A guide to Kano Model Analysis

Staying focused on customer satisfaction

Kano Model Analysis graph

What is Kano Model Analysis?

Dr Noriaki Kano developed Kano Model Analysis in the 1980s, as a tool for analysing and understanding customer satisfaction. It is used when designing new or reviewing existing products and services to keep focus on customer expectation and satisfaction, rather than solely cost of delivery.  

In the model, customer expectations are broken down into three groups:

  1. Threshold Attributes are the minimum a customer expects, and if these are missing the customer will most likely be dissatisfied.
  2. Performance Attributes are “nice to haves” identified by the customer and their presence is likely to increase satisfaction.
  3. Excitement attributes are things the customer isn’t even aware of, they go over and above customer expectations leaving them very satisfied.

There are also attributes that are irrelevant – they aren’t required for the product or service to function and the customer simply doesn’t care about them.

Why use Kano Model Analysis?

In public sector and charitable organisations where funding continues to be cut, resources are scarce and budgets are tight, it is often tempting to remove services or elements of a service.

At Ad Esse, we think it is important that organisations do not attempt to become more efficient or cost effective simply by taking out steps or stopping doing things. Instead, we advocate the use of Lean principles and tools and techniques, like Kano Model Analysis, which allow you to understand your customers and identify the most cost effective means of delivering what they value.

Often knee-jerk reactions in response to reduced budgets, or increased demand on resource elsewhere, results in taking away something a customer cares about or considers necessary.  Removing necessary features rarely has the desired effect and is likely to add additional cost somewhere else through managing an increase in complaints or demand on another service.

How to apply Kano Model Analysis

To conduct Kano Model Analysis, you should: 

  1. Identify all attributes your product or service should deliver
  2. Rank the attributes as Threshold, Performance, Excitement or Irrelevant 
  3. Where there are irrelevant features these should be removed (if possible) to free up capacity to deliver other attributes

  4. Review all threshold attributes and ensure these are being met

    Put actions in place to ensure all threshold attributes are delivered – this is the priority

    Sometimes this means redirecting resources currently dedicated to delivering 

    Performance or Excitement attributes

  5. If resource permits, now identify ways to deliver the performance and excitement attributes

It may seem counter-intuitive to remove something that you have identified adds additional customer satisfaction, however, even all the “nice to haves” in the world is unlikely to increase satisfaction with a product or service that just doesn’t deliver the minimum expected by the customer.

If you need any help with applying Kano Model Analysis, email hello@ad-esse.com or use our Contact page.