Kano Model


The Kano Model is used to visually model the customer provided characteristics versus the level of satisfaction each characteristic delivers.

This tool is used after gathering the Voice of the Customer (VOC) phase. It is often used in a DFSS project and works with Quality Functional Deployment (QFD) and Define of a DMAIC project.


Gather the customer "voice" to deliver the most satisfying product, process, or service.

  • Dissatisfying - annoying features - avoided characteristics
  • Mandatory expectations - basics - must have characteristics
  • Customer needs - reasonable expectations - performing features
  • Delighters - surprise - innovators - unexpected features 
  • It is a graphical model that shows the relationship between each characteristic to the level of customer satisfaction. It is used to organize and prioritize activities to design and/or improve.

    The x-axis ranges from the a product, process, or service that has failed or has broken completely.

    The y-axis ranges from a completely unsatifisied feeling to the most satisfied customer.

    To find out which characteristics deliver on which level of satisfaction it is necessary to develop a questionnaire, interview, use focus groups, conduct research or otherwise find the customer stated specific characteristic and its expected level of satisfaction.

    Then each point is plotted on the chart using a scale that is up to the team to develop (should be linear).

    Kano Dynamics

    Each Kano Model should be kept and saved with a specific date and notes regarding each decision making process. Customer demands and expectations change over time resulting in new models and revisions.

    Typically, over time the Delighter features become Mandatory Characteristics. The innovation of product features becomes an expectation for future releases or revisions. 

    The idea is to develop a perfect product, process, or service that delivers optimal customer satisfaction and keeps them coming back. However the focus is more on the product features rather than the customer needs. Sometimes the customer may not know what they "want" or "need" until they know what features can be provided.

    Example of the dynamics of potential customer needs:

    A house built in 1940:

    Dissatisfying: poor sanitation control, broken windows, leaking roof

    Mandatory Characteristic: roof, foundation, windows, fireplace

    One-dimensional: Insulation, code construction, outlets, shower, lights, running water, septic/sewer

    Delighters: Air conditioning, dishwasher, garbage disposal, garage, washer, dryer, smoke alarms, ground wires.

    A house built now:

    Dissatisfying: squeaky floors, infestation, broken windows, leaking roof, poor sanitation controls.

    Mandatory Characteristics: roof, foundation, windows, lights, insulation, code construction, toilet, shower, running water, sewer/septic, ground wires, GFCI outlets.

    One-dimensional: garbage disposal, dishwasher, garage, washer, dryer

    Delighters: Stainless steel appliances, energy efficient HVAC, alarm, pool, wine cellar, granite countertops, brick pavers, landscape lighting, deck, central vacuum, wireless home controls.

    Return to the DEFINE Phase

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