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Know When To Hold ‘Em …. And Know When To Bloody Hug Them!

In his song, “The Gambler”, Kenny Rogers muses the importance of understanding when to play your hand and when not to. Know when to hold them, know when to fold them. But customer service isn’t that black and white.

In a club, you need to deal with the full spectrum of members. Occasionally, you’ll need to turf someone out and ban them for life. Sometimes you will treat a member like royalty. But most of the time you’ll spend delivering member services to those in the middle of the curve.

At next Tuesday’s club managers webinar - Dealing with Members (, we’ll discuss how to establish a member service mentality and approach that best positions your delivery, whilst also preparing you for those left field/difficult situations.

One of the models we will be using is the Kano Model.

The Kano model is used to gain a thorough understanding of members’ needs and translates this analysis into a clear focus on what member services should be delivered, how they should be delivered and when they should be delivered. It distils member needs and customer service into three (3) levels or areas of focus.

Determining your member’s needs can be tricky. Some club managers believe that members don’t know what they want they have to be told! The reality is that members do know what they want, but are not able to clearly describe them. By understanding the types of needs, you can uncover the true member expectations and work out how to address them.

The model involves two dimensions:

  • Execution (the horizontal axis), which ranges from the club didn’t do it at all to the club did it very well.

  • Satisfaction (the vertical axis), which goes from total dissatisfaction with the service to total satisfaction with the service.

The Kano Model isolates and identifies three levels of member expectations and what it takes to positively impact member satisfaction. It suggests members have basic (expected), performance (normal), and excitement (delighters) needs.

Basic Needs

Fully satisfying the member at this level simply puts the club on a level playing field with competitors – they are a viable player in the market. They are the entry-level expectations, sometimes referred to as the “must-have” qualities or attributes.

These expectations are also known as dissatisfiers because by themselves they don’t fully satisfy a member. However, failure to provide these basic needs will cause dissatisfaction.

Examples include attributes relative to safety, facilities, and access to standard products and services. They are defined by members’ assumptions, expected qualities, expected functions, and other unspoken expectations.

Performance Needs

These are the qualities, attributes, and characteristics that keep a club competitive and can place them higher than others in the market. These higher-level expectations are known as the wants or the satisfiers because they are the ones that members will specify or request. They can either satisfy or dissatisfy the member depending on their presence or absence.

They are sometimes referred to as the voice of the customer or spoken requirements/ expectations.

Excitement Needs

These are features and properties that make a club a leader in the market. The highest level of customer expectations, as described by Kano, is termed the delighters or wow-level qualities or attributes.

These expectations are known as the delighters or exciters because they go well beyond anything the member might imagine and ask for. Their absence does nothing to hurt a club’s standing, but their presence improves the likelihood of praise and advocacy.

Delighters not only excite customers to stay longer and buy more but makes them return in the future. These are unspoken ways of delighting the customer.

An unfortunate reality with the Kano Model and analysis is that things change over time. Delighters become Satisfiers and Satisfiers become Must-Haves. For example, free wi-fi in the club was once considered a delighter. Then it became a satisfier. Now it is a must-have.

Clubs that get ahead and stay ahead are those that constantly reflect on their members' needs and identify the next set of delighters. Finding some areas of excitement, providing plenty of performance, and covering all the basics is what it takes to become and remain a club industry leader.

If you’d like to join the Dealing with Members webinar on 30th August – 10.00 am click here, we’d love to have you there.


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