Effective Solutions Through Partnership

How to Prioritize Customer Satisfaction Using Lean Six Sigma Tools

Continuous Improvement, KAIP Academy, Lean Six Sigma, Learning, Sacramento, Training

By Ashley Christman, LSS MBB, SSBBP, CSM

Creating products and services that satisfy our customers is why we’re in business. But products are only as good as the customer’s experience—how our product, and by extension, our brand, makes them feel. In fact, Walker Consulting predicts that experience will be the key differentiator by 2020. Not the price nor the product itself—the better experience you deliver, the higher customer satisfaction.

So, how do you measure satisfaction? How do you know what products or services to provide in order to deliver the best customer experience? How do you go beyond customer satisfaction to delighting the customer?

To deliver value to your customer, you need to know who your customer is and what their needs are. More importantly, you must understand what will dazzle them.

One way of figuring out what makes them go “Wow!” is through the Kano model. The Kano model is a tool created by Dr. Noriaki Kano in the 1980s. The model was designed to be a dynamic tool showing the path through customer satisfaction from meeting the minimum requirements to the ‘Wow!’ factor.

Originally created for product development, it can be applied to just about anything to get to the heart of customer satisfaction.

In its original form, the Kano model allows for visual modeling of the customer requirements as it relates to their satisfaction level. The point is to move beyond functionality and tap into emotions—in other words, the customer’s experience.


Kano Model, Source: http://www.six-sigma-material.com/images/Kano.GIF

An easier way to work through this doesn’t necessarily involve using a matrix, but rather a simple table. In my Lean Six Sigma classes, we work through this model in order to understand how we can shift from merely satisfying a requirement to crafting a complete user experience.

For example: Say you are an organizer putting together an educational conference and you want to ensure attendees are likely to register for the event again. Using feedback from the year before, you know that attendees identified that they enjoyed the topical agenda, that parking was available, and that meals were provided.

By using this model, we know that to impress attendees and succeed in getting them to register for the event again, we not only need to meet their basic requirements, but exceed them.

In the table below, the first column represents what level of satisfaction your customer may currently feel. The second column shows what items create that level of satisfaction.


A Basic level of satisfaction means that minimum requirements are met, but are not necessarily anything that is going to have your customer coming back to you over and over again.

Better and Delighter (or, Wow!) levels of satisfaction identify ways you can improve to really impress your customers. Ultimately, customer satisfaction is determined by the customer experience—and the Kano model can help any industry to find the best way to ‘Wow!’

Interested in learning more about the Kano model and other tools to improve your customers’ experience and satisfaction? Join our next Lean Six Sigma Green Belt class at the KAIP Academy.

About the Author: Ashley Christman is a former nurse and Certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt with a background in organizational change management and Lean. Her extensive experience in healthcare quality and performance improvement has transformed a number of organizations and led to better outcomes in patient care, reductions in wait times, and more. Her experience includes consulting for the CA Department of Public Health as well as multiple large hospital systems, including Santa Rosa Memorial and Petaluma Valley Hospital. Her passion for improvement and educating others led her to begin teaching in order to help entrepreneurs, professionals, and leaders create a sustainable culture change by empowering them to be change agents and champions of innovation. You can find her online at @learnlivelean on Twitter and on LinkedIn.

2 Comments

  1. Debbie

    April 15, 2019 8:06 pm

    This link does not work. ” An easier way to work through this doesn’t necessarily involve using a matrix, but rather a simple table. In my Lean Six Sigma classes,”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*