The PRIDE System
The Merriman-Webster dictionary defines a customer as one who purchases a commodity, and service. Encyclopedia Britannica defines a business customer, also known as an industrial customer as one who purchases products or services to use in the production of other products. As a practical matter, we must introduce the internal customer as another type of customer that must be defined.
The internal customer is anyone who uses your product, skills, knowledge or services inside your department or organization. On the initial introduction of the internal customer, 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.
In an article entitled “The Name Means the Same”, Sales Management Magazine listed some of the aliases behind which our customers hide. The list included the following references:
- The lawyer calls him or her a client
- The doctor calls him or her a patient
- The hotel calls him or her a guest
- The editor calls him or her a subscriber
- And many more
The preceding list indicates that you may give a professional name to the person who buys or uses your product or service. However, no matter what they are called, they are always customers. 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.”
As you 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.