Jack Dorsey recently blogged about how they are abandoning the term “user” in favour of “customer” at B2B mobile payments provider Square. This was a shock for me, because in all my years of being a “customer” nothing has irked me more than being considered simply and only that by the businesses behind the products and services I use.
Being a customer implies that you are nothing more than a unit of economic value to the business, a target to be fleeced of cash, a necessary inconvenience that brings little more to the table than dollars and cents. When I use products and services I generally engage with them far more than what the term “customer” implies. Not only am I a customer, for that product I am a reviewer, a quality gate, a contributor, a value creator, a proponent, a promoter, and sometimes even an evangelist. I am not just a customer. Being called a user may be vague, but at least it doesn’t obscure all this and reduce me to a mere financial incentive for the business. Now that really drives me bonkers.