For most organizations understanding customers is the key to success while not understanding them is a recipe for failure. It is so important that the constant drive to satisfy customers is not only a concern for those responsible for carrying out marketing tasks; satisfying customers is a concern of everyone in the entire organization.
Whether someone’s job involves direct contact with customers (e.g., salespeople, delivery drivers, telephone customer service representatives) or indirect contact (e.g., production, accounting), all members of an organization must appreciate the role customers play in helping the organization meets its goals. To ensure everyone understands the customer’s role, many organizations continually preach a “customer is most important” message in department meetings, organizational communication (e.g., internal emails, website postings), and corporate training programs. To drive home the importance of customers, the message often contains examples of how customers impact the company. These examples include:
- Source of Information and Ideas – Satisfying the needs of customers requires organizations maintain close contact with them. Marketers can get close to customers by conducting marketing research (e.g., surveys) and other feedback methods (e.g., website comments forms) that encourage customers to share their thoughts and feelings. With this information marketers are able to learn what people think of their present marketing efforts and receive suggestions for making improvements. For instance, research and feedback methods can offer marketers insight into new products and services sought by their customers.
- Affects Activities Throughout Organization – For most organizations customers not only affect decisions made by the marketing team but they are the key driver for decisions made throughout the organization. For example, customer’s reaction to the design of a product may affect the type of raw materials used in the product manufacturing process. With customers impacting such a significant portion of a company, creating an environment geared to locating, understanding and satisfying customers is imperative.
- Needed to Sustain the Organization – Finally, customers are the reason an organization is in business. Without customers or the potential to attract customers, a company is not viable. Consequently, customers are not only key to revenue and profits they are also key to creating and maintaining jobs within the organization.