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Customer hierarchy (1)

It’s good to keep your products – and I include services as part of product – as focused as possible on the needs of your customers.

One catch is that you are almost certainly serving multiple costumers:

  • The people you hope to impact with your product
  • End users of your product
  • The people choosing and buying your product
  • Any other individuals or groups who need to approve your product
  • Other partners you collaborate with or support less directly (e.g. coalitions and alliances)
  • As a non-profit, donors who are at least partially subsidising your work
  • As a manager or leader, the employees, volunteers and board members that you work with and are answerable to. It might seem counterintutive to think of these as “customers”, but they absolutely need to be served. The way we serve them will be directly reflected in the way they serve our other customers and each other. It is impossible to have happy customers without a happy team.

Note that many of these groups may overlap partially or even entirely, which is usually good: it keeps things simple.

Your role as a leader manager is to focus the team’s attention down the chain, towards the intended “impact group”. We want everyone to have an attitude of service that goes in all directions, but our focus needs to be on ultimate impact – which should be clearly expressed in your organisation’s vision statement, and regularly referred to. If you can’t explain how an activity helps the impact group, you shouldn’t be doing it.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...