Customers, Clients, Members, Donors, Supporters. It doesn’t matter what you call them, whatever the type of organisation you work for, you most likely have a group of people that you serve.
In the past it was common to find organisations that mainly focused on internal measures such as financial or operational performance to make decisions and guide future strategy. Whilst this information is absolutely vital for any leader to understand, in isolation it is not enough. In fact in this day and age, where the people you serve have so much control and choice, it’s actually poor management practice to be purely internally focused.
So why focus on the people you serve, if leaders have been running internally focused organisations for years? Well, we are finding out (often the hard way) that things have changed. Like it or not, we now live in the age of the customer. The internet and rapid changes in technology have made finding reviews on your organisation extremely easy. And reality is, lots of people will conduct research prior to making a decision on whether to buy from or support your organisation. In the social sector we have also seen major change in areas like the implementation of the NDIS, where the customers of NDIS providers can take their funding elsewhere if they are unhappy with the service they receive.
Successful organisations are organisations that have a deep internal understanding AND a deep understanding of what the people they serve need, want, love and hate. With this combination your organisation is well rounded, informed and can create better products and services.