How To Delight And Surprise Your Customers

Have you ever wondered why customers choose your product over someone else? Have you ever wondered why they keep using your product? Have you ever wondered why they stop using your product and start using your competitor’s product? Have you ever wondered how you could get them back? If so, read on.

The Kano model is a theory of product development. it is a framework that allows Product Managers identify how customers feel about certain features. It helps determine how much customer satisfaction each feature provides compared to what type of feature it is and how well it’s executed. The Kano model also helps determine what an organization should work on next. There are three principles of the Kano model.

  1. Value attracts customers
  2. Quality keeps customers and builds loyalty
  3. Innovation differentiates an organization and keeps it competitive

The Kano model is a simple X and Y axis. The X axis measures how well the product has or has not met the the customer’s needs. The Y axis measures from low to high satisfaction. Along the X and Y axis, the Kano model measures several categories of products. The categories are Basic, Satisfiers, and Delighters.

  • Basic benefits and features are ones which customers expect as part of the value proposition. Customers will be unhappy if their pains/needs are not met as part of the Basic offering
  • Satisfiers are used by customers to judge an organization’s product or service against others. An organization’s customer satisfaction in relation to these Satisfiers are in direct proportion to how an organization execute its Satisfiers
  • Delighters are features that unexpectedly surprise and delight customers. These are differentiators from an organization’s competition

A Product Manager should focus on delivering Basic features for new products. In subsequent releases, a Product Manager can focus on delivering Satisfiers and Delighters. A product can have Basic features without Satisfiers and Delighters but a product should not have Satisfiers and Delighters without Basics. Without Basics, customers won’t use the product even if there are great Satisfiers and Delighters. The customer expects the product to match what the value proposition is offering. Once a Product Manager has added features as Satisfiers and Delighters to a product, the features will only stay as Satisfiers or Delighters for a period of time because over time customers will get used to these features, begin to expect them, which will move the products into teh Basics range.


I’ll share a personal shopping experience with you to illustrate my point. Imagine if you went to purchase something online. Most people expect an ecommerce store to have a have a dedicated shop page, a page for each product, details about the product on the product page, shipping information, privacy policy, terms and conditions, return policy and some may of paying. All of these features would be considered Basic within the framework of the Kano model.

Imagine if, after spending time choosing a product, adding it to the cart, entering all your payment details you receive a message saying this can only be shipped to customers in the United States and you happen to be in another country. Or, even worse, paying for the product and tracking it’s shipping history only to have customs stop it and the ecommerce store owner having to give you a refund. This is exactly what happened to me when I tried to buy a larger battering for my mobile phone. Not happy.

To give you an example of being delighted and surprised. On a whim I went into a electrical appliance store wanting to buy some wireless headphones to use while I’m in the gym. The sales guys was very pleasant and very knowledgeable about all the products. After purchasing the headphone I went home, installed the app and tried them out.

The look and feel were great. The app was easy to use and had some cool features to either block out surrounding noise or let it in while also playing music. Hearing like that for the first time is a strange sensation. The app had a couple of other unexpected features like white noise, rain, thunderstorm, find my headphones, etc. But the Delight and Surprise can from the actual sound quality which I can only describe as astonishing. After playing around with the settings and a couple of different songs I was able to make it sound like there was an orchestra in my head as opposed to “somewhere in front of me” if that makes sense. The company reached out to me as part of their customer service and my reply was, please make the battery life longer so I can wear these headphones all day.


The Kano model is a great tool that allows Product Managers to gauge how their product compares to the rest of the market and whether or not the benefits and features being delivered are not meeting, meeting or delighting and surprising their customers. Used in combination with other product management techniques it will help a Product Manager decide what not to build and what to build next.

If you found this blog helpful, feel free to reach out or comment below.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published.