Contingent workforce program owners must continually assess the needs of their internal customers and reinvent the make-up of their service. Otherwise, stagnation sets in.

Many years ago, I came across a model that so accurately depicted my view of service delivery progress that I have adopted it ever since. Developed by Noriakai Kano in the 1980s, the model portrays the level of customer satisfaction based on three key service/product features depending on whether these features are wholly absent or present in abundance. To put these into context, I will use a hotel analogy:

  1. Must haves: Think of a bed, lighting, a door and a ceiling. These are the absolute basics. If they are absent, then customer satisfaction is at its lowest. Even if they are present in abundance, then customer satisfaction is never above neutral.
  2. More is better: Maybe this could be the number of TV channels, a variety of pillows or a selection of toiletries in the bathroom. The satisfaction line in the chart speaks for itself, showing the level of dissatisfaction is greater when these features are absent and the level of satisfaction increases the more choices the customer has.
  3. Delighters: These are the things that make you go “WOW!” You walk into the hotel lobby to check in and are greeted by name, a friendly comment regarding your last visit and a complimentary bottle of your favorite wine, which you ordered last time, waiting in your room.

However, what is considered a delighter today becomes a must have tomorrow. For example, many of us remember the days when we were delighted if a hotel had Wi-Fi and that they charged us just $20 a night to access it. Imagine the dissatisfaction today when we arrive at a hotel and they do not have complimentary high-speed broadband.

Likewise, workforce program owners must not rely on the delighters of yesterday for too long, for those delighters will eventually become the bedrock of basic service delivery.

Buyers need to challenge current and potential partners aligned to the Kano model to avoid program complacency and eventual stagnation.

Let’s set this in context.

Nothing is immune to change — be it people, fashion or even trends themselves. Indeed, during my keynote talks in 2019, I spoke about my belief that change has never happened this fast before … but also that that it would never happen as slowly again.

That was just last year, and Covid-19 propelled change further. Technology is becoming an ever more-rapidly evolving enabler of complex workforce solutions, either as stand-alone platforms or through the seamless integration of often numerous and very diverse applications.

Put simply, if you can think it, then it will likely happen … somewhen.

Throughout my 30-year career in this industry, I have endeavored to create and to provide innovative solutions to my customers while maintaining a platform of stability and basic levels of service. Believe me, that is not so simple, as innovation requires investment and changes in direction that have not always been easy or even possible. Still, it is apparent that those organizations that are adaptable in the products and services that they provide their customers are the successful ones. Many others fall by the wayside.

Never assume that future customers will be satisfied with the service offerings of yesterday and continue to push the boundaries to deliver enhanced value to the business and contribute to the achievement of enterprise-wide goals and objectives.