The Kano Model

The Kano Model is an approach to prioritizing features into five categories based on the degree to which they are likely to satisfy customers.

Dr. Noriaki Kano, a professor of quality management at the Tokyo University of Science, created the Kano Model in 1984.

The Kano model identifies five categories of customer preferences, as described by Kano.

This model identifies, categorizes, and prioritizes five types of Customer Requirements (or potential Features) for new products and services.

According to the model, there are five possible customer reactions to a new feature, from dissatisfaction to indifference to what is often called customer delight.

This dimension goes from no functionality at all (unfulfillment), to the best possible implementation (fulfillment). 

That’s why the term Investment is also very good for this concept. 

Must-be Quality: These are the basic requirements that customers expect and take for granted. When done well, customers are just neutral, but when done badly, they are very unhappy.

One-dimensional Quality: Companies compete in these attributes because they result in satisfaction when fulfilled and dissatisfaction when not fulfilled.

Attractive Quality: Since these types of attributes of quality unexpectedly delight customers, they are often unspoken and provide satisfaction when achieved fully, but do not cause dissatisfaction when not achieved.

Indifferent Quality: As these characteristics are neither good nor bad, and neither do they result in customer satisfaction nor dissatisfaction, it is generally useful to identify them in a product so that they can be suppressed, thus reducing production costs.

Reverse Quality: As long as these attributes are not there, customer satisfaction is likely to be high, so it’s a good idea to avoid them.

In general, Kano analysis identifies unspoken needs before prioritization, so it helps prioritize customer needs.

By understanding what customers consider basic, important, and desirable, companies can create products, services, and experiences that will truly satisfy them and make them loyal customers. 

Some applications of the Kano model

Product development: The Kano model can be used to identify and prioritize customer needs during the product development process. By understanding which features are considered basic, which are considered important, and which are considered desirable, businesses can develop products that truly meet customer needs.

Service design: The Kano model can also be applied in service design, to understand what customers expect from a service and how to meet or exceed their expectations.

Marketing: The Kano model can be used in market research to identify what attributes are most important to customers, and then use this information to create effective marketing messages.

Customer service: The Kano model can also be used to improve customer service by identifying which customer needs are not being met, and then taking steps to address them.

The importance of the Kano model is that it helps businesses and organizations to understand their customers’ true needs and wants, and to prioritize which features or services to develop or improve. 

Additionally, it is a tool that can help organizations to identify opportunities for innovation and differentiation from their competitors.

It is a fact of life that customers’ expectations and/or needs change over time, so this is an analysis you should never cease to conduct.

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