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Underserved customers

Last month I met with an Interactive Agency's CEO and several key employees to listen and identify what's working and what's not working for them related to their IT.   Part of my introduction is setting a context for why I'm there, who my focus customer is, and what I want to help them accomplish, so that everyone has a common mental model and feels comfortable during the meeting.  This step makes for a much more engaging (and fun) meeting for everyone involved.  

As part of my introduction, I shared  that my focus is on customers in underserved markets.    After the meeting my team mate - who attended the meeting with me in a lead technical role - asked if that could have been misinterpreted.  This is a pretty awesome company- they attract and retain excellent employees, they're aggressive in their industry, they're success-oriented, and they have a great client list.   "Could they have taken underserved to mean that they're not important?" was my colleague was asking.   I knew that the CEO was clear on what I meant by underserved, but that it's always possible the rest of the attendees could possibly interpret that word differently.

To me, underserved means exactly that:  When one is not served to one's satisfaction.   This isn't a label on the Customer. It's simply a condition. I take the risk of being underserved every time I go out to a new restaurant with my family. When I walk in the door- either due to the marketing, word-of-mouth, or simply convenience- I am hoping they'll meet my expectations.   If the food is awesome, and the service is great, I hope the next time I walk in it's will be the same.   If it's not, it would be a disappointment, and I'd scratch the place off my mental list (and Omnifocus list) of restaurants I like and refer to.

IT and technology is the same way.   There are great technicians out there- awesome ones in fact- who are personable, skilled and maybe even professional.  But what happens the next time you call and they're tied up?  What if they're trying to respond to another one of their clients while they're at your site because of exactly that?  What if you're working with an IT company- not a consultant- and get a different experience with each technician who has to learn your system all over again?   Underserved customers who depend on their IT are looking for expert technical performance, professionalism and urgency- and they want this consistently.   These are my favorite clients- because they usually don't realize that IT consultants and resellers can't serve them consistently, and they're far too small for the big 800lb gorillas of IT (IBM, etc.).   That gives my team and I the opportunity to shine.

Yesterday I met with an Interactive Agency's CEO and several key employees to listen and identify what's working and what's not working for them related to their IT.   Part of my introduction is setting a context for why I'm there, who my focus customer is, and what I want to help them accomplish, so that everyone has a common mental model and feels comfortable during the meeting.  This step makes for a much more engaging (and fun) meeting for everyone involved.  

As part of my introduction, I shared  that my focus is on customers in underserved markets.    After the meeting my team mate - who attended the meeting with me in a lead technical role - asked if that could have been misinterpreted.  This is a pretty awesome company- they attract and retain excellent employees, they're aggressive in their industry, they're success-oriented, and they have a great client list.   "Could they have taken underserved to mean that they're not important?" was my colleague was asking.   I knew that the CEO was clear on what I meant by underserved, but that it's always possible the rest of the attendees could possibly interpret that word differently.

To me, underserved means exactly that:  When one is not served to one's satisfaction.   This isn't a label on the Customer. It's simply a condition. I take the risk of being underserved every time I go out to a new restaurant with my family. When I walk in the door- either due to the marketing, word-of-mouth, or simply convenience- I am hoping they'll meet my expectations.   If the food is awesome, and the service is great, I hope the next time I walk in it's will be the same.   If it's not, it would be a disappointment, and I'd scratch the place off my mental list (and Omnifocus list) of restaurants I like and refer to.

IT and technology is the same way.   There are great technicians out there- awesome ones in fact- who are personable, skilled and maybe even professional.  But what happens the next time you call and they're tied up?  What if they're trying to respond to another one of their clients while they're at your site because of exactly that?  What if you're working with an IT company- not a consultant- and get a different experience with each technician who has to learn your system all over again?   Underserved customers who depend on their IT are looking for expert technical performance, professionalism and urgency- and they want this consistently.   These are my favorite clients- because they usually don't realize that IT consultants and resellers can't serve them consistently, and they're far too small for the big 800lb gorillas of IT (IBM, etc.).   That gives my team and I the opportunity to shine.