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Basic Business Cents: A loyal customer needs delight, not just satsifaction

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Basic Business Cents: A loyal customer needs delight, not just satsifaction
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

"Satisfying your customers is not enough. Satisfied customers will switch if a competitor offers something better. You must delight your customers so they will remain loyal" and brag about you was a message of Dr. W. Edwards Deming.

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Loyal customers will come to you if they are offered something better by a competitor and give you a chance to improve your offering of product/service. The difference between satisfied customers and loyal customers is best described by professor emeritus of the Science University of Tokyo Noriaki Kano in his work, "Attractive Quality Creation." His work of almost 20 years is summarized in the accompanying chart, above, right.

Kano uses the word neutral for what I think of as being satisfied and he uses the word delight for what Deming calls loyal. He says there are three kinds of quality - must be, more is better and delighters. Let's use the purchase of a new automobile as an example.

Good brakes are an example of "must be" quality. We expect the new car to have good brakes and if it doesn't, we will be very unhappy. If it does, so what? We expect good brakes and we are satisfied or neutral.

Gas mileage may be an example of "more is better" quality. If the mileage is very poor, we will be dissatisfied. If it is about what we expected we will be satisfied. But if the gas mileage is much better than expected, we will likely brag to our friends and colleagues.

The "delighters" are something we don't expect. And if absent, so what, we were not expecting them and we are still satisfied. But when they are present and we like them, they become something of which we are proud and want to share the good news with our friends.

An example from the original Ford Taurus was cup holders and nets in the trunk to keep grocery bags from tipping over.

Today it might be built-in global positioning unit (GPS), outside temperature gauge or back-up mirror. Note from the cup holder example, "delighters" migrate to "must be" features.

Sounds simple. All we have to do is know how to measure customer satisfaction and identify new features to delight customers. Ah, material for future columns.

Louis Schultz, managing director of Process Management LLC, has assisted organizations worldwide with performance improvement. E-mail him with questions or comments at lou@processmanagement. com.

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