Who is The Customer?

Many people don’t like the term ‘customer service’ for good reason. However, this doesn’t mean that the principles of ‘service excellence’ don’t apply to how they go about doing their work. Gary Ryan explains how ‘service excellence’ enables you to exceed expectations no matter what you call your ‘customers’.

Many people get hung up on the word ‘customer’. This is the challenge with the concept of ‘customer service’ because many people think that they don’t have ‘customers’. And maybe they don’t. Maybe they have clients, colleagues, administrators, staff, stakeholders, lawyers, doctors, labourors, community members, students, guests and any other label that you can think about. The issue is not the label; the issue is the ethic behind how you treat people.
Another way of looking at it is to say that ‘the customer’ is anyone who receives the output of your work. Anyone.
This is why we prefer the term, “service excellence” over “customer service”. Unfortunately many people think that they don’t have ‘customers’ (because they use a different term) so they conclude that service has nothing to do with them. But it has everything to do with them. Everyone is your customer. Everyone.

Copyright Gary Ryan 2011

Research Participant
You know that I can’t stand the word ‘customer’. The people I serve are staff, not customers. I find out what they want and I do my best to exceed their expectations every time. So I wish people would stop saying that I have to be ‘customer’ oriented. I’m staff oriented and that is what is important!

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at http://garyryans.com