In the work I do I have a drawing that illustrates an important element of what might be thought of as Customer DNA.   Here’s an example of it.

Before I go any further, let me say this: This is a church illustration that is totally true of other organizations.  So hang with me and see how it applies to you!

What’s it mean?  The idea is that the circle represents everyone who considers this particular church to be their church…even if they only attend on Easter.  The square represents the really connected insiders.  One of the important DNA markers for the really connected insider is that if something happens to one of them, someone else will know right away.  Another marker is that there is someone who is helping to develop or coach them from a spiritual standpoint.

Now, here are a couple insights about the difference between the people who are in the square and those who are in the circle.  First, if you ask the people in the square who are their 10 best friends, 8 or 9 of them will also be inside the square.  Conversely, if you ask the people in the circle the same question, generally only 1 or 2 of their best friends will even be in the circle.  This is a significant understanding about the way organizations operate.  Think about the implications!  Need a couple?

  • If you are attempting to grow by word of mouth you will have to figure out a way to keep your really connected insiders engaged in the business of developing connections with people who are at least outside the square.
  • Your best chance at reaching new customers is to focus on helping the people who are still in contact with people who are not yet in the circle!

How does this apply to your organization?  One way might be a different view of meeting the needs/wants of the 20% who are in the box.  If you focus your customer service efforts there, you’ll certainly be taking care of the group that pays the bills.  But, if you do that without a plan to help the 80% move further in from the edges…

I started thinking about this today after I read Valeria Maltoni’s post on the value of a happy customer.  Obviously, she’s writing from the perspective of focusing the efforts of your sales force on the right customers.  Interesting to think about how this applies across the missions or purposes of organizations.

The Needs/Wants of the 20%