Dynamics Matters Podcast: Ep 70 - Do you know who your customer is?

With special guest Matt Birtwistle, IMU Director at HSO

This episode covers:

✓ Do you know who your customer is?

✓ Why does that actually matter?

✓ How can you create a view of your customer to drive more results?

Transcription

Introduction

Welcome everyone to episode 70 of the HSO Dynamics matters podcast.

Your regular sonic dive into the world of Microsoft technology related matters and much more besides.

I’m your host Michael Lonnon and in this weeks podcast I posed HSO industry expert Matt Birtwistle a seemingly simple question, but one that continues to confound organisations.

Just who is your customer?

The answer to which Matt gives his expert view.

So, grab a brew, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Michael Lonnon

We hear about this and get asked this a lot or, when we talk to customers and prospects, one of the strangest challenges I suppose in a way is understand who is the customer? Is it the end user with the product in hand, is it the supplier they go through, the distributor? Who is the customer and what challenge does it create when you don’t know who that is?

Matt Birtwistle

The customer is the person that you are going to be delivering a service to. It may be part of a service, it may be part of the process and, as you alluded to, customers can be inside the organisation, they can be external to the organisation, and they don’t necessarily have to be the end customer. It is a challenge to identify where your customers are and we’ve seen implementation of ERP systems this is a large part of what needs to be understood when you’re working to what the processes are and how to make them effective. This means to make sure you do know who the customer is, who is it you are trying to serve, is it somebody inside the organisation, or it could be a supplier or partner.

Michael Lonnon

What challenges does it cause if you don’t understand who that is?

Matt Birtwistle

What you tend to find is that you end up operating in a very siloed manner. You think you know what it is or your part of the process, then you hand it over, you go somewhere, somebody else has to pick that up and then they go ‘I’m not quite sure what to do with it or how to do it’, I need to change it, because it’s not what I wanted. It’s that disconnect that you typically see in siloed organisations not considering or thinking about what do we do.

Michael Lonnon

This is interesting, and you mentioned that it should be the person of that supplier, the person you deliver to as next stage. My opinion is that you should still consider the end-user the person with the product in the hand or the person getting the service delivered to them should also be part of the consideration. Even if they’re not the direct customer of yours at the time. Is this a case to at least consider?

Matt Birtwistle

There has to be that overarching view of the end goal or what you find is that when you’re working in and with small teams in an organisation is that those people may not necessarily know or need to know what that end goal is to be effective. Oftentimes, it is helpful and at the organisation that prides themselves on being customer centric, and when they say that they are thinking about who the end consumer is, who is everybody in my organisation thinking about. In terms of making it an effective process, that’s a critical piece of efficiency, automation, etc. The individuals you’re dealing with, if they don’t know what the end goal is, does that really matter so long as they are meeting the needs of their immediate customer, because if they do that, we know overall they will satisfy the end customer. It will be useful to think about what the end goal is, but in terms of making your team’s effective and the processes working within those teams, concentrate on the immediate customers.

Michael Lonnon

So the immediate teams serving the purposes directly just need to consider the customer they’re serving directly, but as long as the overall business is considering the end user, the end customer, as part of the business delivery, then that keeps teams being productive in the most efficient manner but you’re still delivering on the end customer goal of providing a good experience or a decent product or decent service.

Matt Birtwistle

Yeah, and where you can see things that can be problematic in terms of meeting the needs of your immediate customer. Let’s say you’re having to do a piece of work, and you deliver it to a certain standard, but it might take two days to deliver to that service and the end customer was expecting a response or a delivery within a two-day window. So, in other words, you’re immediately starting to be late. So that’s were having that overarching architectural view of what is the end game is something that will then control how you go about delivering effectively to your immediate customer. When you go, so I can’t take two days to get this to my immediate customer, what is it that I can do that satisfies the need of them then also make sure that we’re timing it completely.

Michael Lonnon

In managing the whole customer process, how can technology help, how does ERP technology in particular Dynamics 365 help?

Matt Birtwistle

There’s a couple of ways of looking at this, one of which is how do you make this process run smoother and faster, and better and technology can play a part in that. The other aspect of it is what are the insights you have within our process that highlight how well we are doing and where we might be seeing bottlenecks. So, think about the process of taking manual steps out of the process. It might be spreadsheets or a workaround and if you think about automating those processes use your technology to enable that to happen, then you can see how we can be more effective, and run quicker and run better, but also, we’re able to get some intelligence out of those processes through business intelligence tools to interrogate what’s going on. We can then highlight where there might be blocks in the process. How long does it take, we’re using a workflow as an example. How long did that work out and execute? Does it sit anywhere? Is somebody sat not doing and responding to something, and that’s where your insights come into play. So definitely, technology is a really important part of that journey. How do we make this better and more efficient?

Michael Lonnon

I’m going say, there’s consistency here between a lot of the conversations I’ve been having on these podcasts and even though we’re talking technology, and we’re talking about customers experience, what we’re really talking about, and where the value is, in both of those things is data. The flow of data and engagements between your teams, and your customer, and good management of that data.

Matt Birtwistle

Absolutely. Everything is geared towards either transactional data that obviously results in sales, therefore revenues and profits, that to be moving through the organisation as efficiently and effectively as possible. Then there’s also the data that exists as a result of transactions, which you then start to leverage and say, well, how are we performing? Where are we incurring costs within our supply chain? For example, how do we get access to that data and interrogate it? What does that then tell us? Are we inefficient in the way that we are working? Are we procuring from the wrong sort of supplies because we’re not able to meet the timelines; a whole host of different issues can be surfaced as a result of being able to work with your own data more efficiently.

Summary

The answer to: who is your customer is, it depends.

It depends on your role. It doesn’t have to be external – your customer could in fact be someone internally from another team. It’s the person, or people, to which you are delivering products or services.

And regardless of whether the customer is external or internal, take a customer centric view when it comes to building the processes to support them. Each of these customer centric operations than align together focusing together toward the end-business goal.

That’s all for now, and until the next episode, take care of yourselves.

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