There is a lot been written about the importance of the experience economy. That what really counts is the customers’ experience.
When we are talking about the customer, who is really the customer in a service environment?
In a business –to- consumer setting, the customer is the user of your services. For instance the customer is the guest in a hotel, the person whose washing machine is getting repaired, or the man who wants to get a new passport from the government.
In a business-to-business setting things are less obvious. There are more customers involved. You have the ‘decision making unit’ , the business manager who decides to buy your services, The purchasing manager who does the negotiations and the contracts. And of course there is the user of your services. This is also not so clear. If you buy IT services, who is then the user? Is it the CIO, the IT operations manager or the end-user, an office worker, who needs those services? Or take another example, a florist who provides fresh flowers for the reception area and in meeting rooms. Who is there the customer? Is it the receptionist, the people who are attending the meeting or anyone who comes into your reception area? This means that it is really essential for a service provider to have a clear map of who the customer is in which situation and what experience he wants to give them.
There is also another perspective on the business- to- business environment. There are many departments who provide services to internal customers. Examples of these departments are HR, Finance, Logistics, IT, and Administration. What some of them forget is that they are also service providers. The only difference is that their customers are internal customers. However it is just as crucial to give those customers a great experience! Otherwise discussions about outsourcing or downsizing are getting the most attention.
So, who is your customer and what experience do you want him to get from your services?