Ever wondered what it is that makes a highly successful business? Some experts would have you believe you have really got to push your product or service. What if your product or service pulled customers to you?
If your product or service is a mouth-watering proposition, one that give customers the WOW! factor that could pull customers in. Just like the slice of Black Forest gateaux above that keeps pulling me back to a certain hotel when I’m in their vicinity.
But first, a tale of three retailers that starts with the sad events surrounding British Home Stores (BHS) who are no longer on UK high streets. In some way they were not giving customers what they wanted and certainly no WOW! factor. Next consider the Co-op who have recently rebranded. By going back to their previous logo it is possibly going back to giving customers more of what they were known for instead trying to be the same as all the other retailers in their sector. Finally, there is Tiger, a new entrant to the UK retail sector who is giving customers a unique take on retail with their products, namely fun!
At this point we’ll introduce the diagram below that might give you a way to position these three retailers and challenge you to think about your products or services in a new way. It’s called the Kano model.
BHS is an example of going out of business. It shows what can happen if you don’t meet customers expected needs, which they don’t tell you about. They assume you will deliver it, like working brakes on a car. Going out of business can also happen if you don’t deliver enough what customers say they want, like a Bluetooth® connection for hands-free use of your mobile phone in your car. There is an element in this more is better about keeping up with the competitors in the marketplace.
By going back to their previous logo, perhaps the Co-op is signalling a return their roots as a community-focused business with high ethical standards. One assumes that this is what customers have told them that they value them for and want more of. It is a spoken need.
Finally, it would be surprising if customers told Tiger that they wanted their retail experience to be fun. However, Tiger chose to difference themselves by introducing the fun element into their offering. In the same way Sony chose to product the original personal cassette player and the various smartphones were not asked for by customers, but introduced to give a competitive edge, a Wow! factor even. The fact that Apple, Inc. are turning in astonishing financial success should tell you all you need to know about being different.
The Kano diagram also illustrates the point that no business can stand still. There is a life cycle for products and services driven by familiarity and the take up by competitors that inexorably drives from exciting through more is better to must be. It should be a stark warning that complacency could be fatal for your business. Three questions to ask yourself about your business however large or small.
1. What’s my must-be quality? (It’ll be unspoken)
2. How am I on bells and whistles? (They’ll tell you about these)
3. What’s my Wow! factor? (They’ll know it when they see it!)