Embrace the Kano Model if you like having customers!

I had a recent discussion with fellow BETOS speaker faculty member Reagan Pannell.  We discussed the Kano Analysis Model.  This model is an underutilized tool in Lean/Six Sigma as well as strategy.  Reagan discusses the model succinctly in his article.  You’ll also find great resources for Online Lean Six Sigma Training in Europe on his website, http://www.leanscape.io/

During this discussion I reflected on real life examples of the Kano Analysis Model in real life.

This first example I’ll give is regarding my brother-in-law’s two month trip to Europe.  He describes a gentleman working a train kiosk in France.  After his attempt to use an automated machine to purchase a ticket with his credit card failed he approached this gentleman.  He was told that he would have to use the broken machine to get a ticket using his card.  Of course there was no ATM on that level.

So he pulled his luggage back up the stairs to use the ATM at the café to pull out cash.  Then he went back down the stairs, luggage in hand, to the man in the kiosk.  He handed the man in the kiosk a 20 Euro note only to learn the kiosk would only accept exact change and that the nearest place to get change was the café that had the ATM.  So back up the stairs, luggage in tow, he went. 

He described to me how many businesses during his European trip treated people like this.  While it may sound like a limited event, examining the Kano Analysis Model will shed some important light.  People expect certain things at a minimum in order to do business with you.  In the Kano Analysis Model these are known as “basic expectations.”  Failing to meet these result in customers that are very dissatisfied.  This dissatisfaction may not be limited simply not doing business with you.  This can expand into people that work actively against your business.

In the example above I would say that the man in the kiosk lack basic human empathy which I would say is a “basic expectation.”  Having heard his story I am now much less likely to visit, and spend my money, in Europe. 

A personal example from my home, the USA, regards the hotel industry.  I do not particularly enjoy business travel, but travel I must.  At my peak I traveled 40 weeks per year.  Thankfully I’ve enjoyed a couple of years of limited travel.  I’ve been able to spend most of my time in lovely Colorado.

One of the perks of business travel is the accumulation of rewards points and not blocking my Wi-Fi hotspot.  Most of us that travel for business would call these “basic expectations.”  When I first started traveling for work I used Marriott properties exclusively.  That changed in 2014 during the Marriott Wi-Fi scandal.  That scandal cost Marriott $600,000 in direct fines and untold expenses in lost revenues.  I was one of them.  I switched to Hilton properties and never gave it a second thought…until I started traveling again. 

I’d stayed a couple of weeks at a Hilton property in Orlando for a business trip.  Now that I am preparing to go on an epic California Jeep expedition I decided it was time to use some of my outrageous number of Hilton points.  So I logged in to see what I could get.

It turns out that my points were locked because I hadn’t stayed there in a year.  To make matters worse I wasn’t earning points on my most recent stays because I didn’t book directly through Hilton.  Mind you, I am required to use a third party booking engine per my employer.  To further add insult to injury Hilton offered to return my points to me for $250.  This one interaction took me from very satisfied with Hilton…frankly singing their praises…to very dissatisfied with them. 

People who are very dissatisfied with your business are more likely to express their dissatisfaction on social media for the world to see.  Perhaps they’ll even write a blog post about it.  I am no different.  I took my gripe to Facebook.  I was surprised by the comments I received.  100% of my friends and family agreed with me that I am a bonehead for staying loyal to Hilton.  The overwhelming consensus is that Hilton has lost their way and are no longer a viable option for frequent travelers.  100% of the respondents recommended Marriott properties.  Perhaps it is time for me to forgive Marriott for the Wi-Fi scandal.  I can tell you this for sure, I’ll not be staying at a Hilton property for a long-long time.

This brings me back to the Kano Analysis Model article written by Reagan Pannell.  The true cost or benefit of customer satisfaction is difficult to measure, but it must be taken seriously.  Very satisfied customers are a great source of marketing.  They’ll sing your praises and drive additional revenue to you in ways that even the best marketers cannot match.  Similarly very dissatisfied customers will actively work against you.  This is something that is easy to learn and apply in your business or your country.   I highly recommend all decision makers to become familiar with the model.  If you need Online Lean Six Sigma Training in Europe, such as the Kano Analysis Model, then I recommend working with Reagan.

About the author:

Attila Dobai is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Project Management Professional (PMP). He holds an Advanced Master’s Certificate from Villanova University in Lean Six Sigma with a special concentration in Business Analytics and Business Intelligence.

He has 14-years of experience in a Fortune 500 business leading international continuous improvement projects, programs, and portfolios. He has been interviewed as a thought leader and written about continuous improvement in media such as the Gemba Academy podcast and the Colorado Springs Business Journal.

He is a member of the BTOES speaker’s faculty and will present at BTOES in March of 2019 regarding operationalizing innovation.

Attila is available for comment on continuous improvement, business intelligence and analytics, and strategy execution. He can be reached by email: Attila@Dobai.com or by visiting Dobai.com.