I went into PC World last week to help make them into a business.
I was going to do this by making myself into a customer of theirs. Until that happens, PC World is not a business, it is just a large warehouse with loads of cheap electrical stuff stored inside, like a rubbish museum.
Let me explain…
The purpose of a business is to create a customer
A little quoted character in this blog, Drucker, said this and explains further…
There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer. The customer is a foundation of a business and keeps it in existence. The customer alone gives employment. And it is to supply the customer that society entrusts wealth-producing resources to the business enterprise.
That is what PC World is for. To make me into a customer. I went to their shop,walked inside, found the thing i wanted to buy….and they didn’t make me into a customer.
They didn’t take my money off me, they didn’t give me the thing i wanted, they instead took my name and said that there was a bit of wait until they could serve me!
Yes, i was put on a list to become a customer!!
Turns out they don’t employ enough staff to sell people things and turn them into customers. I waited, like the idiot i am, for about 20 minutes for the privilege of becoming a customer of PC World. Turns out I’m not the only one, as i researched on Twitter in my interminable wait…
Buying HDMI cables and iPods and moving them to huge out of town warehouses does NOT make a business. Selling me things and me giving them money, that makes a business.
When PC World forgot to make very sure indeed that they actually carried out that final link in the chain, selling stuff, they forgot to carry out their actual purpose-making customers.
This is the same as a lot of other organisations who forget to actually carry out their purpose, especially in the public sector. I was a customer in the private sector waving money at a company who didn’t want to take it. Imagine instead I was facing public sector indifference? I have no money to give, but instead a problem I need help solving, what do public sector organisations often do instead of helping me?
In Adult Social Care an enormous amount of time and money is spent on assessing and referring people, but surprisingly little on helping vulnerable people live the life they want to lead.
In Housing Benefits an enormous amount of time and money is spent on sending people letters asking them to send documents in, and surprisingly little time is spent on helping people claim the benefit they are entitled to.
In Planning departments an enormous amount of time and money is spent on sparring with planning applicants on their ability to fill in a form correctly, and surprisingly little time is spent on helping people make good decisions on developing their property.
It is ALMOST AS IF it is possible for an organisation to entirely forget their actual purpose, i.e. you.
Never mind, you could always measure customer satisfaction couldn’t you? Cos that would tell you if….err….never mind.