Who Is Our Customer?

10045846-target-your-customers-concept-made-with-white-chalk-on-a-blackboardPeter Drucker asks a number of questions to help organizations become more effective. (The Five Most Important Questions).

The second question he asks is simply, “Who is our customer?

Sometimes organizations are created with a specific purpose in mind, with a clear goal in mind. Then, things happen:  time passes, leadership changes, opportunities arise, the vision morphs, and we wake up one day and we’ve forgotten who our target is.  This doesn’t mean that good things aren’t happening or that lives aren’t being changed, it just means that we might have a hard time identifying who our primary customer is.

Drucker would encourage us to do three things:

#1)  Identify your PRIMARY CUSTOMER

Who are you trying to reach?  Who benefits from your services?  This circles back to the focus and purpose of your organization.  In a business, it’s who you want to approach with services & products.  In a non-profit, it’s who is affected by your services or work, who benefits?

In identifying your primary customer, this helps you determine what you DO and what you DON’T DO.

Take some time to figure out who you are serving.


These are still customers, but they are helping you reach your primary customers.  They may be volunteers, donors, staff or partners.  These are people who believe in your vision and your purpose and who want to help you accomplish what you have set out to do.

In identifying who you’re supporting customers are, you determine who will help you reach your primary customers.

Take some time to determine who you’re supporting customers are.

#3)  Get to KNOW your CUSTOMERS

Your customers will help you know what to do and how to be more effective.  Ask questions. Learn from them.  Be available to them.  Get to know them.  The customers needs change over time the same way that organizations change over time.  Be in touch with your customers regularly and you’ll keep on track and you’ll be able to make adjustments along the way so that you keep your primary focus.

In getting to know your customers, both PRIMARY and SUPPORTING, you will help your organization to stay on track, to stay on purpose and to target the right customer.

Take some time to think about some ways you can better get to know your customers?



Russ Cline has wide experience in church, mission, and global leadership. Beginning in the local church in Southern California, then moving to Ecuador for 16 years to be a part of launching three distinct organizations, Russ is now back in Southern California working with Extreme Response International in providing leadership coaching and organizational development to leaders around the world. Russ' passion is to come alongside organizations and to help them identify areas of growth, focus and change, resulting in greater impact and effectiveness. Russ graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Business and Christian Education and completed his graduate work in Organizational Development. He has been married for 31 years to Gina, and they have three kids: Rheanna, Riley and Raylin. To learn more about Russ, visit: www.russellcline.com Write directly to Russ at: rcline@extremeresponse.org www.extremeresponse.org www.leadermundial.org twitter: leadwithruss, leadermundial

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