Kano Model – Understanding what customers want using Kano Analysis

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Kano Model

Kano Model Analysis

The Kano Model is definitely not referred to as often as it should be as its one powerhouse tool to really drill down into customers requirements, customer demands and customer preferences. It might not identify that the customer wants a hotel room, but it will identify all the features and functions customer expect when checking into a hotel room.

Designed by Dr Noriaki Kano in the 1980’s, the Kano Analysis tool has since been adopted across a wide range of sectors and industries to support the design and development of services and products.

The Kano Model is a powerful tool to aid in the product/service design stage and is used to help identify the critical product features and service design features which will drive customer satisfaction. What Dr Nariaki Kano believed was that there were three factors or categories essential to all product/services designs that product teams need to consider.

These factors are made up of Basic, Satisfiers, and Delighter’s.
(basic attributes, performance attributes, excitement attributes)

Kano Model Framework

On the diagram above you can see that on the x-axis shows the level of different functionality and on the y-axis, you can see the level of customer satisfaction. The non-linear shape of the curve is in line with the economic theory which suggests that most people have such non-linear responses.

The idea is that we can use the framework to begin to identify how customers feel about certain features of the product or service.

A definition of the 3 main categories – MUST-HAVES, SATISFIERS and DELIGHTERS

The Kano Model Catagories


A Must-Have factor is something that a customer simply expects to be there. If it is not present, the customer will be dissatisfied or disgusted. So when looking at customer experiences, it is critical to understand what these elements are.



These are also called Performance factors. At one extreme, these can disgust if not fully implemented correctly, but they can also delight if implemented correctly Often, the more of these the better.



These are the “WOW” factors, the excitement factor, something that the customer did not expect.

Kano Model Example - Hotel Room

If we go back to the example of a hotel room, we all have clear expectations of services and products we expect to get when checking into a hotel room. We all expect clean sheets, clean towels, a bed which is made, a clean room.

But some also expect an iron and an ironing board, a TV and perhaps even a minibar and perhaps a kettle and coffee making facilities. Some might even expect a Nespresso machine, a flat-screen TV and free Wifi as a bare minimum.

So how would we begin to prioritize the features and understand how important they are for the customer? Well, this is where the Kano Model comes to life.

On the Kano Model, you can see the three categories of Must Have, Performance (Satisfiers) and Delighters. The idea therefore of the Kano Model is to begin to categorize the features customer have requested into one of these three categories.

The Kano factors are not static. They change over time as customer requirements and needs change. Free Wifi in a hotel was once a wow – today it is expected, it is a must-have (for me anyway!). Cruise control in your car was a “wow” once too – not its a Must-Have (for me anyway!).

To learn more about the Kano Model and to see some real examples, check out the video below and perhaps join  our Lean Six Sigma Course

Kano Tool - Video Introduction

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