function copyText() { const text = document.getElementById('text-to-copy').innerText; navigator.clipboard.writeText(text).then(() => { alert('Text copied to clipboard'); }).catch(err => { alert('Error in copying text: ', err); }); }
top of page
< Back

The Kano Model

Don’t love itNot greatGoodGreatLove it
average rating is null out of 5, based on 0 votes, Ratings

Delighting by Design: The Kano Quest

Every business aspires to offer products or services that not only meet but exceed customer expectations. But how can one decipher the intricate tapestry of customer desires? Here's where the Kano Model, conceived by Professor Noriaki Kano, shines. This innovative framework categorizes customer needs into Basic, Performance, and Delighters, offering businesses a roadmap to elevate customer satisfaction. Join us on this enlightening journey, as we delve into the Kano Model and its transformative potential.


Embracing the Kano Model offers an array of advantages:

  • Deep Customer Insights: Gain a nuanced understanding of what truly matters to customers.

  • Prioritized Development: Focus resources on features or services that significantly enhance customer satisfaction.

  • Competitive Edge: Uncover opportunities to delight customers and set your offerings apart from competitors.

  • Enhanced Loyalty: By consistently meeting and exceeding expectations, foster enduring customer loyalty.

  • Strategic Innovation: Direct innovation efforts towards creating features that resonate deeply with customers.

When to use

The Kano Model proves invaluable in various contexts:

  1. Product Development: Deciding which features to include in a new product or service.

  2. Service Enhancement: Identifying areas of service that need improvement or innovation.

  3. Customer Feedback Analysis: Categorizing and analyzing feedback to extract actionable insights.

  4. Market Positioning: Understanding how your product or service stands in comparison to competitors in terms of customer satisfaction.

  5. Strategic Planning: Setting customer-centric goals and objectives for the organization.

OD Application

The Kano Model: Unraveling the Layers of Customer Desires

In today's dynamic business landscape, understanding customer needs and preferences is paramount. As competition intensifies and customers become more discerning, organizations strive to not only meet but exceed expectations. To navigate these waters, they require tools that delve deep into customer psychology, surfacing insights that inform product and service design. One such powerful tool is the Kano Model.

Developed by Professor Noriaki Kano in the 1980s, the model categorizes customer preferences into distinct levels, shedding light on what truly drives satisfaction and loyalty. At its core, the Kano Model segregates customer needs into five categories: Basic Needs, Performance Needs, Excitement Needs, Indifferent Needs, and Reverse Needs. Each category represents a unique facet of customer expectations, guiding businesses in crafting offerings that resonate deeply.

Harnessing the Kano Model for Organizational Well-being

Building a Customer-centric Culture:Integrating the Kano Model into product and service design processes fosters a culture that places the customer at its heart. It cultivates an environment where every decision, big or small, is evaluated against its impact on customer satisfaction.

Boosting Employee Engagement:When teams understand the profound impact of their efforts on customer happiness, it fosters a sense of purpose. Whether it's designing a new feature or addressing a customer concern, employees see their contributions as part of a larger mission.

Ethical Considerations:The Kano Model ensures that businesses don't just chase profitability but prioritize genuine value addition. By focusing on genuine customer needs and steering clear of superfluous additions, organizations uphold ethical product and service design principles.

Driving Organizational Prosperity with the Kano Model

Informed Product Development:The Kano Model provides clarity on features or attributes that genuinely enhance product appeal. Instead of shooting in the dark, businesses can channel their resources and efforts towards elements that matter most to customers.

Enhanced Customer Loyalty:By addressing not just the basic and performance needs but also tapping into excitement needs, organizations can transform casual customers into brand advocates, ensuring sustained revenue streams.

Strategic Differentiation:In crowded markets, the Kano Model offers a lens to identify untapped opportunities. By catering to excitement needs or reimagining basic needs, businesses can carve a unique positioning, distancing themselves from competitors.

Assessing the Fit: When Does the Kano Model Shine?

While universally applicable, the Kano Model's relevance amplifies for:

  • Innovative Industries: For sectors marked by rapid innovation, like technology or fashion, the model helps businesses stay ahead of evolving customer expectations.

  • High Competition Markets: In saturated markets, the Kano Model provides insights into areas of potential differentiation, ensuring businesses stand out.

  • Service-based Businesses: For service-oriented industries, understanding nuanced customer expectations and preferences can transform service delivery, driving loyalty and referrals.

Embedding the Kano Model for Maximum Impact

The Kano Model's potency lies in its nuanced approach. To harness its full potential:

  • Regular Customer Feedback: Continuously engage with customers through surveys, focus groups, or feedback mechanisms. This ensures the model remains updated with changing preferences.

  • Cross-functional Collaboration: Integrate the Kano Model insights across functions, from product design to marketing, ensuring a cohesive approach to customer satisfaction.

  • Iterative Approach: The Kano Model is not a one-time exercise. Regularly revisit the model, refining product or service attributes based on fresh insights.

Observing the Ripple Effect: Impact Across Hierarchies

The Kano Model's integration leads to transformative shifts:

  • Individual Level: Frontline employees, from sales to customer support, armed with insights from the model, can tailor their interactions, enhancing customer satisfaction and addressing concerns proactively.

  • Team Level: Teams can collaborate more effectively, pooling insights and ideating on features or services that align with the Kano Model's findings.

  • Organizational Level: At a macro level, the organization benefits from enhanced customer loyalty, better market positioning, and optimized resource allocation, driving sustained growth.

The Kano Model, with its intricate understanding of customer psychology, serves as a compass in the intricate journey of product and service design. By delineating customer needs into distinct categories, it ensures that businesses don't just meet expectations but consistently exceed them. In today's age, where the customer is truly the king, the Kano Model offers a roadmap to their hearts, ensuring that every strategic move is a step closer to creating memorable customer experiences. Through its lens, businesses can reimagine offerings, crafting products and services that don't just serve needs but evoke emotions, driving both organizational well-being and unparalleled prosperity.


TechSavvy: Redefining Smartphones

When TechSavvy was developing its next-gen smartphone, the Kano Model was instrumental. It revealed that a long battery life was a basic need, while a holographic display emerged as a delighter.

Outcome: A phone that not only met fundamental requirements but also introduced groundbreaking features, establishing TechSavvy as an industry pioneer.

EcoDrive: Revolutionizing Car Rentals

EcoDrive, a car rental service, turned to the Kano Model to enhance customer experience. The model identified hassle-free booking as a basic need and a personalized travel playlist as a delighter.

Outcome: A surge in customer bookings and brand loyalty, with EcoDrive setting a new standard in car rental experiences.

Fit&Fab: Innovating Fitness Gear

Fit&Fab, a fitness gear brand, utilized the Kano Model during its product brainstorming sessions. While sweat-resistant material was a basic need, built-in fitness trackers were seen as delighters.

Outcome: A best-selling product line that catered to both essential needs and innovative desires, solidifying Fit&Fab's market position.

Facilitator Notes

How to Introduce the Kano Model

Begin by discussing the evolving nature of customer expectations. Introduce the Kano Model as a tool that deciphers these expectations, classifying them into categories that can guide product or service design.

Sample Introduction Script

"In today's dynamic marketplace, understanding customer expectations is pivotal. The Kano Model offers us a lens to categorize these expectations, enabling us to design offerings that resonate deeply and create lasting impressions."

Helpful Facilitator Questions

  1. How do you currently gauge and prioritize customer needs?

  2. Can you recall an instance where a product feature or service aspect delighted you unexpectedly?

  3. How do you think the Kano Model might evolve with changing consumer behavior or technological advancements?

  4. How can businesses ensure they consistently deliver on the basic needs identified by the Kano Model?

  5. How do you see the relationship between the Kano Model and other customer satisfaction measurement tools?

Understanding Desires: The Power of Kano

In the realm of customer satisfaction, the Kano Model stands as a beacon. By classifying needs into distinct categories, it empowers businesses to design offerings that not only fulfill but also enchant. Delighters today can become basic needs tomorrow, making it imperative for businesses to continually evolve and innovate.

Success Indicators: Kano in Action

When effectively implemented, the Kano Model leads to:

  1. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: Products or services that resonate deeply with customer desires.

  2. Innovative Offerings: Introduction of features or aspects that set the offering apart in the marketplace.

  3. Consistent Delivery: Unwavering commitment to meeting the basic needs identified through the model.

  4. Proactive Evolution: Anticipating shifts in customer desires and staying ahead of the curve.

  5. Strengthened Brand Image: Enhanced reputation as a brand that understands and values its customers.

Deep Dive

Related Theories

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Field: Psychology

Just as Maslow categorized human needs, the Kano Model categorizes customer needs. Both models emphasize the importance of addressing fundamental needs before aiming for higher-level satisfaction.

Voice of the Customer (VOC) Field: Business & Quality Management

VOC is a process used to capture customer desires and needs. When combined with the Kano Model, businesses can obtain a comprehensive understanding of customer expectations.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) Field: Business Strategy

While the Kano Model identifies customer needs, NPS measures customer loyalty. Together, they offer insights into overall customer satisfaction and areas of improvement.


  1. How has the Kano Model reshaped your perspective on customer satisfaction and product design?

  2. Are there needs or desires that might not fit neatly into the Kano categories? How would you address them?

  3. How do you ensure that delighters don't become mere passing trends but contribute to long-term customer loyalty?

  4. How does the Kano Model align with your organization's mission and values?

  5. Can the Kano Model be applied outside of product or service design, such as in employee satisfaction or stakeholder relations?


Here are five highly relevant, intellectually stimulating, and practical research questions:

  1. How has the digital transformation era influenced the categories of customer needs as outlined in the Kano Model?

  2. What is the relationship between features identified as delighters in the Kano Model and customer loyalty metrics?

  3. How do cultural or regional variations impact the classification of customer needs in the Kano Model?

  4. What are the long-term business impacts of consistently delivering on delighters identified through the Kano Model?

  5. How can artificial intelligence and data analytics enhance the accuracy and insights derived from the Kano Model?


  1. "Attractive Quality and Must-be Quality" by Noriaki Kano Delve into the foundational work by the creator of the model, understanding the nuances and applications of the Kano Model.

  2. "The Innovator's Solution" by Clayton M. Christensen and Michael E. Raynor This book, while not exclusively about the Kano Model, discusses the concept of innovation and meeting customer needs, offering insights that complement the model.

  3. "Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products" by Nir Eyal Explore the psychology behind product design and how to create products that customers love, aligning with the principles of the Kano Model.


The Kano Model, with its profound insights into customer needs, serves as a catalyst for businesses aiming to soar to new heights of customer satisfaction. As you tread the path of innovation and growth, let the Kano Model be your guide, ensuring every step you take resonates with the desires and dreams of your customers. Dive deep, innovate, and let the Kano Model steer your journey to delight and beyond.

bottom of page