Skip to main content

Customer service is key.

Thinkstock Images/Getty Images/Comstock Images

We're often told that to delight customers, we need to under-promise and over-deliver. But consultant Wally Bock, on the Three Star Leadership Blog dismisses that shibboleth as dishonest and demotivating because it lowers the bar for your performance, and ineffective because it misconstrues the quality that people seek.

Instead, he points to three important kinds of quality you must meet, which were identified by customer satisfaction expert Noriaki Kano, professor emeritus at the Tokyo University of Science:

Basic quality: This is what customers expect but don't ask for because they assume they'll get it – such as a car having brakes that work. Mr. Bock suggests that an auto company trying to make the best brakes in the industry won't get many more customers or profit, since effective brakes are a basic for all cars.

Story continues below advertisement

Performance quality: These technical features, such as fuel economy, are often asked for by customers and can differentiate your company from the others. Increased investment in fuel economy can pay off on the bottom line.

Excitement quality: It helps if you can add some features that surprise and delight customers. A built-in GPS system that gives gas station locations as well as gas prices might just be the ticket. Excitement quality drives positive word of mouth – and sales.

"Protect yourself by delivering the basics that your customers expect, but don't invest too much in them. Invest time and effort and money in delivering on performance dimensions that are meaningful to your customer. And provide little extras that delight to drive positive word of mouth," Mr. Bock concludes.

Report an error
About the Author
Management columnist

Harvey Schachter is a Kingston, Ont.-based writer specializing in management issues. He writes Monday Morning Manager and management book reviews for the print edition of Report on Business and an online column, Power Points. More

Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.