Kano Model and Christian Business Ownership

The Kano model is a theory of product development and customer satisfaction developed in the 1980s by Professor Noriaki Kano, which classifies customer preferences into several categories. The core idea is that customers come to a purchase decision with certain expectations about the mix of price, feature and quality. Depending on what they find, they might become delighted, discouraged or have a neutral, “ho-hum” experience.

Fundamental (green line)

These attributes are taken for granted when fulfilled but result in dissatisfaction when not fulfilled. An example of this would be a new flat-screen TV that doesn’t contain a remote. When I was growing up, a remote was a big deal – it was an innovation that customers found exciting and new. Today, it is an expected part of the TV package. Lack of a remote will result in dissatisfaction.

Linear (light blue line)

These attributes result in satisfaction when fulfilled and dissatisfaction when not fulfilled. In the TV example, this means enjoying the latest in pixilation for High Definition. You’ll enjoy it when it’s there, but will be dissatisfied if it’s not what you expected.

Exciter (red line)

These attributes provide satisfaction when achieved fully, but do not cause dissatisfaction when not fulfilled. In the TV example, perhaps it has additional inputs that you weren’t expecting or the remote also has the feature of running your other media devices. Generally speaking, you would not have been dissatisfied if these features were not present, but you’re additionally happy if they are.

Christian Business Ownership and the Kano Model

When it comes to a customer’s perception of your business, we would suggest that when the business fulfills God’s four purposes for business (Products, Passions, Profits and Philanthrophy), that your customers will find themselves rating your business on the Delighter line rather than the other two lines. In addition, we would suggest that this “delightful innovation” would not be something that diminishes over time. Instead, their delight will remain constant because, at our base, we’re always attracted to that which God has created us for, even if we don’t know it. People will naturally be attracted to a company that balances and fulfills these four purposes because we’re always looking for that which achieves at a high level and yet doesn’t fade or spoil.

As a Christian business owner, you won’t achieve a Delighted customer base with high loyalty only through persistent innovation, as important as this is. You see, product innovation is the fulfillment of only one of the four principles. Instead, you’ll need to be succeeding on the other three as well and doing it with authenticity and transparency. Once your there, those on the outside will want to align with your company, either as customers or partners and over time, you’ll develop a strong base of Delighted supporters who are, sometimes, also customers.

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