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Kano analysis: the kano model explained.

20 min read Kano analysis is a tool that helps you enhance your product and service based on customer emotions. What is Kano analysis and how do you use it? Read our ultimate guide to the Kano analysis model.

Everyone gets excited when it comes to creating and developing new products. From ideation to project management, everyone on the team has ideas and wants to make things happen.

However, as good as the enthusiasm is, what almost inevitably happens is that teams end up with too many features to consider and, subsequently, you have no idea where to start.

You start questioning which features will be game-changers and which will be disappointing financial drains.

You may also have doubts about the usability of certain features and whether or not they provide value to your customers. To top it off, the time and cost for getting the feature upgrades wrong could set you and your team back months.

This is where kano analysis comes in. In this ultimate guide, we look at how you can use kano analysis to enhance your products and services, the process, and give you best practice support. Plus a free eBook to support your journey onwards.

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What is kano analysis?

The Kano Analysis model (pronounced “Kah-no”), also known as the “Customer Delight vs. Implementation Investment” approach, is an analysis tool that enables you to understand how customer emotional responses to products or features can be measured and explored.

Using a Kano model questionnaire (used to conduct customer-focussed research), product features are categorized across two-axis scales: satisfaction and functionality. With this, businesses can prioritize features on a product roadmap based on how likely they are to satisfy customers and the implementation investment.

This is a much more strategic, customer-oriented approach to product development.

The origins of Kano analysis: Dr. Noriaki Kano

The kano analysis model was published by Dr. Noriaki Kano, professor of quality management at the Tokyo University of Science, in 1984.

At the time, complaint processing and enhancing popular features was the accepted way of improving customer loyalty. Kano wanted to see if there were other ways for brands to maintain and improve customer loyalty levels.

He believed that customer loyalty depended on emotional response levels to features. He hypothesized that there were five emotional response types to features , and conducted a study with 900 participants to explore his theory. With his results, he created the kano reaction graph (below ), which visualizes the five emotional responses as curves.

With this reaction graph, he was able to prove that customer satisfaction depends on how sophisticated an available function is, which in turn causes a more emotional response.

Kano’s Five Emotional Response Types

Performance features

Attractive features, indifferent features, reverse features, why would you use kano analysis.

Kano analysis is very useful for product teams that want to answer these key questions:

By focusing on these questions and addressing customer needs, product teams can identify what it takes for their product to enter, remain, and excel in a target market.

When would you use kano analysis?

Wondering when to use the kano model? Here’s when it would be most effective and useful for your business:

When product teams are working to tight deadlines, the kano model is a great tool to speed up decision-making.

The simple method for carrying out Kano analysis uses an email questionnaire, meaning that you don’t need expert resources to do the research.

When you’re looking to ‘think outside of the box or ‘think big, you can use kano analysis to see what features customers would like and find useful.

When it’s time to refresh the product or keep it competitive against your market competition, using Kano analysis will assess all your feature options and give you clear choices to pick.

Benefits and advantages of kano analysis

Some key benefits of using the kano model are:

The kano model prevents wasted time and resources associated with developing features that don’t appeal to target customers.

The kano model identifies the priority areas for your current product’s features that need immediate attention to rectify under-performance.

The kano model prioritizes your feature ideas into a clear development plan based on performance enhancement and customer satisfaction levels.

The kano model avoids feature development on ideas that won’t enhance customer satisfaction so that you can please your customers quicker.

Disadvantages and weaknesses of kano analysis

On the other hand, the disadvantages of using this tool should be considered as well:

Results provided by the questionnaire tend to provide quantitative (numerical) results, which can’t explore the ‘why’ behind the data. Further research to delve deeper into results may therefore be needed.

Results from the questionnaire still need to be analyzed and require some knowledge to interpret and apply findings.

Manual methods of administering surveys can be hard to manage — they take time and are difficult to compare. A good technology solution would do this work for you and integrate it with your systems.

How does Kano analysis work?

Kano confirms that a product’s customer loyalty level is defined by the customer’s emotional responses to its features. But the functionality of the product isn’t the only factor that makes it ‘good’ – emotions matter too.

In general, products can work well and fulfill the basic need it’s required for (e.g. a customer can use it to complete a task, such as using a car’s key to start its engine), but that may not be enough.

A product that works and fulfills its purpose can still be boring or ‘behind the curve’. For example, a car that has self-driving functionality is more impressive, goes beyond the basic needs, and makes a customer think ‘wow’.

Taking this approach, product teams can quickly increase their customers’ satisfaction level by launching a few great, new features, rather than lots of basic ones. The kano model helps you to prioritize which of these ideas are most valuable, so you can make effective business decisions on which to move forward with.

Satisfaction and functionality in the kano analysis model categories

To understand how the kano reaction graph works, it’s important to understand satisfaction and functionality. The two below appear within the model as measurement scales to understand the customer’s response to a feature.

Kano created a satisfaction scale to run from ‘Delighted’ (indicating high satisfaction or excitement) to ‘Frustrated’ (indicating low or no satisfaction).

the kano analysis

In addition, Kano created a functionality scale (also known as the  Investment, Sophistication, or Implementation scale) that runs from ‘None’ to ‘Best’. This represents what level of function the customer thinks a feature provides. Has the feature been implemented to the highest level? Is this feature emotionally well-received by the customer?

the kano analysis

Based on responses from the kano questionnaire, features can be plotted on the kano reaction graph based on its satisfaction and function level:

the kano analysis

The Five Categories of Features in kano analysis

Now that we know the scales of measurement for each feature, next is the feature categories.

There are five categories of features that represent five potential customer reactions to a feature

the kano analysis

Must-be features

A product team should include more must-be, performance, and attractive features and try to avoid indifferent and reverse features.

Perceptions change over time

All features will shift and change over time:

Product industry leader, Daniel Zacarias calls this occurrence “the natural decay of delight.” Delight levels increase as products have more exciting features year on year, like Apple phones.

For example, with business becoming more remote following the COVID-19 pandemic, hotel rooms increasingly needed to come with free WiFi as a basic feature (when in the past it would be seen as an attractive feature).

What was seen as an indifferent feature in the past, like the amount of plastic used in sandwich wrapping, becomes more important as interest in recycling grows. The indifferent feature can become a reverse feature, actually putting off customers from buying the product.

Therefore, it’s important to remember to update your feature insights regularly and consider your customer’s environment.

Kano analysis tutorial

Kano analysis uses a standardized questionnaire to help customers feedback about their responses to features. It offers a way to measure opinions in a quantifiable way.

the kano analysis

In the questionnaire, list each feature separately. You can even aid understanding of that feature by providing context or a demonstration of the feature.

For each feature, two sets of questions are asked:

(requesting a response based on a positive, or functional, situation)

(requesting a response based on a negative, or dysfunctional, situation)

The answers are chosen from this range of responses:

Evaluating the responses from the kano model questionnaire

Based on the responses, you can figure out which of the five Kano feature categories closely aligns with each feature investigated. You do this by looking at the combination of answers to see how they score against this marking table:

the kano analysis

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You can even add in a third question, which was an additional measure about how important a feature is (suggested by John Hauser of MIT, to help prioritize the order of important results).

Ask how important it is for the product/service to have a specific feature, and provide a Likert scale for responses. For example,

the kano analysis

In general, the results from the kano model questionnaire will provide you with:

How to apply kano analysis results to your business

There are several ways you can apply kano analysis to your business to improve customer satisfaction levels:

Improve your products and services

You could start off using kano analysis with this simple five-step method:

Persona traits emerge from kano results

Once you have the information about categories for each feature, you could align the likes and dislikes from the questionnaire to your marketing personas.

If there is overlap with the attitudes towards certain features (e.g. features that encourage recycling) and personas (e.g. a young demographic that is environmentally conscious), then you can update marketing messages to these groups and sell your features as benefits.

These features will likely be seen as attractive to aligned audiences, leading to you having a better chance of selling more products and services.

Benefit vs cost modeling

As you’ll have a prioritized list of features at the end of the five-step method, you could follow up your planning with a benefit and cost model for each feature.

This could help understand which features, if implemented, could create a high return on investment by increasing sales.

Knowing this will help inform your product development cycle, especially if time and money resources are short.

Using in conjunction with NPS or customer reviews or feedback

Net Promoter Score is a metric used in customer experience programs. NPS measures the loyalty of customers to a company. NPS scores are measured with a single-question survey and reported with a number from -100 to +100, and a higher score is desirable.

By creating positive features and increasing the customer’s satisfaction level towards a product or service, you can help your marketers to impact the overall NPS.

Best practice advice and tips for Kano analysis

Analyze your data: How Qualtrics can help you understand your kano analysis results

The kano model helps you to identify unspoken needs before prioritization. A product or service is more than just its functionality; it’s about customer emotions and responses.

How can Qualtrics help you carry out the kano model?

The Qualtrics survey platform can help product teams and marketers discover your customer emotions from kano analysis surveys and other methods:

Why choose Qualtrics software tools?

Using our sophisticated survey software tool, you can get answers to your questions quickly. We’ve also designed the solution to be easy to use for all levels of users, using intuitive drag-and-drop tools and pre-built survey templates .

We’re trusted by 11,000+ businesses and institutions worldwide, including over 80% of the Fortune 100 to help:

Also, continue your learning by finding out how to create the right survey for your business goals by reading our free guide on Survey Design with Optimal Respondent Usability Download the guide

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What is the Kano Model?

The Kano Model (pronounced “Kah-no”) is an approach to prioritizing features on a product roadmap based on the degree to which they are likely to satisfy customers. Product teams can weigh a high-satisfaction feature against its costs to implement to determine whether or not adding it to the roadmap is a strategically sound decision.

The Kano Model is one of many prioritization frameworks designed to help product teams prioritize initiatives. For example, Kano can help teams determine which features will satisfy and even delight customers. Product managers often use the Kano Model to prioritize potential new features by grouping them into categories. These feature categories can range from those that could disappoint customers to those likely to satisfy or even delight customers.

This strict focus on how customers react to each feature distinguishes the Kano Model from other prioritization frameworks. The Benefits vs. Cost Model , for example, might use customer satisfaction among its scoring criteria but might also use different criteria, such as increased revenue. With the Kano Model, the key consideration for any new feature is how much it will satisfy users.

Watch this video to visualize the Kano Model and learn how your product team can use it to prioritize initiatives.

the kano analysis

What is the History of the Kano Model?

Dr. Noriaki Kano, a professor of quality management at the Tokyo University of Science, created the Kano Model in 1984. As author Dave Verduyn explains , Dr. Noriaki developed this framework while researching the factors that contributed to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The model identifies five categories of potential customer reactions to a new feature, ranging from dissatisfaction to indifference, all the way up to what many call customer delight or excitement features.

How Does the Kano Model Work?

Using the Kano Model, product teams pull together a list of potential new features vying for development resources and space on the roadmap. The team will then weigh these features according to two competing criteria:

You can also think of the Kano Model as the “Customer Delight vs. Implementation Investment” approach.

What are the Kano Model Feature Categories?

The Kano Model identifies three types of initiatives product teams will want to develop. We will discuss those below.

Kano Model Features to include vs avoid

It’s also worth pointing out, however, that the model also identifies two types of features you will want to keep off of your roadmap:

Under the Kano Model, the three categories of initiatives that could earn a slot on your roadmap include:

Basic (threshold) features

These are features your product needs to be competitive. Customers expect these features (such as a car’s turn signal) and take them for granted. This means they must be included. And, if they don’t work as expected, they may lead to dissatisfaction.

Excitement features

Excitement features yield a disproportionate increase in customer delight as you invest in them. If you don’t have these features, customers might not even miss them; but if you include them and continue to invest in them, you will create dramatic customer delight. You can also think of these features as the unique innovations and surprises you include in your product. Dr. Noriaki called these “attractive” features and “delighters” because they had that effect on users, and that delight can create an outsized positive response to your product.

After the internal product team has made its own determinations about which of the potential new features fall into which categories (including the two negative ones—indifference and dissatisfaction), the team will then take the issue directly to users or prospective users with customer surveys, questionnaires, and other feedback methods.

Performance features

These are features that give you a proportionate increase in customer satisfaction as you invest in them. One example would be increasing file storage capacity in an online app. Dr. Noriaki described this type of feature as “one-dimensional” because of the direct, linear correlation between how much you invest in it and the amount of customer satisfaction it delivers. These also feature customers who know they want and weigh heavily when deciding whether to choose your product or your competitor’s.

Explore how to prioritize your product roadmap with the Kano Model:

When should you use the kano model.

The Kano Model can be a helpful framework for product teams with limited time and resources who want to make sure they prioritize the appropriate mix of features to work on next.

When to Use the kano model

This approach is most effective for teams in need of guidance to figure out which minimum-threshold features they absolutely must build, which performance features to start investing in now, and which customer-delight features will deliver the biggest customer “Wow!” for the buck.

As product management consultant Daniel Zacarias explains , “There are many different reasons why you might need to include a given feature, but what do you do to know which ones will make your (future) customers happy and prefer it over others?”

The Kano Model can help product teams answer that all-important question.

Read the product manager's guide to prioritization  ➜

Kano Model Takeaways

The Kano Model is a useful framework for product teams looking for a systematic approach to feature prioritization. In addition, it helps teams that are interested in prioritizing functionalities they believe will delight customers.

the kano analysis

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What is the Kano Model?

Quality Glossary Definition: Kano model It's commonly believed that customers don’t really know what they want; they have to be told.

The truth is customers do know what they want, but they may not be proficient at describing their needs. By understanding the three types of customer needs and how to reveal them, you’ll better know your customers' true needs and how to address them.

The Kano model is useful in gaining a thorough understanding of a customer’s needs. You can translate and transform the resulting verbatims using the voice of the customer table  that, subsequently, becomes an excellent input as the whats  in a quality function deployment  (QFD)  House of Quality .

The model involves two dimensions:

Dr. Noriaki Kano isolated and identified three levels of customer expectations: that is, what it takes to positively impact customer satisfaction . The figure below portrays the three levels of need: expected, normal, and exciting.

Expected Needs

Fully satisfying the customer at this level simply gets a supplier into the market. The entry level expectations are the must level qualities, properties, or attributes.

These expectations are also known as the dissatisfiers because by themselves they cannot fully satisfy a customer. However, failure to provide these basic expectations will cause dissatisfaction.

Examples include attributes relative to safety, latest generation automotive components such as a self-starter, and the use of all new parts if a product is offered for sale as previously unused or new. The musts include customer assumptions, expected qualities, expected functions, and other unspoken expectations.

Normal Needs

These are the qualities, attributes, and characteristics that keep a supplier in the market. These next higher level expectations are known as the wants or the satisfiers because they are the ones that customers will specify as though from a list. They can either satisfy or dissatisfy the customer depending on their presence or absence.

The wants   include voice of the customer requirements and other spoken expectations (see table below).

Exciting Needs

These are features and properties that make a supplier a leader in the market. The highest level of customer expectations, as described by Kano, is termed the wow level qualities, properties, or attributes.

These expectations are also known as the delighters or exciters because they go well beyond anything the customer might imagine and ask for. Their absence does nothing to hurt a possible sale, but their presence improves the likelihood of purchase.

Wows not only excite customers to make on-the-spot purchases but make them return for future purchases. These are unspoken ways of delighting the customer. Examples include heads-up display in a front windshield, forward- and rear-facing radars, and a 100,000 mile warranty.

Over time, as demonstrated by the arrow going from top left to bottom right in the Kano model, wows become wants become musts . For example, automobile self-starters and automatic transmissions.

The organization that gets ahead and stays ahead constantly pulses its customers to identify the next wows. The best wows, plenty of wants, and all the musts are what it takes to become and remain an industry leader.

Kano Model Example: Home Buyers' Needs

Kano Model: Types of customer requirements

Adapted from Quality Essentials: A Reference Guide from A to Z , ASQ Quality Press.

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Introduction to Kano

The Kano Model is an analysis tool to explore and measure customer needs. It’s a way to identify the basic needs of customers, as well as performance and excitement requirements. This model is based on the view that functionality is not the only measure of how ‘good’ a product. Customer emotions should also be taken into account.

The idea is that, as important as the basic functions of products or services are, adding new attractive features will help with customer satisfaction. For instance, when buying a new car, you’d expect the car to go faster when you accelerate. However, adding a virtual assistant feature would increase customer satisfaction and make you stand out from competitors.

the kano analysis

Strengths of Kano Analysis

*Although we specifically mention new product development, it is just as important to review features periodically (if not continually) as consumer needs change.  For instance, air conditioning in a car may have once been a ‘delighter’ (i.e. not expected, but increasing satisfaction if included), but now it is likely to be seen as a ‘must have’ feature.

Weaknesses of Kano Analysis

How does the Kano model work?

The model categorises the features and attributes of a product or service in five ways:

Threshold Attributes (Basics) (Must-have features) – these are features that customers expect the service or product to have, these aren’t features that would necessarily impress customers but can cause dissatisfaction is missing.

Performance Attributes (Satisfiers) (One-Dimensional features) – these features don’t come with the deal, rather add to the enjoyment level.

Excitement Attributes (Delighters) (Attractive features) – these are the crucial features that increase the product or service’s competitors edge. This is the attribute to focus on as it will put you on a pedestal among your competitors.

Indifferent Attributes – these are features that customers cannot decide if they are good or bad.

Reverse Attributes – these features can be high quality or performance, but not increase satisfaction levels.

In order to get to these definitions, consumers are asked two questions:

Both questions are answered on a five-point, single-coded scale. The chart below shows how each feature is categorised based on the answers to the functional vs dysfunctional questions.

the kano analysis

Adding more depth to Kano:

An additional question can be added to determine how important the given feature is to customers. For instance, we might ask “how important is it for cars to have a reversing sensor system?”, using a Likert scale for respondents to rate the importance of each feature, such as below.

the kano analysis

Kano is an even stronger tool if NPS data is overlaid:

By including the NPS scores of existing customers when trying to improve satisfaction, you can quickly map out the distracting areas to ignore.

the kano analysis

Tips on using Kano Analysis:

At Sapio Research, we have a team of researchers who are well-seasoned with carrying out Kano analysis.  Some common sectors that we have used Kano for include construction and IT and software, but it is a technique which can be applied to any relevant product or service.  To find out more and see how we can help you, simply drop us an email or give us a call .

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Kano Model

What is the Kano Model?

The kano model is an insightful way of understanding, categorizing, and prioritizing 5 types of customer requirements (or potential features) for new products and services..

It was created in the early ’80s by Japan’s professor Noriaki Kano but continues today to be an essential tool for all organizations independent of industry or size. The main purpose of the Kano Model is:

Kano Model Example - See how the Kano Model works

This website was designed to provide a practical and easy way to learn content relevant to the Kano Model, its use, and getting the most out of it. This site will also help organizations quickly learn the basics of the Kano Model as well as introduce the visitors to methods that can help them take the Kano Model to the next level.


** NEW SERVICE AVAILABLE STARTING FALL  2020 **  We will conduct your Kano Survey for you.   A Kano Survey is a specially designed survey that will categorize your features or needs into Kano’s 5 categories and help you prioritize them based on their influence on customer satisfaction.  We can conduct it for you!!    T his “ 7 Step Service ” (click to see 1-page summary) consis ts of help in Designing the survey, Conducting the Survey, Analyzing and Summarizing the data, and creating a final report of the Data, Results and Conclusions.  Email us with any questions. ([email protected]) Also, check out this link to see a 1-page summary of our 7 Step FULL Kano Survey Service also shown below.

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What is a Kano Model

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

In most cases, you will use the Kano Model after you receive customer feedback (VOC) – often implemented along with QFD during the Define phase of DMAIC of a Six Sigma project.

Noriaki Kano first introduced the Kano model in Japan in 1984. After careful research of customer loyalty and satisfaction, he developed the model to focus on these customer factors.

Kano Model

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

The Kano model analyzes customer needs by diagramming user wants across two axes.

The vertical axis shows satisfaction with your output. The top of the vertical axis represents high satisfaction, and the bottom represents very low user satisfaction.

Similarly, the horizontal axis represents how the goals are achieved or shows the performance of the service. Low performance sits on the left-hand side, and high performance can be found on the right-hand side.

Kano Model

Your clients can be thought of as delighted, neutral, or dissatisfied depending on how you perform on each axis.

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.

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 a product or service. If these features existed in the product or service, customers would not be happy, 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. If it works, 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 a one-dimensional and desired quality feature. These increase customer satisfaction with the investment. In other words, more of the performance feature will increase customer happiness.

the kano analysis

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

Delighters: A delighter is a feature, also called latent requirements, that is not basic, and expected, but desirable and unexpected. Customers will not be unhappy if they are missing. Particularly, a feature like this goes beyond the immediate needs of the consumer. What is considered a delighter today may be a requirement tomorrow. Cameras on cell phones are a feature that was a delighter at one point but now is a basic requirement.

Kano Model

Example: Customers will be delighted if you provide a free upgrade of the room or give out complimentary toys or bags to the kids at the hotel.

2 Features to avoid

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

the kano analysis

Example: Costly glass flowers 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.

the kano analysis

Example: Customers becoming irritated with colored LED lights placed on the hotel grounds.

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

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

The 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 at 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

The following is a five-step process to build a Kano Model

Step 1: Identify the F eatures 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 a customer survey: Get the opinions of customers on each of the features in a standardized way using two questions. The questions would be functional questions and dysfunctional questions.

the kano analysis

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

Kano Model

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

Step 4: Analyze the data : Summarize all the responses and analyze the highest requirement for each category.

Step 5: Prioritize the F eatures to implement :

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 :

The team listed below five features to add to hospital service to enhance customer satisfaction

Step 2 : 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 :

The hospital reviewed the customer response to functional questions and dysfunctional questions for each feature.

the kano analysis

Step 4: Analyze the data :

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

the kano analysis

Step 5: Prioritize the features to implement :

Helpful Kano Model Videos

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Ramana PV

Comments (6)


Thanks, Sarah.

Great explanation! thank you Ted! Had not seen the dysfunctional perspective.

Hi am looking to enroll 12 of my Employees for Green belt six sigma program, The program is tailored to creat six sigma methodology awareness in my Organization, I would like to have your details and mode of training as well as the cost and resources to be used. I look forward to your response.

Thanks Vince Ottih Quality Manager(LV) Unimacts Global LLC Las Vegas, Nevada U.S.A

I’ll follow up with you over email, Vince. Thanks for reaching out.

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Who created the Kano Model?

How does the kano model work, when should teams use the kano model, how to run a kano survey, how to design a kano survey, analyze and evaluate the responses, .css-1rpxuvi{position:absolute;left:0;top:-85px;} what is the kano model, definition of the kano model.

The Kano Model is a framework for identifying the most important features when creating a product, based on the level of satisfaction they’re expected to bring to users.

Measuring and prioritizing key features via user satisfaction allows product teams to allocate suitable resources and time to the development of a product’s most valuable assets.

Roadmapping From A to Z

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The Kano Model incorporates basic and advanced product features . By using the Kano Model, teams can create products that not only fulfill users’ needs but provide lasting value over time. 

This, in turn, can mark the difference between an okay product with moderate sales, and a truly exceptional product that leads a market.

The Kano Model was first created by Professor Noriaki Kano in 1984. He was a professor at the Tokyo University of Science, specializing in quality management. 

Professor Kano was inspired to develop the model when conducting research into the range of factors determining how products satisfy customers and keep them loyal. 

Essentially, Professor Kano created a framework by measuring features via their ability to satisfy or delight users. Responses to both measures will align with one of Professor Kano’s five prioritization categories.  

Product teams employing the Kano Model in the development of a new product, or the upgrading of an existing one, organize features into the following five categories:

Features falling into this group are those that customers expect across all products of its type. They’re essential for the product’s basic function, and while they’re not particularly likely to delight users, satisfaction levels could drop significantly if said features were missing from a product’s design. 


These features demonstrate a product team’s commitment to greater functionality versus the basic suite. They add to the overall experience and can help one product gain a slight competitive edge over another, though it’s unlikely to be a deal-breaker. 


Features in this category can make a significant difference to a customer’s purchase decision and a user’s satisfaction. Excitement attributes/delighters have the power to give a product a greater edge and stand out from rival releases. 

Download Now: Get our eBook on Mastering Prioritization

They can encourage a user to become, and stay, loyal to a brand over a number of years, even as subsequent products’ quality may decrease. ‘Delighters’ can turn users into brand advocates and encourage them to share positive feedback online, driving new customers to try the product. 

Indifferent attributes

Any feature considered ‘indifferent’ makes neither an explicitly positive or negative impact on users. They may struggle to decide whether the feature’s presence increases or decreases their satisfaction levels. 

Reverse attributes

Features within this category actively dissatisfy users and should be left out of the product altogether. They can cause users to become frustrated by a product and even consider alternatives if there are enough of them present. 

Placing features into any of these categories allows product teams to determine which are the most important in a product’s development — and which can be dropped altogether. 

But it shouldn’t come down to the product team’s opinion alone.

Product teams should also gather data from user research. They might compose a survey tailored to each of the features utilized in a product, and invite users within the target demographic(s) to share their thoughts on the features’ function. 

Teams can demonstrate the features in a number of ways. An interactive wireframe or a more sophisticated prototype may be viable, though it’s crucial to avoid spending too much time on any demo model. The key goal is to convey the feature’s function and how it helps users achieve their goals. 

The surveys should identify how helpful users find each feature and how would they feel if it were left in or out of the final product. It’s vital that participants fall within the target audience only, to ensure the most accurate, valuable feedback. 

Standard responses included in Kano Model surveys ascertain whether a user ‘liked’ a feature, ‘expected’ it, feels ‘neutral’, ‘tolerates’ it, or ‘dislikes’ it. Product teams can analyze the variety of responses and determine which features are most likely to satisfy customers when bringing the product to market. 

Theoretically, product teams can utilize the Kano Model when developing any product.

However, it tends to prove most beneficial to those teams working to tight deadlines and with limited resources. There’s no time to waste in such scenarios: every hour and every dollar matters. Investing either into features that will end up dissatisfying users, or even chasing them away to a competitor, is a huge waste. 

The Kano Model can also be a fantastic help for teams working on a certain type of product for the first time or those with little experience overall.

Designed to provide valuable guidance, highlighting which features must be included in the build and why the Kano Model helps prioritization feel like a natural process.

Finally, the Kano Model can benefit teams looking to release an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to the market as soon as possible. They can continue their research and add other satisfiers or delighters down the line.

An essential step in completing a kano diagram is conducting a kano survey.

This survey is designed to collect the responses and information you need to plot your kano diagram accurately. 

That means this is going to be a survey of your customers . You'll use this survey to gauge their practical and emotional needs, then factor in how those relate to features and how they're prioritized during development. 

Fortunately, a kano survey is pretty straightforward. It resembles a typical questionnaire, and there are even templates for you to choose from online. 

To design your kano survey, you need to start by listing every feature you're considering including in your product.

This way, you can analyze how important each of these features is to your users, ranging from non-essential to must-haves. 

Once you've listed each of these features, you'll want to add two sets of questions for each feature. These questions should be based on the following questions:

How will you feel if you have this feature?

How would you feel if there was more of this feature?

Second set:

How will you feel if you did not have this feature?

How would you feel if there were less of this feature?

To keep things straightforward (and quantifiable), you'll want to give your respondents a set of potential answers. These should look like this:

I expect it

I am neutral

I can tolerate it

I dislike it

Once you have the responses to your kano survey in hand, you're ready to start analyzing and evaluating them. And since you used the pre-selected answers above, it should be easy to assign each one a value and then plot the responses on your kano diagram. Download now: Get our 5-minute guide on How to use the Kano Model

What Is the Kano Model?

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