Identify Your Customers

By Penny Macias | September 8, 2016 

Did you know that Customer Service Week is October 3-7? With that being said, do you know who your customer is? Is it anyone who pays sales tax or is it your Department Head? In LEAN/Six Sigma your customers are the direct users of your services. They are the reason your work group exists. Often times people mistake stakeholders - people who can influence your work or have a stake in the delivery of the product - as customers. That mistake can make it difficult or impossible to deliver quality services to the real customers.

The MAAP's customers are the departments and leaders who ask us to help them improve a process.  For example, our Fire Department would identify their customers as people who need their property saved or emergency medical services. Some customers are easier to identify than others. Clearly defining your customer and understanding what customers need from your work is one of the many tools that are taught in the LEAN/Six Sigma Green Belt program.

If you struggle to understand what your customers need or have to modify/improve a process for customers while keeping stakeholders' interests in mind, then the MAAP Champion program may be the group for you. Once you complete the training program, you'll be better equipped to help your manager and department head identify your customers and deliver services and products that meet their needs. You will also have regular opportunities to work with other departments and divisions to help them improve their results. In working with others you'll make meaningful professional contacts and have a better global understanding of the entire organization.

The Green Belt training is offered in the spring and fall of each year. Classes start in October and applicants have an option of three, full-day classes or six, half-day classes to complete the in-class component. MAAP Champions then work on a process improvement project with the help of a Black Belt Champion - either me or Robyn Undieme.

If you're interested, I encourage you to sign up sooner than later because it's never too early to learn new techniques. We look forward to helping you make your customers happy.

Online applications are available or you can email me - pmacias@cityoftulsa.org - and I'll send you a copy.