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Vishwadeep Khatri

Kano Model

Kano Model


Kano Model - is a product development theory which categorizes customer requirements with respect to product features into below five segments.

1. Basic (must be quality) - as the name suggests, these are the basic expectations of a customer. If present, the customers are neutral, but if absent, it would lead to customer dissatisfaction.
2. Performance (one dimensional quality) - features that result in satisfaction if present and dissatisfaction if absent. These are the stated needs of the customer.
3. Excitement (attractive quality) - features that result in satisfaction if present and neutral if absent. These are the delighters for the customers. These needs are usually unspoken and are the differentiators for competing products.
4. Indifferent - features that the customer is indifferent to as their presence or absence neither causes satisfaction nor dissatisfaction to the customer.
5. Reverse - features that result in dissatisfaction if present and satisfaction if absent. These are the features that should not be present in the product.

Kano model is used to assess the product features on a periodic basis as the customer demands keep on changing. E.g. something that is an 'Exciting' feature today, will eventually become a 'Basic' feature tomorrow.



An application oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Arunesh Ramalingam on 17th October 2017. 




Basic needs, performance needs, and excitement needs. Kano model provides the description and the method to identify the three needs. Once understood for a specific product or a service, what would be your approach for putting these needs to good use? 


Note for website visitors - Two questions are asked every week on this platform. One on Tuesday and the other on Friday.

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Kano Model Summary:


The KANO Model is a tool used to identify 5 categories of product features/services from a customer's perspective, to enable manufacturers and service providers to be competitive in the market.


KANO Model Feature


Presence of the feature 


Absence of the feature










24hr. hot water supply at hotels




High Battery life in mobiles


Extra Satisfaction


Welcome drinks /complimentary chocolates at hotel check in




Material used in packing juices or milk, if the packets are durable and do not leak.




Annoying Pop up help features in some software

(*VOC-Voice of Customer)


One important point to keep in mind is over time as the customers get used to an Excitement feature, the feature becomes more of an expectation and moves to become a Basic feature.

In other words, a feature which was earlier not even expected, becomes a “must -have”. Earlier its absence would have been unnoticed, but now its absence causes dissatisfaction among the customers.

Example: power steering in cars, camera feature in mobile phones.


What would be your approach for putting these needs to good use?


First, I would work towards developing the identified Basic and Performance features/services, so that it is maintained at a level where it continues to satisfy the customers. There should NOT be any decline in these features/services.


Second, I would focus on developing the identified Excitement features. These would eventually transform to be “basic must – haves”. I would innovate new features /services which would continue to add the WOW factor.


Third, I would work on cost optimization/cost cutting on the identified Indifferent features/services.


Fourth, last but not the least, I would take the precaution of not overwhelming the customer with product features and services. More is not  always great! The product features and services should be inline with the requirements of the target customers.


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Basic needs addressing should become part of the culture of the organization. Systems should be built in the organization to make sure that the basic needs of the product are built in efficiently and effectively. Establishing a good Delivery Excellence framework referring to best models in the industry may be ISO standards, CMMi models and other best practices. Performance needs are the aspects that provides opportunity to gain customer confidence for long term engagement. Part of performance need to be built in to the product as part of effort involved in building basic need, which will be part of establishing a good system. On top of it performance needs also help addressing customers evolved needs based on the market experience of the customer. Since this is an opportunity as well as responsibility this can be considered as top up layer for the organizational culture once basic need addressing system is built. For this, continual improvement mindset initiatives like KAIZEN, Lean Management would be helpful, where every individual is involved and contributing to build the culture. In case of excitement needs addressing, this is an opportunity to establish hold on market place and delight customer by something which is unexpected by customer. For this kind of impact organization need to look at disruptive innovation that helps build, disruptive solutions for delighting the customer.  

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Kano Model has three requirements:

Basic Needs: Allow an organization go get into the market.

Performance Needs: Allows the organization to sustain in the market.

Excitement Needs: Allows the organization to excel, power of excellence.



Expected features or characteristics of a product or service. 

They are unspoken words which are expected by the customer/patient. If not fulfilled causes dissatisfaction to customer/patient.

For Example:

Cleanliness of the room.

Bed preparation.

Effective Communication 

Patient uniform.



Are spoken needs that increase or decrease the customer/patient performance.

For example:

Admission and Discharge time.

Waiting time in OPD

Breakdown of equipments

Average length of stay

Healthcare Associated Infection

Internet Access



An unspoken and Unexpected feature that impresses customer/patients and earn an extra credit to the organization.

For Example:

Hospital integration like App for hospital wide services.

Play area for the kids 

Online medicine indenting and dispatching





Excitement Needs – Unexpected features or characteristics that impress customers and earn the company “extra credit.” These needs also are typically “unspoken.” Think of the Doubletree Hotels. Those who stay there are delighted by a freshly baked, chocolate chip cookie delivered to their room during turn-down service.



Expected features or characteristics of a product or service

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The Kano model developed by Professor Noriaki Kano in the eighties is a theory of product development and customer satisfaction. It is an essential tool for all organizations independent of industry or size. The Model classifies customer preferences into 5 categories

Must-be Quality

            These are the requirements that customers expect and are taken for granted.Not fulfilling these requirements results in immense customer dissatisfaction. For e.g. a clean room in a hotel with clean sheets, towels and air.

One-dimensional Quality

           These are requirements which result in Customer satisfaction when fulfilled but dissatisfaction when unfulfilled. A fairness cream of 50 ml is advertised as having 25 ml more causes satisfaction when the tube contains 75 ml but will cause dissatisfaction if it contains only 70 ml. These attributes result in satisfaction when fulfilled and dissatisfaction when not fulfilled.

Attractive Quality 

             These are requirements which provide satisfaction when provided but do not cause dissatisfaction if not provided as these are requirements which are not normally expected and unspoken. Foe e.g. a thermometer on a package of milk showing the temperature of the milk.

Indifferent Quality 

             These are qualities which are neither good nor bad and hence do not cause customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Most of the times the customer is not even aware of the distinction for e.g. thickness of buttermilk carton.

Reverse Quality 

              These refer to a product having too many features and may result in some customers being satisfied and some dissatisfied as they may want the product to just have plain vanilla flavour.


The Kano model thus offers some insight into the product attributes which are seen to be important to customers. The purpose of the tool is gain a thorough understanding of the customer needs. It works on the premise that Customers do know what they want but may not be experts at describing their needs. The tool has 2 dimensions Achievements on the Horizontal Axis and Satisfaction on the Vertical Axis.

The kano Model identifies the three level of needs or customer expectations: expected (musts), normal (Wants), and exciting (Wows).

·        Expected Needs allows a company to get into the market.

·        Satisfying Normal needs allows a company to remain in the market.

·        Satisfying excitement needs allows a company to excel, to be world class.

Over a period of time wows become wants become musts, for e.g, automobile self-starters and automatic transmissions. Tablets or electronic devices with touch screen features.

Kano Analysis provides a mechanism to help Companies go ahead and stay ahead by constantly feeling the pulse of its customers, changing needs of customer and identifying the next wows. The best wows, plenty of wants, and all the musts are what it takes to become and remain an industry leader. One should be sure to find out what customers really value. Never assume that you know. One should ask them what they like, what they love, and what they dislike. It is generally used after the VOC phase and in the Define Phase.

In Conclusion, though Kano Model is a powerful means of analysing customers and their satisfaction it may still not be possible to deduce an overall satisfaction level using this Model.

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Kano Model:-

It was developed by Dr. Noriaki Kano in 1984. It is a very good and effective tool of analysis to find out what are the features that customers want from your product. And how much those features affect customer satisfaction.


Below is the table showing what is meaning of the needs mentioned and its impact to customer satisfaction.


Basic Need

Performance need

Excitement Needs


These features are the basic requirement of the product/service. Customers expect that these features are already present in the product, and do not ask for these features.

These features are those which customer demands. These features are the points on which customer compares product of two companies.

These features/needs are those which are not demanded by customers. Many times customers are not aware about these features.

Effect on Satisfaction level

Enhancing these features may not increase the satisfaction level of the customer. But if the performance of these features drop customers will be highly dissatisfied.

Performance of these features will affect customer satisfaction positively as well as negatively.

If our product is having these features/needs customer satisfaction increases a lot because they are delighted/excited by these features

Effect on Market/Market share

These are the features/needs of a product that will help a company to get in the market.

If we as company satisfy performance needs we will be able to remain in market.

If we want to excel in our market, be world class we should increase these features in our product.

Effect of overkill/ over enhancing these features

Once a company has reached a satisfaction level for these features company should not try to improve on these features, as improving more than required will add cost to product without affecting customer satisfaction positively.

If we want to improve our product’s satisfaction level we need to improve performance of these features. It’s also important to keep in mind that the more functionality we add, the bigger the investment we have to make.


We should try to improve on these needs, but keeping the investment minimum, otherwise customer will feel burden of these excitement needs.

Graphical presentation

In attached graph, you can see that curve for basic need, becomes stable after reaching a satisfaction level. These features do not increase the satisfaction level positively.

Curve for performance needs is a linear curve. If these performance of these features is better compared to others satisfaction level increases, but if performance is not good it will affect satisfaction level negatively.

Curve for excitement needs, starts on a +ve quadrant, absence of these features will not affect the satisfaction level, but presence of these features highly affect satisfaction level.

Other names

Threshold attributes, unspoken needs, Must be needs.

Linear, One dimensional, satisfying customer needs

Delighter, attractive needs.

Example:- Mobile Phone

Mobile, Charger with USB cable.

Headphones, Dual sim/single sim, Memory capacity, warranty period, camera resolution, battery size, cost.

Separate camera for group selfie, Free data plan for 1 year, Free One time screen replacement,

cover, screen guard,

Portable charger.


As times passes performance need à basic needs, and excitement needs àperformance needs and new excitement needs arise. Categories of these needs do not remain the same. It evolves along with time.

Taking same example of mobile phones.

Previously when there were only landline phones, mobile phones ability to call and send messages was an excitement need.

But now those two features are part of basic needs with performance needs of battery life, camera quality. At present there are excitement needs for mobile phones such as face detection, group selfie camera, etc.

These features which are excitement need at present will become a performance needs in future and new excitement need will arise. Thus shift in the needs continues.

Once we know needs of customer for a particular product and their categories.

       1.      We can make sure that our product has all the basic needs required by customer.

       2.      We can check which features/needs are redundant and can be removed from the product to save cost.

       3.      Which performance features required improvement.

       4.      Check Excitement needs and find a solution to incorporate them with your product.

       5.      Since there are competitors, this analysis is of great use for development of new product.


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Kano Model:-


The Kano model is a theory of product development and customer satisfaction

There are three types of customer needs are emphasised in this model.


Basic Needs: These are the customer requirements that are a must to be incorporated in the product or a service. Failing which the entry to the market itself is not possible or difficult. Failing which the customer will be completely dissatisfied. By fulfilling them Customer is neutral as it is minimum expected parameter from a product or a service.  

For example:- if a pen is not properly writing or not writing at all, then it is not meeting the basic needs of  the customer. 

A receptionist at the front desk responding with a “hello” to the customer walking in is a basic need.


Performance Needs:  These are the needs of the customer that by fulfilling them a customer is satisfied but not exited or delighted.

For example:- If the same pen writes very soft, customer is satisfied.

A receptionist along with greeting the customer, if she/he also serves a cup of welcome drink, the customer is satisfied.


Excitement needs: These are not exactly the so called needs; rather these could still be the expectations or anticipations from customers.

For Example:- A receptionist along with greeting the customer with a c up of welcome drink also surprises the customer offering free dinner, the customer is exited. 


Studying of these needs in detail helps to know our customer better. It is not necessary that all the aspects of customer needs can be obtained by customer just by talking or by survey. It is that most of the times the customer himself doesn’t know what he wants or he only knows it subconsciously.


Once we understood the needs, our approach will then be optimising the fulfilment of the needs as a package to customer.

It is very important to make the customer delighted, but is it feasible to go to that extent which will actually prove not so suitable for the business model is what we need to analyse. 


I would say the fist 2 needs are the must as they are known to customer as well as are a must for the product or service being offered to customer. But fulfilling the third need needs to be decided based on several factors depends on the type of the service or a product. Depends on how much it costs. Depends on its effects on the future business.


Overall, the approach must be to see the

1.     Financial benefits ( direct & indirect) (Short & Long terms)

2.     Societal benefits ( how does it impacts the society directly or indirectly)

3.     Personal benefits (Customer perspective) ( long term, emotional, health, etc..)

4.     Others based on the situation & circumstances.


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Kano Model is a tool used to assess or estimate the customer satisfaction levels while designing a product or services. It was developed by Dr Noriaki Kano wherein he categorised the customer requirements into five different categories. If the designers too care of these customers requirements while they decided on the features of their products or services then it would result in different levels of satisfaction of the users.


1. Must Be features (Threshold attributes) - These are the features or the attributes of a product or services which are expected by the customer or taken for granted. They would generally not be specified. These are implicit or unstated requirements of the customers. Presence of these features do not result in satisfaction of clients. However, absence of such features sure shot results in dissatisfaction. Example of such features would be decent mileage for a car, decent sound quality of the mobile phone, decent colour resolution a TV etc. These are basic needs.


2. Stated Requirements (Performance or One Dimensional Attributes) - These are normal features that expected by the clients and are spoken about. The clients knows that he wants these features in the product or the service. The presence of these features can satisfy a client and absence would dis-satisfy a client. For example having AC in a car, having free wi-fi in a hotel, having at least 12 hours of battery life for a smart phone etc.


3. Delighters (Excitement Attributes) - These are the features which the client does not normally expect. However, presence of these features results in exponentially increasing the satisfaction levels of a client which is Delighting the client. These are also unstated needs. The client does not know about such needs. However, when he gets it he is very happy. Examples of such needs can be free upgrade to business class while travelling, free subscriptions to certain apps like Netflix etc. 


4. Indifferent Attributes - Presence or Absence of these attributes doesn't matter to the clients. It does not either make them happy or sad or result in their satisfaction of dis-satisfaction. Clients are generally neutral about such features. A normal car might have a top speed of 160 kms per hours. However for a city driver it does not matter because he would never drive at 160 kms per hour on busy city roads.


5. Reverse Quality Attributes - Presence of such features results in dis-satisfaction of clients and absence results in satisfaction. It goes to say that all clients are not same. For example if a very high tech smart phone is given to client base of older generation then they might not be able to use it properly which might result in their dis-satisfaction. At times a pop up keeps appearing frequently giving frequent alarms which might irritate the users.


Kano model helps us to categorise VOC suitably and helps us to prioritise design efforts and investments based on the requirements of the target clients base.


Most important aspect to be realised is that the client expectation of the different attributes is not constant and keeps changing with time. The Satisfiers become dis-satisfiers and deighters become satisfiers over time. Twenty years ago haivng an AC in car was a delighter. Today it is a dis-satisfier. It is a taken for granted feature. A driverless car would probably a delighter in days to come and a dis-satisfer in years to come.


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I am depicting the Kano model below for reference and to proceed with the question



Customer Requirements & Expectations Gathering

The first step would be to gather all the customer needs, stated and implied, based on various methods.

For a typical engineering product, customers provide detailed requirements as per drawings, specifications sheets and reference to standards.

For a new consumer durable kind of product, the requirements will have to be collected using market surveys, focus groups and existing national and international standards.

For service industries, it would be Statement of Work, Service Level Agreements and customer surveys.

Classifying the 3 needs

Once the requirements are gathered, the needs have to be classified into the 3 groups’ viz. Basic expectations, Performance requirements, Delighters.

While the basic needs (expected Quality) and the Performance Needs are relatively easier to identify and list down, to identify delighters we need sharper thinking, higher exposure to market and customer sensitivity. The delighters are very relative to what happen to be the prevailing normal expectations in that region for that kind of product or service.

Sometimes, whatever is considered as basic appears as a delighter due to compliance levels. For eg. If most auto rickshaws in the city do not comply with the metered fare requirements, one who just complies with it will give delight to a customer!! But once we had taxis available using the mobile apps, more people started preferring them, as the fares became more fair and predictable!

Hence, one has to be careful about deciding the delight factors and they must be watched very carefully, as they may no longer be a delight factor depending upon any other competitive offerings or other market changes.

Approach for Basic needs

Having carefully classified the customer requirements, the exercise of QFD has be carried out. The highest level of reliability and process robustness has to be ensured for the basic expectations, since any failure in meeting them can not only erode the customer satisfaction, but can result in serious loss of credibility from customer, that would be very difficult to recover. We have seen how certain popular branded food products lost customer confidence overnight based on reports of not satisfying laboratory test requirements. Pharma companies have lost market and had stock prices plummeted due to non-compliance based on certain FDA audits.

Approach for Performance needs

The requisite design and process controls need to be developed and ensured for the Performance related parameters (termed as Normal Expectations in Kano). While these are parameters that will certainly cause a linear improvement in the levels of satisfaction, any repeated dips or failures could be considered equivalent to failure of basic needs.

E.g. A refrigerator that fails to cool during the warranty period, but was attended promptly and restored – would still retain the satisfaction levels without much damage. However, if the service was not provided on time, it could result in serious dissatisfaction levels.

Approach for Excitement Needs

While the “Basic Needs” and the “Performance Needs” are taken care as discussed above, it is important to offer some “Excitement needs” at the time of launch itself, to give the Product or Service an edge over competitiveness.

Unfolding of new “Excitement features” will have to be done in a planned and timed manner in cognizance with the market expectations and the competitive offerings. Timing is a very important factor for handling the “Excitement Needs”, since most of them will migrate as “Basic Expectations” over period of time. E.g. In today’s world offering a camera along with a cell phone is no longer an exciting feature, but a basic expectation.

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Once we understand the three levels of needs of a customer for a given product or service, it is the approach and action thereafter that implies the justification towards the findings from the Kano method.

The 3 levels of needs of a customer as defined in the Kano model , gives a  thorough clarity or understanding of the customers needs :

Expected Needs: These are like the features that are the core requirements and is available as a MUST have . In other words, this is the entry level attribute that the product or service must have for the merchant/ service provider to come into the market- The vanilla requisite.

Normal Needs: The next Level of needs wherein the features are wants of the customer, i.e. attributes that customer specifies as he has a checklist for the decision to purchase. These traits of the product/ service are also known as satisfiers as they can satisfy the customer if they are present and dissatisfy the customer if absent. Meeting these needs help the customer to exist/ sustain business in the market.

Exciting Needs: as put forth by Kano, this is the highest level of the customer’s need- It is the need that the customer may ideally not be aware of but is delighted when met . the customer may not miss the absence of the meeting of these needs , but will definitely remember this as something beyond expectation- something that may not only influence an immediate purchase , but also ensue a return visit. The merchants who provide/ fulfil this level of need will be leaders- most favoured by the customer.


It is important to ensure that the “on floor” study is continuously being made and the reaction and feedback of customers are observed and noted. This will help to keep the merchant abreast of the customer’s changing perception. It is but common experience that customer’s expectation is always changing – what may seem as an exciting need today may become a normal and then an expected need – A want.

Every organisation must focus on constant cultural enticement towards providing a wow experience , thereby fulfilling the exciting needs of the customers .

The following actions help to do so-

-       Training on Customer care with categorical situation based actions that will provide the “Sky” experience- something beyond expectation.

-       Sharing such incidents. Making the  “done” & the “doer” famous in the organisation

-       Appreciating such actions on the floor.

-       Keeping the communication channel open and easily accessible for the customers to put forth their good experience – Yet again make the “Done” & “Doer” Famous in the organisation. Documenting any new situation that comes in as a learning , needs to be documented and incorporated into the training programme.

-       Learning can be from many avenues- Even from the competitors


An example, from my personal experience, of the elevation of an Expected need to an Exciting need is when I had observed a middle aged lady, with a few handbags dropping a glass of cold beverage at the service counter at a QSR.  The customer was upset as she felt the accident was because of bad queue management by the staff. The fact that the counter staff, with an apologetic gesture and smile, replaced the drink(Expected need) with an upsize of the customer’s choice(normal need),  and simultaneously mopped the spillage to ensure cleanliness and safety of other customers, was meeting the expected and normal needs of the customer- The “Sky” experience was when another staff member came forward and held the food tray &handbags and walked along with the lady to a table and helped her to organize herself. I still remember that this lady was henceforth a regular customer and many a time would bring along her friends & family.

Over the years this whole routine is what one expects and wants from a good restaurant. So, what was once a wow service is today but a expected need- A commodity!!

Simultaneously, It is noteworthy that when an organisation is working to control what it needs to do to satisfy or delight customers, the tool to choose is QUALITY FUNCTION DEPLOYMENT (QFD). QFD is the methodology to listen and analyse the VOC and effectively responding to the needs and expectation.

Professionals in Quality and Customer care / support refer to QFD by many other names like Decision Logics, decision Matrices and customer driven engineering etc.. Being a Structured Methodology, QFD uses the Seven Management and Planning Tools, to identify and prioritise the customer’s expectations quickly and effectively- Thus ensuring not only sustenance but also Leadership in the market !!


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Kano Model


I think this would be the smallest writing on concept or questions I have attempted. I am not going to explain what is Kano Model, because this is already called out in the question and the question is not about what is Kano Model. But it is about how you are going to put Kano Model to effective use once you understand the specific product or service?

As per me, Kano Model is the birth of Research and Development in any company (in my views :)).

I am making this statement because; this model will not only help you to identify “What is Basic need”, and “what is performance need”. But also help you to identify “What is excitement needs” of the customer.

Based on this structure. This model helps one to understand two things i.e.

  • Understand the end customer need
  • Understand the competitor’s capability in meeting these end customer needs

If you can clearly put this model to good use, then you can clearly be the “Market Leader” by just understanding what exactly make customer exited and where is your competitor in the race to meet those customers’ needs and by working on his own Research and Development field to ensure that you are always one step ahead of your competitor in meeting the things which excite customer.

Note: QFD can be used for this i.e. Output of QFD can be used to plot a Kano Model and understand clearly what are those which excite customer

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What is Kano model


Kano model serves to prioritize the needs of the customer. Often, the data gathered through VOC techniques might be too much. It would require an affinity diagram to group that information. Once done, it would require a kano model to prioritize the needs as must needs, satisfactory needs and delighters/excitement needs.


Having the needs prioritized would ensure that customer gets a minimum viable product in the first place and ensures that the customer is not unhappy with the service provider , in terms of the product or service provided


Eg:  A kano model shown for the needs of an airline company ‘s website



Benefits of Kano Model

1.It creates awareness to the project team and other stakeholders in the service provider organisation about the features that customer wants categorically
2.It helps in improving the customer satisfaction as customer needs are known
3.It can help in achieving the expected results for the customer at the right time (as focus is  obtaining minimum viable product (MVP))


What are the next steps to be done,  after prioritization of needs through the Kano Model
1.If the project runs in Agile Environment, the product backlog should be designed such that the order of backlog items would be to have Must needs, followed by satisfactory needs and then exciting needs. Equated to the term “MoSCoW” [Must be, Should be, Would be]in Agile parlour. [Product backlog is nothing but the project needs prioritized as per the Product Owner who knows the business  needs]
2.Ensure that the design of the product/service is good enough to cover the minimum viable product – Must needs and Satisfactory needs
3.If design is not suffice, do the course correction immediately to avoid customer dissatisfaction.  A scientific way of doing design can be done through Quality Function Matrix (QFD).
           a.If we are in the middle of the project and requires a course correction, then it may require

           some deeper understanding and usage of QFD may be complex (or levels could be


           b.If we are in the beginning of a project, then its relatively easy to provide a QFD matrix

           c.QFD is essentially used to convert the requirements (needs) into technical requirements.    
4.If the project is Agile scrum based, then if design change is required then it can be in a separate sprint called ‘Architectural Spike’ and QFD can be used to improve the product/service design
5.Once QFD is done,  implement all the aspects mentioned in QFD in the product/application and test it
6.Compare the outcome with the expected results and that should be achievable. Else re-do the design to meet the customer needs.


Let us see for the airline’s website as how we implement the Must needs, Satisfactory needs through a QFD



Attached the same as an excel for brevity



Having a kano model ensures that customer expectation is properly understood which can shape the product/service in the way the customer wants and thereby the service provider can ensure that customer is having a viable product and avoid any customer displeasure.





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As per Kano model basic needs, performance needs, and excitement needs are three different attributes which have an impact on customer satisfaction. These three shows business impact if they are fulfilled or not fulfilled.


Kano model applies to products, services, business process and also software.


Basic: Basic needs are must be’s. These are customer expected requirements, should be or must be available in the product or service offered. Customer satisfaction is neutral when done well, but customer satisfaction is very dissatisfied when done poorly. These needs are the basic price of product or service offered in the market.

Examples: Car should have wheels, steering, seats and doors


Performance: Performance needs are like uni-directional. These are the requirements that the customers are at the top of the customer minds when making choices and evaluating options to buy a product or choose a service. The better they perform the more satisfaction they bring, same in the reverse way when they perform poor customers are dissatisfied.

Examples: Car should give good mileage as per the claim.


Excitement: Excitement needs are surprises which delights the customers, they are unexpected. These are customer unexpected requirements, so the presence of excitement needs delights the customer, but do not cause any dissatisfaction when missing because the customer never expected them in first place.

Example: Automatic whippers on when rain falls.

Opening of airbags when something hits car.


Once understood for a specific product or a service, what would be your approach for putting these needs to good use?


Follow these steps to put these kano model needs to good use

1.    Every product should have some basic needs to enter into the market. So, first study the basic needs and design the product or service in such a way to meet the requirements of customer basic expectations.

2.    Basic expectations are required to stand beside the other products in the market. List down the basic requirements which should be full fill every time and we should not be poor in implementing the basic needs.

3.    If basic needs fail, total product or service fails.

4.    Check for performance attributes which increases the customer satisfaction. The attributes should perform well always because if they did not which leads to decrease in customer satisfaction.

5.    Performance attributes should be choosen carefully and make sure that they perform good.

6.    Excitement attributes are manufacturers choice. If they increase more they will attract customers.

7.    But manufacturer should be carefully in choosing that as it should not increase the price of the product and go beyond the limits which is again hit to the business.


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In any business, resources are expensive and need to be judiciously expended. Customer is important, but the importance lies in the fact that the customer is the source of profits. Customer satisfaction is very important, which is why the correct needs need to be identified and the right resources need to be expended on fulfilling these needs and keep the customer satisfied.


Typically, there are many hundreds of customer needs that can be identified through various methods. It would be an exercise in futility to try to prioritize each of these needs. Therefore, the sensible approach would be to categorize these needs into a smaller number of groups, prioritize firstly the groups and then the needs within each of the groups.


The Kano model is a useful tool in categorizing these needs as dissatisfiers (Basic requirements), satisfiers (Performance requirements) and delighters (Excitement requirements). Non-fulfillment of dissatisfiers, results in dis-satisfaction, while fulfillment does not increase satisfaction. Fulfillment of satisfiers results in proportional increase in satisfaction. While non-fulfillment of delighters does not result in dissatisfaction, their fulfillment delights the customer.


The irony of customer satisfaction vis-à-vis customer needs is that the most important needs turn out to be dissatisfiers as they are very basic and practically taken for granted. As an extension of this very same irony, a less important need can surprisingly turn out to be a satisfier as these are needs the customer wants to be fulfilled and is willing to pay for it. Therefore, there may be more customer satisfaction obtained by improving fulfillment performance needs rather than that of basic needs. In many cases, the fulfillment of dissatisfiers would be mandated by various regulations related to safety, global product standards etc..


After using the Kano Model to categorize and then prioritize customer needs, the next step would be to convert these using a QFD, to Product or Service Functionalities, Product or Service Design Features, Product or Service Design Specifications and finally Process Specifications. Providing features in the product or service always involves a cost and an estimated additional revenue. To produce the product within the budget allotted, use of resources will need to be on those features that have been identified as satisfiers through the Kano Model. Obviously, the basic needs will need to be fulfilled first because the product does not exist without the, But when it comes to improvement of features, satisfies should get prioritized.

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Kano model : Basic needs, performance needs, and excitement needs. Kano model provides the description and the method to identify the three needs. Once understood for a specific product or a service, what would be your approach for putting these needs to good use? 

As customer “ Do I know my needs? Do my needs keep changing? What was my need two years back is no more my need now? What is my need now is no longer be my need in the future?”


So what is my stake? Yes. I know my needs. I can give my needs in verbatim but not in perfection.  My needs are ever changing. As technology grows, the needs keeps changing along with urbanization. Hence my needs are not constant.


What is Kano model?

A Japanese consultant – Noriaki kano discovered this kano model. He tried to identify his customer’s needs and requirements. Tried to compare this needs to the product features to fit him in the kano model. Simply to say, he compared customer’s satisfaction to the features of the products offered to him.

Before delevoping a Kano model, it is important to understand the following three things.

1.     What is the customer satisfaction level in terms of product features? – “Satisfaction Vs. Functional level of product features.

2.     A Product features

3.     A Customer satisfaction survey / Need survey.


1.     Satisfaction Vs. Functionality of the product

Satisfaction is measured in a scale of 1- 5, where 1 being mostly dissatisfied and 5 being highly satisfied / delighted. Functional level of the product / service is again measured in 1-5 scale of 1 being Nothing / no use and 5 being the best product / service.

Functionality of the product / service means cost, investment, time, and how well the product is implemented in terms of customer usage (the reach of the product, usage definitions, etc). When we say the functionality and satisfaction is related, we can also say there is some waste involved in delighting the customer. Either over processing or overproduction is the usual waste identified along with the concept of Kano model.

Eg. When a customer requires a dosa, we will end up trying to delight the customer by giving him the Ghee dosa. In such cases, the Verbatim by the customer is detrimental. And there is a waste involved.


2.     Product Features:

Kano, a researcher divides his product/ service features into four distinct categories, which are directly related to customer’s reaction towards the functionality of the product. I.e How well the product features implemented are successful in order to make the customer happy.

Eg. When the officer is allotted a office with fan, he will be happy. If he is able to adjust the speed according to the climate, he would be delighted. This was in the past. Now this change is done with air conditioners.

The four categories are Indifferent, attractive, performance and must-be.




The product’s presence or absence makes no difference to the customer.  There is no reaction of the customer towards the functionality of the [product. Hence the exists a huge waste of effort, money, time.

Must be:

These are the basic requirements of the product / service that the customer expects. If we don’t have the basic features in the product bought or the in the service delivered, the customer will not buy. The product will be bad to the customer and it will badly affect the organization.

Eg. A washing machine should be able to wash the clothes in the machine.

A fridge will keep the fruits and vegetables fresh and cool.



These are features which will help the organization stay competitive in the market. The more of investment will result in more customer satisfaction.

These are a level higher to the basic needs. This is directly proportion to each of the variables. This relationship between satisfacation and functionality of the product is called liner or one dimensional performance in Kano model.

Eg. A washing machine should be able to wash, rinse and dry. In addition, you can add the clothes in the middle of the wash.

In the fridge, you can add the extra slabs in the slot given to store more.



This will always cause a positive response to the customer. This is usually attractive to the customer. As the investment is bigger, the bigger the satisfaction / delighters.

This uses pull strategy by attractive products.

Eg. A washing machine in the requested colors / with pictures decided by the client.


Change Vs. Delighters:

As the technology grows , the concept of delighting the customer using kano model is not static. It keeps changing for ever.

As I already mentioned, the changes are forever. Hence the Kano model developed is not model to be replicated in the future for the same problem or customer.

Hence the conclusion is whatever the anlaysis we do and derive at the kano model, it is not a model to be replicated. This keeps changing. This illustrates the current reality of the customer’s satisfaction and the product functionality.


Approach for using the Kano model is:


You will have to ask two questions…

1.     What will u do if the product is not there

2.     What will u do if the product is given with the basic features.

Yes. These are asked to the customer to knwoth e real situation / moment of the product.


Performance – A customer likes to have the featureand dislikes if they donot have.

Must be – Customers tolerate to have the product. Soon they will switch. Hence they dislikes if they do not have the features.

Attractive – Customer likes the product because he didn’t expect the prodct tto have such mind blowing features.



Kano model is not static. Hence it keeps changing forever for product to product, time to time , due to the technologivcal evolution and rise of competitiors.




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Kano model is a tool which helps in identifying the basic features, performance features and excitement features of a product or service. Basic features have to be met at all costs to ensure sustainability in market. These type of fetures are must. Without basic features you just don't qualify to be in market. Like if we take an example of pen, it must write well, that's a basic feature for a pen. Another example of basic feature from service industry can be taken from airlines industry where basic feature may be flying and taking passenger from one destination to another. Performance features are directly linked to customer satisfaction, they have kind of linear relationship with customer satisfaction level. The more functionality provided, the higher the satisfaction. In our example of pen one of its performance feature can be that right upto the whole life of its refill its quality of writing should not deteriorate. In our example of airlines industry performance feature can be their past safety record, better the record higher the satisfaction level.

Excitement features are those features which delight the customers, something which they don't expect and their presence delights them. Their absence doesn't result in dissatisfaction whereas if the performance features are lacking it will lead to customer dissatisfaction. In our example of pen, a provision to see how much refill ink is remaining can be an excitement feature and in our example of airlines industry comfort and reclining of seats or variety of food can be termed as excitement features. Here it must be noted that, what delights today becomes an expectation tomorrow and hence excitement features may keep becoming performance features. Moreover these excitement features shouldn't come with much of additional cost. 

The above analysis is very much useful for the design and development of products / services as it helps in understanding how much emphasis to be given on which feature and how much expenditure to be incurred to include them in out product / service. It also helps us in keep on thinking of new ideas and keep evolving.

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Hi all, complements of the season to you all. Thank you so much for the great and thoughtful responses. The main crux of the question was what would be our approach to putting the knowledge of needs to best use.


    To this there are two possible stages in business:

  1. At the time of product/service development or design  - Selecting the most appropriate and techno-commercially feasible needs while catering to the target consumer/end customer and ;
  2. Seeking/ retaining  market leadership by continually addressing customer’s needs and expectations – in given market, geographies, product categories and  economies.


While several answers addressed above expectations some of them revolved around explaining what is Kano Model and how different are the basic need from performance need and exciting needs. The focus of assessment was to identify which answer is most close to highlighting the approach in using the knowledge of various needs in business.


Here again it was very tough call to select the answer between Arunesh Ramalingam and Ronak. Both answers were very close, however since we have to select one, we have chosen Mr. Arunesh Ramalingam answer as most appropriate.


 Cheers again to the spirit of learning !!” 

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