Identifying Customers in Public Service

Article

Strong, Jerrold   (1996, ASQC)   60th Air Mobility Wing (AMC), Travis AFB, CA 94535-5001

Annual Quality Congress, Chicago, IL    Vol. 50    No. 0
QICID: 10405    May 1996    pp. 274-280
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Article Abstract

The identification of customers is more difficult in public service than in the private sector. This paper covers how to identify customers in certain government services.

The three primary steps in customer identification are: identifying key process outputs, identifying the receivers of the outputs, and determining who is the primary beneficiary of those process outputs. Analysis of the processes of the organization identifies the customers. Key processes provide the outputs essential for the organization's existence. Following a clear identification of the key process outputs, organizations must use what they know of their processes to identify and segment the receivers of the output so that they can determine the customer's requirements and plan for meeting those requirements. They must identify the primary beneficiary of the output. This can be difficult in the public sector where the purchaser of a product is often not the recipient. The authoruses examples of a subcontractor who supplies cement and an Air Force airlift mission to demonstrate identification of the recipient of the benefit as the customer. Identifying the output helps define the fundamental reason for the service.We are all customers, and stakeholders, of every public service that tax dollars support. The need to identify the primary beneficiaries of the key process customer/supplier interactions and outputs is basic to being a customer driven organization. This is important whether the organization is a school, the Post Office, the Air Force, federal,state, or local governments, or any other service activity.

Keywords

Customer supplier relationships,Process control,Output,Customers


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