federal, state and local government and regulatory agencies, the media peers and colleagues, my friends, my family members, community members civic organizations and professional associations
If you read and begin to apply the concepts of the PRIDE System of Customer Service, you will be able to adapt these principles to your personal behavior, position or function within your organization to the benefit of your customers.
This is not an original concept, but we should remember that strategic planning is ultimately about customer planning. In the strategic plan we place a value on our customers because we have to forecast sales. The root of sales is how many customers we have and how much will each of them buy? The multiplication becomes the sales forecast.
This is not an original concept, but we should remember that strategic planning is ultimately about customer planning. In the strategic plan we place a value on our customers because we have to forecast sales. The root of sales is how many customers we have and how much will each of them buy. The multiplication becomes the sales forecast.
A second part of that equation is the cost of servicing the customer. In other words, what does the customer require from us to facilitate our make the required sales. That number becomes marketing and sales expenses in the forecast. Quality, which is a cost figures into the mix as well. For example, certain customers may require certain shipping methods or packaging or a tighter specifications. Every customer will likely use their own definition of quality. The definition will likely include reliability and consistent performance.
Another cost that may be generated by a customer is the “cost of the convenience factor.” For example, you normally ship product in a brown box, but customer “x” wants the product shipped in a glossy red box. Now this is going to cost you money and convenience. What if that customer’s business only counts for 0.00001% of total sales? This generates the consideration of cost and pricing. All of these issues have to be discussed and calculated to serve as the basis for your customer service policy.
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