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Who Are Our Customers?

Whether we call them clients, guests, members or patients, they are our Customers. They’re the ones who write us checks that we use to pay our bills and salaries. We compete daily to acquire them and maintain their loyalty.

Who Else?

It could also be stated that we continuously compete to acquire and keep our internal customers, those employees whose job it is to attract and maintain our external customers.

Studies show that 70% of lost customers depart not because of price or quality issues.

They are lost because they didn’t like the human side of doing business.

Happy Customers

What does this say about the value of internal customers? In the case of both types, isn’t it usually more cost effective to keep an existing one than to attempt to find a new one?

So one could argue that it makes sense for management to compete, schmooze and maybe even bend over backwards with equal vigor for both kinds of customers, right? How often is management’s attitude the same toward delighting both types? What keeps this from happening?

The significant difference between internal and external customers is:

Who’s writing the check?

Because management writes the checks to our internal customers they’re viewed and treated differently than those who pay us. We inherently feel that the paycheck should be enough. Too often, loyalty is assumed rather than earned. And how does that mindset really work when it comes to attracting the best? When your internal customers don’t like the human side of your business, what happens with those who do write the checks? Regardless of who writes the check, when loyalty of internal customers is lost, cash flow is jeopardized.

Open or Invitational?

OpeninviteThe CEO of one highly effective organization uses a sports tournament analogy to describe how they have successfully attracted and maintained a core of special internal customers:

We used have an Open. Now it’s an Invitational.”

Their Invitational reputation attracts the top candidates and they choose from the best of the best. In turn, customers have flocked; to the frustration of their competitors who have lost out both internally and externally. The law of attraction continues to drive their successful, steady growth.

Are you measuring customer satisfaction both internally and externally? What processes do you have in place for improving your numbers?

If you’re looking to improve your ability to compete, ask yourself…

Are you content to hold an Open? Or working toward becoming an Invitational?