Meeting Customer Needs is Not Enough

Lance B. Coleman recently published a book titled The Customer-Driven Organization: Employing the Kano Model, and I spoke with him about its content. My main question was: “Why is meeting customer needs no longer enough?” Here is his full response:

In an expanding global economy having 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. 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 for the individual. What I have tried to share with readers of my book, 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.