Everyone’s A Customer, Not Just Your Customers

Hey there!

There’s a school of thought I follow that says that everyone’s a customer, not just the people that buy your product or service. I think I learned this first from Tom Peters when he came to speak at a broadcast company I was working at back in the 80’s – and it blew my mind and made so much sense.

Here’s what I mean by that:

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Hope this helps!


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hey everybody it’s David H Lawrence the
17th thanks for tuning in and in my
everyone’s a customer not just my
so it sounds like an oral MC Escher
drawing right what can you give me a
wiring diagram that what does that mean
in the 1980s I was working for new city
communications which became Katz
broadcasting or maybe it was the other
way around it was when everybody was
consolidating in the world of broadcast
and our fearless leader dick Ferguson
awesome guy same birthday as mine hey
dick brought in Tom Peters to speak to
us about service because Tom Peters had
a number of best-selling books on
companies that had excellent customer
service and one of the notions that he
shared with us that has stuck with me my
whole life is the idea that everyone we
come in contact with in one way or
another is a customer and should be
treated that way so certainly the people
that consume whatever product or service
you come up with they’re your customers
in my case my clients my students
they’re my customers they consume my
product the studios that hire me to work
on camera the audio book publishing
houses that hire me to narrate audio
books everything I do in terms of work
product for an individual or a company
that is represented by an individual
those people certainly our customers but
the notion that that’s where that
relationship type ends is not really
for me my girlfriend is my customer my
family is my customer her family is my
customer my agent is my customer my
manager is my customer my team they’re
my customers suppliers vendors the
restaurants I go to I look at everybody
as a customer who has a desire to be
served and that has served me really
well maybe it’ll help you as well now
what do I mean by that how can my team
be a customer they’re on my team they
serve my customers
so when I think about what it takes to
make a customer happy it’s giving them
what they need to solve their problem
right I always look at what I do for a
living is defending the success of the
careers of my customers and I feel that
way about my team I feel that way about
my close friends I feel that way about
my families for my team for example I
want to know what it’s take gonna take
for them to be able to accomplish their
job as well as they possibly can what
kind of training what kind of products
do they need what kind of support do
they need and so I’m constantly thinking
how can I make their life better just
like I think about my customers that way
I do that for my girlfriend and for my
family and I actually do that for the
people that serve me the restaurants the
vendors the suppliers my go-to experts
that I’m always kind of trying to serve
them because they do me such great
service so I really believe in that
notion that everyone is a customer not
just your customers and when we start to
think about how we sometimes change our
behavior based on whether or not
somebody’s gonna give us money or not
you know I give money to my team in
terms of you know compensation for the
work that they do they don’t give money
to me but that doesn’t change my my
relationship model with them I don’t
look for money for my family I don’t
look for my family to get money from me
I don’t look for anything like that
but I do want to serve them and I do
want them to be happy and I want them to
be able to do the best they can do with
what they have so I think you might want
to consider maybe you already do and I’d
love to know in the comments below if
this is making sense to you or if this
is something that’s like new and foreign
and what think about it you don’t have
to say to your loved ones hi I’m David
I’ll be your server tonight how can I
help you but you can bear in mind that
the same joy that you get from seeing a
customer satisfied is the joy that
you’ll get from seeing anybody else in
your life satisfied like that
we spend a lot of time creating levels
of satisfaction and metrics of success
you know did we hit it on that one could
we do better with our customers so why
not extend that to everybody
just a thought leave me a comment below
I’d love to know what you have to say
about that I’d love to know if that
makes a bit of a change in how you look
at how you relate with all the people in
your ecosystem yeah if you’d like to
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I’m David H Lawrence xvii I thank you so
much for watching this one and I’ll talk
to you tomorrow



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    1. Wow, I must say this post boggled my mind a bit. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around thinking of even my family and boyfriend as my customers….but I think I need a few days to let this thought sit. What made it click a little more for me was when you mentioned going to a restaurant and thinking of the server as your customer…because you want to make them happy and help solve their problem. Since I am a server myself, whenever I go to a restaurant I make sure that I am a really good “customer” for them…in a way I am making them happy..so they are also my customers? I think I’m getting it…

    2. This is fabulous, especially in a situation where a VO talent is talking to a stranger about his/her career. That exact moment could be my customer!
      Nailed it David.