The Kano Model is a customer satisfaction framework that can help you understand how different features of a product drive customer satisfaction. It was created by Professor Noriaki Kano in the 1980s and has since been a staple in product teams.
When using the model, features are categorized into three buckets.
These features meet your customers’ basic expectations — they need to be in the product, and they take priority.
Satisfier features seek to go a little bit beyond ‘the basic needs of your customer — they are things your customer ‘wants’.
Delighter features go well beyond what your customer needs or expects from your product. These types of features aim to delight and while they are not exactly needed, they can provide you with a competitive edge.
1. Create a prototype that showcases the features you wish to test.
2. Send out the prototype with a questionnaire. For optimal results, ask users the following questions relating to features:
Note: The answers presented to the survey participants can be as follows:
3. Classify each answer into one of the three categories, and work on them in the following order:
The Kano model is valuable as it takes into consideration both the presence and absence of a functionality. This enables us to gauge the level of desire, necessity or apathy among our customers.
We achieve this by collecting results in an evaluation table that combines responses to functional and dysfunctional questions to classify a characteristic into one of the categories previously mentioned. The combination of each pair of answers results in one of the categories and a couple more, which are derived from this question format.
The results can be used in a number of different ways — quite often, it’s best to analyze the results alongside data from other teams, such as Marketing.
Once you’ve collected the data, classify the results into the three categories (as detailed above) and prioritize accordingly. This will help you build features that align with your users.
Feature prioritization determined by the Kano model can be looked at alongside product budget, helping you appropriately plan your build. If resources are short, this will help you allocate them accordingly.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric used in customer experience programs to gauge customer loyalty to a company. It is determined by a single-question survey, with scores ranging from -100 to +100. A higher score is considered favorable. The Kano Model will help you focus on creating features that increase your customer satisfaction, and in turn, your overall NPS.
After gathering data on the categories for each feature, you can align the preferences from the questionnaire with your marketing personas. If there is a correlation between certain features (e.g. features that promote recycling) and specific personas (e.g. a demographic that is environmentally conscious), you can tailor your marketing messages to these groups and position the features as benefits. This approach will make the features more appealing to the aligned audiences, increasing the chances of selling more products and services.
The Kano Model has powerful applications beyond simply using it to help prioritize features — as detailed above when we use the model alongside other business tools, it can help drive more impactful business decisions.
Extending this thinking further, the model can also be used to dive deeper into customer pain points, and baseline features.
Furthermore, the data can be used to measure the extent of customer satisfaction using ‘Customer satisfaction coefficients’ — this will be covered in future content.
By conducting on-going research with your ‘Kano Model’ questionnaire, you’ll inadvertely capture information relating to customer pain points. Additionally, it may reveal unmet needs that could lead to new innovations.
As you conduct testing more frequently, you’ll start to build up a significant sample size of customers — this testing could reveal market trends and evolving customer expectations.
This can demonstrate the ongoing value of research, as well as alert teams when their product is reaching a plateau, prompting them to come up with new and innovative ideas to regain a trend-setting position.