A2. Customers and Demand

customer-and-demand-index-pictureWe need to understand the types and frequencies of demands that customers place on the system.

These demands will split into value demands (what the system is actually for) and failure demands (that we cause from our failures to properly deal with value demands).

We can understand demand by listening to it (at the points at which it arises – digital, telephone, face-to-face, written…)

There is huge variety in value demand within service organisations: Our aim should be to absorb that variety, not frustrate it through standardised ‘straight jackets’.

Failure demand (which is high in most service organisations) is a massive potential lever for improvement…but it will not be reduced or removed without fully understanding its causes.

Post Title: Summary ‘teaser’: Month Published:
The Original Marbles Blue marbles post by Thinkpurpose: The organisation should be constantly striving to solve their customers’ problem(s): completely; when and where they want it; without wasting their time. Failure to achieve this will likely result in further (failure) demands on the system which require capacity (and cost) to resolve.  Dec 2014
The Devil Incarnate (Not) watching the rugby example: An organisation should be very careful about the (miss)use of computers: customers aren’t as dumb or gullible as a ‘customer service’ message might assume. You can’t play a ‘customer service’ game – you have to mean it.  Feb 2015
Demand, demand everywhere… but not a drop of value to drink! Ringing the bank example: The aim should be the effective handling of each customer’s demand, from need through to its satisfaction. Silo’d thinking is the enemy of helping customers. Mar 2015
A Service Revolution! Choice, happiness and spaghetti video: Service is different to manufacturing. Customers come in ‘customer shaped’. Our aim should be to understand and absorb their variety, not frustrate it.  Jul 2015
I’m just a spanner! ‘How its made’ spanner video: Service organisations need to help people with their unique needs. This differs significantly from making widgets.  Nov 2015
There’s no such thing as… Who likes the ‘internal customer’ phrase? Does this matter? i.e. Is this label useful, neither here nor there, or potentially harmful?  Aug 2016
Dilbert says…let’s automate everything! The Theory of Evolution: I find a great deal of solace in Dilbert. This post puts forward Dilbert’s view on the world…and relates it to the in-vogue subject of automation. I hope you find it amusing and thought-provoking (two qualities that go well together).  Aug 2016
“You keep saying that…but what does it mean?!” “Design your system to ‘absorb variety’ in customer demand” – what on earth does THAT mean? Dec 2016
The source of an idea: Front Office – Back Office A critical review of Richard B. Chase’s 1978 HBR article titled ‘Where does the customer fit in a service operation?’

Is this article to blame for the current state of service organisations?

Oct 2018