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Kano Model

Kano Model Definition

The Kano Model is a framework used to prioritize product features based on the perceived value they deliver to users and their potential impact on customer satisfaction.

What is the Kano Model?

Born in the backdrop of the 1980s Japanese industrial boom, where there was a pressing need for a differentiated approach to product development amidst fierce competition, Professor Kano introduced this model as an answer to that challenge. This context greatly influenced its foundational principles, emphasizing the unique needs and desires of consumers. It operates on the principle that certain features have a higher impact on customer satisfaction than others, and understanding this differentiation aids in creating products that resonate with users.

The model classifies product features into various categories, aiming to help teams discern which features will be truly impactful, which are merely expected, and which could be detrimental if implemented poorly.

Types of Product Features in the Kano Model

At the core of the Kano Model are the distinct classifications of product features:

  • Basic Needs: These are the features that customers expect. Their absence may lead to dissatisfaction, but their presence doesn’t necessarily increase satisfaction. The psychology behind this is rooted in the fundamental human need for functionality and reliability. For instance, a smartphone has a calling feature.
  • Performance Needs: Features that are directly correlated with customer satisfaction. The better they perform, the more satisfied customers become. For example, battery life in smartphones.
  • Delighters: Unexpected features that, when present, can significantly boost customer satisfaction but, if absent, won’t cause dissatisfaction. An example might be a unique camera effect in a smartphone.

Kano Model Examples

Online Shopping Platform

  • Basic Need: Secure payment gateway.
  • Performance Need: Fast loading time and responsive design.
  • Delighter: Personalized shopping recommendations based on browsing history.

Air Travel Service

  • Basic Need: Safety and on-time departures.
  • Performance Need: Comfortable seating and in-flight entertainment.
  • Delighter: Free Wi-Fi or surprise in-flight treats.

Healthcare Platform

  • Basic Need: Reliable access to patient data.
  • Performance Need: Efficient appointment scheduling system.
  • Delighter: Personalized health tips based on patient history.

Requirements of the Kano Model

To effectively implement the Kano Model, one must:

  • Survey Customers: Understand their needs, desires, and expectations.
  • Categorize Features: Assign them into basic, performance, or delighter categories.
  • Prioritize Development: Allocate resources based on the categories to ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Regularly Review: Customer preferences change, so it’s vital to revisit and re-evaluate the categorizations periodically. However, implementing the Kano Model isn’t without challenges. Biases in survey data, rapidly evolving customer expectations, or even resource constraints can pose significant hurdles.

Kano Model in Six Sigma

In Six Sigma, the Kano Model is applied as a voice of the customer (VOC) tool. It aids in capturing customer needs and translating them into specific requirements. This ensures that process improvements are aligned with enhancing features that genuinely matter to customers.


The Kano Model offers a nuanced understanding of customer needs, allowing product teams to drive satisfaction by focusing on what truly matters. By distinguishing between basic, performance, and delighter features, teams can strategically prioritize development and craft products that not only meet but exceed customer expectations. Moreover, with the digital transformation and the rise of AI, the model has evolved. Today, it’s applied even more rigorously, ensuring products are aligned with the dynamic digital age’s nuanced demands.

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