The notion that you have a “customer” may seem odd to many in the military, but there is always someone who benefits from the tasks you perform, the products or services you provide, or the information you deliver. The purpose of virtually every job in a business is to satisfy a need of an external customer (someone who purchases or uses your products or services) or an internal customer (someone in the company who benefits from the work you perform).
It may take a little creative thinking on your part to identify your customers in the military, but here are two questions that can help:
- Who benefits when you perform your tasks?
- Who would be negatively affected if you did NOT perform your tasks well?
Who are your customers?
If you work in a mail room, a supply facility, or an ammunition depot, your customers are the people who receive the letters and packages you process or the people who use the fuel, equipment, ammunition or other goods you issue.
If you work in a personnel or finance office, your customers are the Service members who get paid on time, whose files you maintain, and who contact you when they need help resolving a problem.
If you work in a health care facility, from a sick bay or medical clinic to a major hospital, your clients are patients and their family members.
If you work as an assistant of any rank – from an enlisted chaplain’s assistant to the Executive Officer of a major command or ship – your client is the superior officer or NCO whose success you help ensure.
If you work in a maintenance shop, your customers are the Service members who drive, pilot, operate, utilize, or otherwise benefit from the vehicles, aircraft, weapons systems, or other equipment you maintain.
Your customers are also the people for whom you prepare reports, recommendations, intelligence updates, briefings, or budgets, and they are the people who use the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) you develop.
Sometimes, your customers are members of the public you interact with or protect.
If you are a member of an infantry squad or the crew of a bomber or a ship, your “clients” also include the Soldiers, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, Airmen, and Sailors who rely on you to do your job correctly every time, all the time.