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Understanding your customers
Understanding your customers

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1.3 Getting to grips with customers

You will now develop your skills in analysis allowing you to apply marketing theory to your own experience of having customers.

Activity 2 Who are your customers?

Timing: Allow 20 minutes for this activity

Identify some important customers of your own. Think of your life at work, if you are in employment at the moment. Unless you work in retail, sales or customer service, you might never meet the final customer for the goods or services your organisation produces. However, there will be people inside the organisation who depend on you to meet their needs for information, for cooperation, and for help to get things done. These colleagues are your internal customers. Your ability to understand and satisfy their needs is crucial to the effectiveness of the organisation, and the satisfaction of the final customer.

Ahmed and Rafiq (2002) relate the concept of internal customers to a wider process of internal marketing, which they define as:

Internal marketing is a planned effort using a marketing-like approach directed at motivating employees, for implementing and integrating organizational strategies towards customer orientation.

This definition sees internal marketing as something organisations do to motivate and coordinate their employees. Perhaps more importantly, treating colleagues as people with whom you exchange valuable things can allow you to spot new opportunities to develop your career and become more effective.

Away from work you also have customers. Partners, family members and friends need and want your time, interest, favours and affection. In the give and take of life with family and friends, it’s often hard to know who is the customer and who is the supplier. In any productive relationship, personal or business, benefits and value are exchanged in both directions.

Use the text box below to list up to five of your most important customers with a brief note of why they are important to you. Try to include at least one external customer, if you have one, one internal customer and one customer away from work.

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You will choose one of these customers to focus on in the next activity.