Kano Model: Addressing the Musts, Wants and Exciters in Service Today

We provide customer service and our customers are happy that we have the service’, a Service Director 5 years back would be proud of his own accomplishments, his team’s efforts and the company culture. However today, the same company with the same offering will struggle to satisfy the customer’s basic needs, retain customers and be competitive in the market. One way to understand What Delights Customers is to use the Kano Model.

The Kano Model as illustrated above has two extremes of a product or service features on the horizontal axis- Not implemented and Fully Implemented. On the Vertical Axis is Customer Satisfaction Extremes- Satisfied and Dissatisfied. The red, purple and green shows the musts, wants and exciters for the customers. A must have to be met while increasing the wants beyond a certain level will make customers happy linearly whereas exciters increase customer delight exponentially.

Let us first try to understand the Kano Model from an everyday example. In 2010, a mobile with a large screen along with a good resolution was a customer delight. If you increased the quality of the screen, the customers became more and happier. Fast forward to 2012, HTC Droid DNA was released with a 1080p display and then every mobile phone manufacturer started producing phones with a 1080p display. Fast forward to 2015, no one would buy a phone with anything less than Full High Definition screen and it became a basic need. Not having a basic need fully implemented leads to a dissatisfied customer. Moral of the Model: Delights become basic needs over time and companies have to figure new delights to keep customers excited and happy.

How basic needs(musts) work differently from exciters is not having exciters will lead to a neutral customer and implementing it will increase the customer’s delight. On the other hand, with a basic need(must), not having it can kill your brand, product or service. To put it in another way, your service must need the customer’s basic needs for you to remain in business while you should start working on delighters to differentiate from your competitors. An example of a basic need is customer care that answers within a reasonably short amount of time, in a polite manner and knows the basics of the product or service they are providing support for. Remember how quickly you hung up on that airline support who was rude to you and been booking with the rival airlines all your life?

Good Service in the B2B area half a decade back implemented was a delighter for the customer. As companies continuously improved their service the customer delight increased but also customer expectations increased. Having your service workforce address a complaint within a few hours was once a delight is a basic need today. Most companies have adopted automated replies communicating the time the customer must expect a reply in. Interactive Manuals and Websites for troubleshooting has been a basic need for most service companies whereas some are striving to please through the use of AR/VR tools.

Ask a customer twice about the problem or don’t remember what you fixed the last time? Prepare to lose the customer at the blink of an eye. Centralising all information systems from the customer service desk to the on-site field workforce has become of utmost importance with B2C companies setting amazing customer experience examples. If you can’t deliver a spare within the right amount of time, someone somewhere will before you. With today’s search engines, 1 day across the globe shipping and alternate parts market, you have to make sure to provide the right customer experience at every step of the customer’s journey.

Is your service department meeting the basic needs or delighting the customers? Use the Kano Chart to map out your organisation’s service prowess and comment below as to what you think are delighters in your service today.