3 Must-Have Features To Improve Customer Happiness

This week’s Quick Tip comes to you from my business partner, Bernie Heer.

I read an article recently about Dr. Noriaki Kano – professor emeritus of the Tokyo University of Science – who researched how various product features affect customer happiness.

I think his work has direct bearing on your business.

Dr. Kano identified three types of features that impact your relationship with your prospects and customers.

A “hygienic” feature is a must-have. Customers not only expect these attributes, they depend on them — for example, the ability to reliably make calls on a mobile phone.

NOTE:  The mistake a lot of companies make is thinking a basic feature is a delighter.

The second type, a “linear” feature, is one the user expects but more of that feature increases satisfaction — greater battery life on your mobile phone would be a good example.

A “delightful” feature is an attribute of the product that customers love but do not expect — for example, having great new apps that you can use on your phone.

Let me give you a personal example…

Earlier this year I reserved a hotel through Booking.com.  This was the first time I’d used them.

I found their website to be very user friendly and the process to open an account was easy.  In the Kano model, this is a hygienic – or basic – feature.  Any internet-based company that’s worth a darn has a well-designed, easy-to-use website.  It’s a necessity in order to survive.

What I noticed on booking.com was that finding and comparing hotels was simple.  Compared to other sites I’ve tried – like Travelocity or Trip Advisor – the information I was looking for was all right there.   That made me like them even more.

This is a linear feature, according to Kano—something that users expect, but that can be delivered with quality in order to increase satisfaction.

Once I’d completed the checkout process on booking.com, a message popped up saying that I had been randomly selected to get the bargain of the day, and they gave me $100 off of my booking.

That was a delighter.  I certainly didn’t expect to get this AND I was very pleased with it.

Now, I’m pretty sure that everyone who books for the first time through booking.com is “randomly selected” to win the bargain of the day.  I’m not that gullible.  But still, it worked and I was unexpectedly pleased!

So how does this concept translate to you?

Take a look at your basic (hygienic) processes – contacting you, gathering initial prospect information, making appointments, and so forth – and make sure they are user friendly for the prospect.

For better or worse, mostly contractors handle these basic processes poorly.  Those that handle them well tend to think they are the delighters.  This is the mistake that Dr. Kano talks about.

Review your linear features – the proposal and informational materials that you provide prospects, the information you provide about the services that you’ll be delivering, and your processes for delivering your services.  Make sure you approach these from the client’s perspective and develop workflows and processes to deliver these in a better way.

Then think about what you could do to surprise and delight your prospects and clients.

At the Builder’s Show in January, I was talking to the Cutco knife rep and she said that some contractors give clients a gift of their knives as a mid-project gift.  I’m sure you know that, in a big project, there’s a major dip in enthusiasm right about the time that the sheetrock goes up.  David Lupberger, who’s a consultant to the home remodeling industry, has a great piece called “The Homeowner’s Emotional Rollercoaster.”  Email him at david@davidlupberger.com and he’ll send you a copy.  You can also visit his website at www.remodelerforce.com.

I think a mid-project gift for your clients would be a great delighter.  It could be a set of knives, or it could be dinner for four at a nice restaurant, a nice houseplant, the options are endless.

Another thought would be to throw in a nice “extra” right after you get the job.  A remodeler could throw in a beautiful tile design over the stove, for instance.

Give some thought to this model for customer happiness.  It’ll be time well spent.

You Won’t Drift to Success©

Think about it.

Until Next Time, I Wish You Much Success

Mike Jeffries

Categories: Content Marketing, Contractor Sales/Marketing Case Studies
Written by Bernie Heer

Bernie is the creator of the Construction Profit Zone System.
You can follow him at Google+

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