What is a Kano Model

The Kano model is a framework designed to prioritize features based on the degree to which they will satisfy or delighted the users. In other words, a model that helps to prioritize the features based on how much that feature will delight the users.

Kano Model is used after receiving the customer feedback (VOC). Often implemented along with QFD during Define phase of DMAIC of six sigma project.

Noriaki Kano first introduced the Kano model in Japan in 1984. He developed the model by researching the customer factors that relate to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Kano Model
Kano Model

What are the key elements that make the Kano Model effective?

The Kano model is a way of analyzing customer requirements by diagramming user’s wants across 2 axis;

The vertical axis indicates satisfaction with your output. The top of the vertical axis represents high satisfaction, and the bottom of the vertical axis represents very low user satisfaction. Similarly, the horizontal axis represents how the goals are achieved or indicates the performance of the service. Low performance indicates left-hand side, and high performance shows on the right-hand side of the horizontal axis.

Kano Model

Depending on how you perform on those axis, your clients can be classified as delighted, neutral, or dissatisfied.

When Would You Use a Kano Model?

The Kano model can be used in the manufacturing or service industry whenever the product development team prioritizes the features with limited resources and time.

  • Identify performance features
  • Include basic requirements
  • Delight the customer by introducing unexpected features
  • When have limited resource and time
  • Avoid unwanted features

5 Categories of Kano Model

3 Features to include

Dissatisfiers: The dissatisfier feature is also called “must be” or the expected basic feature. These are the basic requirements that customer expects as part of product or service. If these features existed in the product or service, customer wouldn’t be delighted, but at the same time, if these are not present, then the customer will be disappointed.

Kano Model

Example: When a customer switches on the fan in a hotel room, and if it is working, then the customer won’t even think about it. But if it is not working, then he will be disappointed.

Performance: The performance feature is also called one dimensional and desired quality feature. Increases customer satisfaction with the investment. In other words, more of the performance feature will increase customer satisfaction.

Example: Customer satisfaction proportionally will increase if you serve more varieties (with quality) in the hotel’s free breakfast.

Delighters: Delighter feature is also called latent requirements (Not basic, expected, but desirable and unexpected). Customers will not dissatisfy if they are missing. Particularly these features go beyond the immediate needs of the consumer. What is considered a delighter today may be a requirement tomorrow. Camera a feature is would be delighted at one point in time but now it a basic requirement.

Kano Model

Example: Customer will delight if you provide a free upgrade of the room or distributing complimentary toys or bags to the kids at the hotel.

2 Features to avoid

Indifferent: customer is indifferent to whether the feature exists or not. In other words, customer doesn’t care about whether they present or absent. These are unnecessarily adds the cost and risk.

Example: Costly glass flowerage placed in the hotel parking lot.

Reverse: The presence of a feature that dissatisfies the customer. In other words, enhance customer satisfaction with the absence of this feature.

Example: Customers irritating with colored LED lights placed in the hotel premises.

How could you use a Kano model to influence future strategy?

The quick evaluation of technology and change in customer needs forcing businesses to predict the requirements upfront and adapt to their operation. In fact, all the customer needs are not equal; they have different priorities and attach different meanings to these needs. So, it is the business’s responsibility to understand and predict future requirements.

Kano model helps to predict the feature requirements of the customers. The performance feature may be an undesired feature in the future, and also the delighter may become the basic requirement.

Example: CD/DVD drive in a laptop is a delighter feature one time, and then it becomes a basic requirement over time. Since customers are expecting slim laptops, nowadays, new generation laptops won’t have the CD/DVD drive in laptops as it becomes an undesired feature.

How to Build a Kano Model

Following are the five step process to build a Kano Model

Step 1: Identify the features that need to implement: Create a list of features that have to add to the product or service. In fact, these requirements come from customers, management, or the points from the team brainstorming.

Step 2: Conduct customer survey: Get the opinion on each of the features from the customers in a standardized way using two questions. The questions would be functional questions and dysfunctional questions.

  • Functional question: Ask a question how the customer would feel if the product or service had that particular feature.
  • Dysfunctional question: Ask a question how the customer would feel if the product or service did not have that particular feature.

Step 3: Categorize the response: Review the customer response of functional question and dysfunctional question for each feature. Compare the functional and dysfunctional to assess the type of requirement.

Kano Model


  • Q-Questionable
  • R-Reverse
  • I- Indifferent
  • M- Must be
  • P-Performance
  • D-Delighters

Example: Suppose if you are asking the customer about a drop-down feature in the reports to select the suppliers, and the customer responded “Expect” for functional and “Dislike” for dysfunctional, then it would be a “Must be “feature.

Step4: Analyze the data: Summarize all the responses and analyze the highest requirement for each category.

Step 5: Prioritize the features to implement:

  • First, focus on “must be” requirements that customers expect to have these features. Otherwise, they will be disappointed in their absence.
  • Then focus on performance requirements and try to include as many as you could. More performance features increase the customer satisfaction.
  • Now focus on delighter features to include based on the budget.
  • Eliminate any reverse features.
  • Finally, ignore all indifferent features as they don’t add any value.

Example of a Kano Model in a DMAIC Project

Example: XYZ is a famous corporate hospital performing the Kano model to prioritize various features based on the degree to which they will satisfy or delight the users.

Step 1: Identify the features that need to implement:

Team listed below five features to add in hospital service to enhance customer satisfaction

  • Introduce an online billing system to reduce waiting time.
  • Collect insurance process charges from customers at the time of admission for quick processing.
  • Introduce two free follow-up visits whose bill is more than 20K.
  • Install sensor lighting system for power saving.
  • Increase the number of varieties in the patient menu.

Step2: Conduct customer survey: Hospital management collected feedback on each of the features from 30 patients in a standardized way using two questions like functional questions and dysfunctional questions.

Step 3: Categorize the response: Hospital reviewed the customer response of functional questions and dysfunctional questions for each feature.

Step4: Analyze the data: Summarized all the responses received from 30 patients and analyzed the highest requirement in each category.

Step 5: Prioritize the features to implement:

  • First focus on “must be” requirements: Feature 1 and Feature 5 – It reduces the billing time and serves good food.
  • Then focus on performance requirements: Feature 5 – Customer satisfaction will increase with the number of varieties.
  • Now focus on delighter features: Feature 3- Customers delighted with free follow-up visits.
  • Eliminate any reverse features: Feature 2: Although it will reduce the processing time, customers are not ready to pay the processing charges during admission.
  • Finally, ignore all indifferent features as they don’t add any value: Feature 4- Sensor-based lighting system does not matter for the customers.

Helpful Kano Model Videos


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