Lance B. Coleman

Senior Quality Engineer

February 02, 2015

The Customer Driven Organization: Employing the Kano Model

Why is meeting customer needs no longer enough? In an expanding global economy with international competition, meeting customer needs is simply not enough. Meeting customer needs leads to customer satisfaction but does not lead to customer loyalty, which is what keeps companies in business.

Delighted customers however, are loyal customers. The Kano Model developed by Noriaki Kano describes delightful performance as that which surprises and excites the customer in addition to meeting their basic needs. In order to “delight” a customer, an organization or individual must become aware of not just what is asked for, but rather what is needed. They have to look to the future as inspiration for innovation today.

Quotes from two of our greatest innovators born almost 100 years apart would tend to agree. Steve Jobs is known to have often said, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Henry Ford is reported to have said, “..if I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.”

Providing delightful service is more than just a nice thing to do, it is an imperative for business/professional survival both for the organization and the individual. What I have tried to share with the reader in The Customer Driven Organization: Employing the Kano Model, was threefold : why a philosophical paradigm shift is required to provide truly delightful service, how to practically apply the concepts espoused by the Kano model and finally, why one should care to do so.

West's contract manufacturing team is always working to achieve superior customer service. We are known throughout our industry for it. I had the opportunity to attend the annual CMNA corporate meeting at the Wigwam Resort her in Phoenix for the first time this year. A repeated theme at this year’s CMNA meeting was  cross functional focus on how we can continue to improve, stay ahead of our competitors, anticipate our customers’ future needs, while continuing to excel in meeting their current needs.  In other words, how to provide “delightful” service to our customers as explored and explained by the Kano Model.