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Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

3. Quality: Customer Segmentation

Customer segments are groups of individuals, part of the overall customer base of a business or organization, that have similar characteristics; and specific needs, requirements, and expectations that are distinct from other customer segments.

Bill Harreld:
The way to understand the needs [and] requirements of a… customer is by interviewing the customer and understanding them. A direct contact, a one-on-one contact, and discussing their business, understanding their business, and understanding what they need from the Council to be successful in their business.

The way we understand customer [segments] is to understand that organization in depth, understand…each customer's organization, and the internal segments within that customer. So we must learn to know and understand each of our customer organizations.

Customer segments are used to target marketing resources. A business can most effectively promote existing products and services; or design new products and services when the needs, requirements, and expectations of a customer segment are understood.

Bill Harreld:
We need that in depth [to] understand their needs, their requirements, and their expectations of each segment. And then design and market and promote and deliver those needs, requirements, and expectations, deliver them to them. So we really need to understand them very, very well.

If I take the Council for individuals with developmental disabilities, we need to understand there's a broad range… of disabilities, and therefore we need to understand that range. We would apply only the product that is necessary for that particular individual. So we need to segment in accordance of who our customers are, and then back that down to the people that provide those results for us to make certain we're getting exactly what the needs, requirements, and expectations of our customers are.

Let's take the area of employment. It's one [thing] to understand what our persons with developmental disabilities, for example, need to do…to do interviewing, to show their strengths as they go to interview with… an employer. It's also important for the employers to understand the individual that they're interviewing, so that that comes together, and understand what requirements they have, and maybe even how to segment their skills and abilities they're looking for.

Because most employers have a team environment, and it's same that employees work… in a team environment. And different skills can be selected, and different employees selected, and brought together as a team …just because we look at the individual skills.

So our needs, requirements, and expectations of the human resource department of an employer might be directly related to some of the things we're working with our candidates to be employees

A new product or service is created by looking at the needs, the requirements and the expectations of a customer. Or there can be an emerging new kind of a design that we put together. So we design that process from the very beginning. We decide we have a result we wish, and then back down to starting, "Okay, how do we do this?" And we move through, and that's creating the new design. A new product is often the result of emerging requirements in the industry or a particular customer.

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The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center, the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001MNSCDD-03, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

This website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL),  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $1,120,136.00 with 83 percent funded by ACL/HHS and $222,000.00 and 17 percent funded by non-federal-government source(s). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.