Identifying Your Customers


Most companies assume they know who their customers are, and they are probably right. But there are degrees of knowledge here and the greater the knowledge, the better your chances of satisfying customer requirements. The better you understand your customers, the more likely you are to satisfy their requirements.


1.       Xerox segments customers according to their industry, environment, geography, and business need, then maps that information back to Xerox's core competencies.

  • The process involves lengthy discussions with cus­tomer groups.
  • Xerox listens to their requirements and checks to make sure it has heard them accurately.
  • The process also involves market analy-sis, to understand the general field Xerox is competing in, the problems people have, and the ways in which Xerox can help solve them.
  • The goal is to find the best synergy between where the customers have problems and where Xerox's competence lies. Xerox has positioned itself as The Document Company to help customers better manage their documents and in­formation.


2.       One of Xerox's core competencies is understanding document tech-nology: how it is formed, developed, used, revised, thrown away, collabo-rated on, and so forth. Another core competency is work flow.

  • These core competencies, combined with the customers' need to improve their work processes, revealed the "sweet spot": helping customers improve their in­formation f!ow for work processes that are document intensive.
  •  "We're about helping people solve productivity problems or take advantage of marketplace opportunities, and our focus is on document-intensive work processes”.says Sam Malone, director of quality services. "That gives us the shape of the market we are after."


3.       Xerox's process for identifying its customers and market segments gives it great insight and flexibility.

  • Rather than fail into the trap of as-suming it knows who its customers are, it searches for needs that it is well suited to meet, then verifies the validity of those needs and the promise of the market as it talks and listens to its potential customers.
  • Getting close to customers, talking and listening, checking, verifying, testing—the dialogue is endless, and priceless. There is no other way to know your customers.