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“Saki” Noriaki

March 16, 2009
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The concept of (exceeding) expectations is held near and dear to us here at R/T.  Part of our brand DNA.  So we’re going old-school theory today with our good friend “Saki” Noriaki Kano – best known for the Kano model of customer satisfaction.  We discussed it at a huddle a little while back, so I thought I’d share…

Gimme more saki...

Saki Noriaki Kano

Up until the eighties, the prevailing school of thought was that to increase customer satisfaction, you simply needed to increase the performance of your product attributes.  Pick an attribute, then improve it.  Voila!  Instant increases in customer satisfaction.

But that’s when Saki came along with his new theory of differentiated expectations – he believed that performance on product attributes was not equal in the eyes of the consumer.  And it makes a lot of sense.  Saki (ok, his name’s not really Saki, I just like the sound of it) maintained that there were actually three different types of attibute factors; basic (or expected) factors, performance factors and excitement factors (unexpected).

It’s easiest to explain with an example – let’s take something fun…how about hotels.  First, you have the standard performance attributes (ie, improvements in their performance lead to increases in satisfaction, and vice versa).  This would apply to things like the wait time at check-in, the yumminess of the room service food, the cush of the bed, etc…

But, according to Saki, there are two other attribute categories as well.  First there are the baseline attributes – these include those things that are inherently expected from the product (needed just to get a seat at the industry table).  They’re not going to increase your satisfaction by being there (or performing well), but they’ll definately decrease it if they’re not.  An example might be the availability of toilet paper in the bathroom.  I won’t think twice about it…unless it’s not there.  Then my satisfaction will plummet, because my baseline expectations were not met.  Hot water (or lack thereof) fits the profile as well.

The other category is the excitement (unexpected) attributes.  These are things that aren’t expected from the product, so satisfaction isn’t affected by their lack of viability.  However, if they are there, and do perform – then you’re thrilled and satisfaction goes way up.  A good example of this might be a complimentary bottle of wine on the nightstand.  Or a TV in the bathroom.  I dove in the pool one afternoon while staying at a sweet hotel in LA and heard relaxing music underwater…that fits too.  Very nice.  My expectations were exceeded.

Anyway, cool concept.  Not all product attributes are created equal..and it has a lot to do with our expectations – something that’s good for us marketing/advertising types to keep in mind.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Crystal permalink*
    March 17, 2009 5:58 pm

    The world famous Kano model. Terrific post. We’ll see if he likes the nick name…

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