Who’s the Customer?

I’ve been thinking about the customer. Recently we worked on some roles that had a specific focus on customer experience. Customer experience means different things to different people and companies.

If you are a B2B company, your customer is a company. Right? Well, yes and no. You are providing a service or product to a company but there are many people and individuals who are buying into what you are selling. These people come from many parts of the organization. From the receptionist who takes your first call to the CFO who might ultimately sign the check. Forgetting about the receptionist and making a lousy first impression could be a deal killer.

If you are a B2C company, and you are selling anything from shoes to scissors to tablets, your customers are everywhere. Literally everywhere. You’re buying a smoothie from a college student working part time in the smoothie store. They’re a customer. The copier technician fixing your copier in the office. They’re a customer. A candidate you are interviewing. They’re a customer. Of course, there is the customer who walks into your store, that’s an obvious one.

So, what is a customer experience? I think that it is defined throughout your organization, by everyone who interacts with another human being. Is the culture you create, part of the organizational DNA and does everyone live and breathe it? It should show up in team meetings, vendor meetings, candidate meetings and in the user interface on the eCommerce website or customer portal. It should show up in the contract negotiations when you are working with a buyer or if you are a buyer, with the vendor.

We are all buyers and customers, everyday.

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