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October 13, 2023
Vishnu Kanduri

The Kano Model, A Playbook For Better Products

A lot of good things came out of the eighties: mix tapes, Top Gun, Super Mario Brothers and something called the Kano model. 
The Kano model is a powerful framework that helps businesses decide which features to include when designing a product or service, based on how much they will satisfy the customer. It was developed by Noriaki Kano, a Japanese professor of quality management, who believed there was a better way for brands to maintain and improve customer loyalty levels. 
This product-thinking playbook has stood the test of time. Kano’s approach of measuring product functionality, along with consumer engagement, makes it a valuable tool to help businesses and agencies navigate the rapidly changing landscape of customer experience.  


The Kano model works on a customer-centric approach that classifies product features into three categories: basic, performance, and delighters. Basic features are the fundamental expectations that customers consider essential. Performance features are the attributes that customers most value and use to compare competing products. And delighters are the unexpected features that exceed customer expectations creating moments of surprise and delight. 
The model enables businesses to prioritise features based on customer preferences and market dynamics, so they can make informed decisions about resource allocation, feature development, and product differentiation. By leveraging the Kano model, organisations can avoid underdelivering or overengineering their products and helps them track when an attribute shifts from attractive to a standard feature. 

  1. Define Product Scope and Objectives 
    Clearly articulate the goals and target market for your product. 
  2. Identify and Categorise Features 
    Create a list of potential features and classify them into basic, performance, or delighter categories. 
  3. Conduct Customer Surveys 
    Design a survey to gauge customer satisfaction by asking how they would feel with and without each feature. 
  4. Analyse and Plot Results 
    Analyse survey responses and plot them on a Kano diagram to visualise the relationship between satisfaction and feature presence. 
  5. Prioritise and Select Features 
    Based on survey findings, prioritise features that maximise customer satisfaction and align with your product goals and available resources. 

Customer-Centric Approach: The Kano model places the customer at the centre of product development, ensuring their needs and expectations are met or even better, exceeded. 
Competitive Advantage: By identifying performance features, businesses can differentiate their products from competitors and gain a competitive edge in the market. 
Anticipating Customer Trends: The model helps organisations anticipate and adapt to evolving customer preferences, allowing for proactive product development. 
Resource Optimisation: Prioritising features based on customer satisfaction levels ensures efficient allocation of resources, minimising waste and time and maximising impact. 
Regardless of what your product of service is, the importance of customer satisfaction can never be underestimated. By using the Kano model to identify essential, desired, and indifferent features, organisations can optimise resources more effectively, avoid customer frustration, and create more delightful experiences that will ultimately foster brand loyalty and secure long-term success.


Better input always leads to greater outcomes

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