Interview with Ric Merrifield – Who is our ideal customer? (Part 2 of 3)
- November 11, 2010
Note: This is part 2 of CiviCore Principal Charles Naumer’s interview with Ric Merrifield. See Part 1 for more information on this interview. For more on Ric Merrifield’s work, http://www.rethinkbook.com
One of the questions that Ric posed to me during our chat was “Who is your ideal customer?” This is a question that we have thought about a lot. So, it didn’t take me by surprise but always causes me to re-evaluate our beliefs as a company. In the context of my conversation with Ric, and his focus on core business processes, the question caused me to evaluate our answer against the premises of his work. Ric’s approach fits a mission driven organization, such as CiviCore, very well. My initial reaction to this question is to think about the clients that we have created the most value for and to try and identify the commonalities across those client relationships. Additionally, as a social mission driven organization, we like to ask the question “where do we feel we make the greatest social impact?”
In the context of Ric’s work, we believe that the types of organizations we create the most value for are organizations that have a clear view of their unique value proposition. Once we understand our client’s value proposition we are able to customize our software to help our clients become more efficient and effective. This customization process allows our clients to continue to be innovative in the way they serve their clientele and provides a path forward allowing software to adapt to the evolution of their organization.
We believe that the value proposition that Ric discusses doesn’t only apply to individual organizations, it may also apply to networks of organizations. An area CiviCore has been able to create great value is by working with multi-affiliate groups. CiviCore works with multi-affiliate groups to understand core processes across their network and identifies common functionality shared by all affiliated organizations. Shared work processes and data elements are also identified to support the network’s activities. In this way, CiviCore works with networks of organizations to provide them with software customized to their unique needs and provides a way for costs to be shared among affiliate organizations.
Our experience has been that by customizing our application platform to provide our clients with solutions that fit their specific needs our clients are better able to achieve their mission and grow as an organization. It is very gratifying for us to hear from our customers once we have finished customizing an application that it is “exactly what they need” and for them to say “you get us – you get what we are trying to do”. These are the types of comments that really make us feel as if we are on the right track and that we are helping our clients to make a difference.