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ChangeWise Quick Reads: Kano Model

Have you ever tried using Kano when evaluating your Voice of Customer (VoC) data?

This simple Lean Six Sigma technique is a really helpful way to analyse customer needs and determine which new products and services should be invested and developed further. It proves extremely popular during my Continuous Improvement workshops, so I thought it would be useful to offer a high-level and simple overview of the framework here.


The Kano model was developed in the 1980’s by Professor Noriaki Kanoas a theory for product development and customer satisfaction. It is used in Lean Six Sigma to categorise customer preferences after the VoC phase.

It aims to:

  • Categorise customer needs
  • Prioritise customer needs
  • Determine which products or services should be developed
  • Enhance customer satisfaction

The Categorisation Process:

Customer needs are separated into three categories: Delighters, Performance, Basic. We then use a simple diagram to look at how customers respond to products and services within these categories. I find it is also useful to use a fourth category Enragers to better understand customer reactions.

Let’s use a hotel stay as an example:


Things that contribute to high levels of satisfaction and advocacy: Customers may not ask for these, but when they receive them, they lead to high levels of customer satisfaction.

Examples might include an expensive coffee machine, designer hand wash or complimentary bottled water.


These characteristics typically have a direct linear relationship between provision and satisfaction, the more the needs are meet – the more satisfied the customer.

They might include daily fresh linen, free wifi or air conditioning.


These are needs that must be met – they are the minimum you need to provide to even be considered. Failure to provide these needs will quickly result in dissatisfaction. However, the presence of these will not create satisfaction beyond neutral. These are a No. 1 priority

Things like clean towels and feeling safe in the room fit into this category.


These are products or services that will always cause a negative impact and must be avoided.

For example, a broken shower or a dirty room.


Once products and services have been categorised, it is possible to focus on providing market-leading Performance while maintaining good standards in the Basics and creating opportunities for Delight:

  • Basics must be met or the customer will not consider us
  • Performance is where development opportunities exist
  • One or two items can be selected from Delighters to create competitive differentiation
  • Enragers must be avoided at all cost – they will drive customers away

It is important to note that Kano should be an ongoing process within an organisation, customer needs are not static and will change over time.

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