While several drivers can help lead to customer experience improvement, the Kano Model encourages CX professionals to consider how their company’s products and services relate to customers’ needs. In particular, the Kano Model emphasizes the need to pay special attention to three areas:
- Must-have elements that are fundamental requirements for delivering the product or service.
- Performance attributes that can boost customer satisfaction by offering bigger, better or faster.
- Qualities, properties or attributes that serve as “Delighters” that go beyond the customer’s expectation.
Many companies, however, focus on improving performance attributes to boost customer satisfaction, with the idea that more is always better. But the Kano Model states that the attributes that most profoundly influence customer satisfaction and lead to customer experience improvement are actually must-haves and delighters. The presence of a must-have attribute will do nothing to raise customer satisfaction, as it is expected to be there, but its absence will lead to customer dissatisfaction. Meanwhile, a delighter will lead to higher satisfaction, but its absence will not lead to dissatisfaction because it was never expected.
As an example, in the context of a Kano analysis, think about these three categories in the context of customer experience when one checks into a hotel room:
- Must-have attributes are things like a bed, hot water in the shower, and clean sheets. If these are missing, all the perks in the world won’t lead to anything more than a one-star review.
- Performance attributes are things like a bigger room, a larger TV, or an expensively tiled shower stall. Definitely nice to have, but many of your customers wouldn’t notice, care, or miss it if it was different.
- Delighters are things like a complimentary bottle of wine waiting in the hotel room when you check in. A welcome surprise!
Keep in mind that these attributes aren’t static. What might once have been a delighter, such as free Wi-Fi at our hypothetical hotel, is now standard in almost every motel, vacation house, campground and hostel, becoming a must-have attribute in the process.