Who’s Your Customer


Who's Your Customer imageWho’s Your Customer?

By: Christine Churchill, Managing Director, Customer Service Institute of America

Who’s your customer? Seems like a pretty straight forward question. Or is it?

Common perceptions of customer service have us thinking of customers (and customer service) as: the ones who give us money, the customer is always right, customer service centers are cost centers, customers are a necessary evil, anyone can do a customer service job, and so on.

These “common perceptions” are as outdated and incorrect for our modern culture as switchboards and party lines are for our phone connections.

In order to find the answer to the question of who’s your customer?, it is imperative for many of us to reevaluate and change our perception of customer service.

We are all customers, and as customers, we have certain expectations about how we should be treated; do we feel like our money, and more importantly our time, is well spent with an organization or individual?

In today’s service environment many of us end an interaction feeling disappointed, vindicated in our sense that our experience would be poor, frustrated that we were unable to check off that annoying item on our to-do list because the organization we work with outsources that piece of the business and can’t speak to it, and does not know who can, and the list goes on, and on.

Most of us choose to pull out all of the stops in an attempt to self-serve, feeling defeated if we need to pick up the phone. Due to the heighted emotional state of many customers if self-service fails, a challenge is created for both the customer and the service provider at the inception of many service interactions.

The odd part in all of this is that, as customers, our expectations of the organizations we choose to do business with have never been higher. We are truly outraged when service is less than flawless, leaving most customers in a state of despair when it comes to many of their choices.

The reality is that we as customers, and as service providers (and know that you have customers, whether you work in customer service or not), need to change our perception of what it means to be a customer. We need to consider the state of being a customer in 2017, the current reality of being a service provider, and what the future holds for customer engagement. When we question and redefine our thinking in these areas, we will find that many of us truly do not know who our customers are or the best ways to serve them.

So, who is your customer? In this 6 week series, we will dive into questions that will challenge who it is that we think of as our customer, who is really responsible for the customer, and redefine the role of our customer service team members in this age of self-service.


Where can great customer service take you and your company? Find out at http://login.serviceinstitute.com/, where you will find information on how individuals and companies can be educated and certified for customer service excellence.

Author: Christine Churchill
Christine Churchill - Founder and CEO of the Customer Service Institute of America - Christine Churchill is a customer experience expert with a vast knowledge base from which to draw. She has worked with organizations from a variety of industries and encountered a multitude of management styles, training approaches, systems and technologies. This experience adds significant value and insight when developing customer experience strategy, showcasing opportunities for improvement, determining relevant customer metrics, relationship tools, and feedback analysis. Christine speaks at industry events and her customer service articles are used in industry publications. Christine worked as the Director of Learning and Development for the Customer Service Institute of Australia (CSIA), as well as one of their Senior Assessors for certification to the International Customer Service Standard and judge for the Australian Service Excellence Awards. Christine launched the Customer Service Institute of America in 2007 and is President of the International Council of Customer Service Organizations. The International Council of Customer Service Organizations (ICCSO) is the international body for member customer service organizations seeking to develop and promote international service standards and professional excellence in customer service. The Council is responsible for promoting the International Customer Service Standard (ICSS), professional individual certifications, and the International Service Excellence Awards.

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