OK I've had it with the cult of the customer. I just saw one remark too many about "it's all inward-looking". We need to be inward-looking most of the time or we're not doing our ****ing job. Let me illustrate with that favourite analogy: a water supply.

You are responsible for the supply of water.

Your primary pre-occupation is the quality of the water you deliver. Your next most important concern is how your customers want their water delivered.

So you monitor the water and talk to the customers. All very outside-in and customer-centric.

The water quality isn't good enough. Do you spend much more of your time talking about the different flavours of water? No! you look at pumps, filters, pipes, and reservoirs. To continue to mull over what comes out of the pipe and how the customer feels about it would be posturing. We need to get inside and fix it.

And if the first time we look inwards is when the quality falls, it is way too late. 95% of our time and energy should go on the internal mechanisms and practices that deliver the water. To do so is to be a responsible, well-managed supplier. Stop suggesting this is some kind of neglect. This whole customer-centric stuff is way way out of hand. Customer understanding is an important guide, a setter of strategy and priorities, the source of a lot of the requirements for design and testing (but not all), and a constant monitoring tool. AND THAT'S IT: we have a day job inside, away from the customer. yes we need to maintain a line of sight with the customer, an understanding of impacts and needs, but we aren't with them: we're working on stuff they neither know nor care about, getting all wet and muddy.

Next time: customer value.

Syndicate content