Helmut König – More enthusiasm in the customer relationship

Helmut König
Helmut König, management consultant: "Have you ever shopped in your own store?" Image:© Königskonzept

Production processes are well organized in most companies. This is necessary so that products can be manufactured efficiently and cost-effectively. This is also feasible because these processes always run the same way. Processes in dealing with customers are not always the same and accordingly often poorly organized.

Sometimes these processes have been created historically, sometimes they have been described in QM systems and forgotten. Rarely are they evaluated for effectiveness.

Two models are suitable for reviewing and improving organisational processes involving customers. On the one hand, there is the Kano model, which describes the areas of basic characteristics, performance characteristics and enthusiasm characteristics.

Kano model
Kano model Image:© Königskonzept

The Kano model shows that the fulfillment of the basic characteristics of the customer is a prerequisite for a product and does not yet generate any particular satisfaction. In the case of performance, satisfaction increases at a similar rate as expectations are met. However, meeting every expectation can become unprofitable.

Finally, enthusiasm is generated when services are offered that a customer does not expect. However, enthusiasm may become a basic characteristic over a period of time. While in the automotive sector, power steering was a craze a few decades ago, today it has migrated to the realm of basic features. So it makes sense to vary characteristics again and again, so that no habituation occurs.

In terms of communication with a customer, basic means politeness, performance means friendliness and enthusiasm means courtesy. Everyone knows what rudeness does to a customer relationship.

Generally, there is now a view in companies that all processes are well set up and customer-oriented. It is only in other industries, with which one has to do privately or in business, that grievances are noticed. Something like this can be illustrated with a simple model, almost everyone has been in a restaurant:

Processes in and around the restaurant
Processes in and around the restaurant
Image:© Königskonzept

In a restaurant, various processes take place during a customer visit. Surely every observer can think of a way to change an area to create customer delight. Surely every viewer has also experienced in reality how enthusiasm has been generated in a certain process in or around a restaurant.

But can such a situation be transferred to your own business processes? Here’s a quote to that effect from a lecture using a pharmacy as an example: in response to the pharmacists’ statement that such a situation could not be transferred to a pharmacy, the speaker replied, “Have you ever shopped at your pharmacy?”

Almost no one shops in their own store and therefore almost no one knows exactly how well their processes are received by the customer. Many companies work with mystery shoppers to get more clarity on this. Examining and improving one’s own customer-related processes is an essential approach to customer care, customer enthusiasm and thus customer acquisition.