Who is Your Customer? This may be easy for many businesses especially if they are selling consumer goods. If you ask any service organization at a University, the standard response is “Students are our main customers”. The rationale here is that without our students, we wouldn’t have a university. At a very high level this is true.
Does this really help a service organization like the IT Department? If we take this restricted view of customer, can we see the full “marketplace” we serve? Does this focus on one customer restrict definition and planning of service delivery?
If your organization or department provides IT Services to a university or other higher education institution, the answer to the question becomes much less clear. Several weeks ago, we ran a workshop with our Academic Computing Group and our IT Department staff at the American University of Sharjah. We tried to answer the question. We broke the larger group of about 35 people into four teams. Here was the process we tried:
- Brainstorm a list of “who” you serve
- Each group writes their list and we consolidate into a common list
- Vote by show of hands to rank the list within your groups
- Each person gets 1 vote for who they think is most important for the Top Rank
- Each person gets 1 vote for who they think is most important for the Second Rank
Outcome: Ranked list of who we serve = a prioritized list of our customers