Based on a Twitter discussion yesterday, here is a question that needs some pondering…I don’t believe the answer is either easy or evident.
Who is the school’s customer?
I ask this within the critical context of value, which by definition is viewed through the eyes of the customer. Several people responded that the customer is “the student and the parents”. I am not sure if that is a valid answer; not rejecting it, but not sure. Is that too easy? Don’t students and parents have different viewpoints? When these diverge, to which do we lean?
If we say we are “student-centric” does this mean we see students as our primary customer? If we are not “student-centric”, are we leaving our primary customer out of the value spotlight? If we are “learning -centric”, are we focused on the product and not how that product serves the needs and wants of the customer?
In a value-driven industry we MUST be “customer-centric”, but that means we have to define our customer. Are there other industries that have a hard time defining their target customer?
Is this just a good koan? Can we really serve two sets of customers with often divergent viewpoints? Perhaps there is no right answer, or perhaps we will find it with good thinking, but it sure as heck is worth some discussion!