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Everyone has a customer. Do you know yours?
You probably think this is obvious. It’s true, nearly every for-profit company has customers who pay for their products or services.
Additionally, I believe that nearly every employee in a company has a customer in addition to the company’s customers and that even non-profits have customers.
Let’s consider a fictional non-profit named We Care whose purpose is to provide services to the local homeless population.
In this case the homeless individuals are We Care’s customers. Yes, I understand that the homeless individuals aren’t paying We Care for their services, but they are the beneficiaries.
There are others (donors, grants organizations, etc.) who pay We Care to provide quality services to the homeless population. If We Care fails to adequately provide those services the donors will stop paying We Care.
Next let’s consider the IT department in a large corporation, XYZ Company.
Obviously, XYZ provides products or services to their customers for payment and therefore these customers are the customers of everyone who works at XYZ. However, the IT department at XYZ has a secondary customer base.
Specifically, everyone who has a computer at XYZ. They are paid by the corporation to provide IT services to the employees who use computers at XYZ corporation.
Therefore, the computer users are their customers and if they don’t adequately provide those services then XYZ will stop paying them (also known as being fired).
This means that every person working in XYZ probably has a secondary customer.
Are you considering these customers?
- Some of the accounting department’s secondary customers are the managers who use the reports and information provided by the accounting department to make decisions.
- HR’s customers are also managers who make hiring decisions, but they are also the employees themselves who rely on HR to help create a healthy work environment.
- The janitorial staff’s secondary customers may be everyone who works in the office buildings owned by XYZ and who depend on them to provide a clean and healthy workspace.
Successful businesses require both internal and external customer satisfaction to continue to be profitable.
Customer satisfaction most often leads to higher earnings and success whether your customer is external (more sales) or internal (higher salaries), primary or secondary.
Are all your customers happy with the products or services you’re providing them?