3 Kano model examples and how to use it in processes

Kanban, Ishikawa, Kaizen. It seems that Japanese nouns and names always appear when it comes to process improvement.

Now it’s time to talk about Noriaki Kano, Professor of the University of Tokyo and creator, in the 80’s, of the model that takes his last name.

It’s used in product development, which can give a lot to your concepts, without causing problems in the process modeling stages.


Because the purpose of the Kano model is to help companies prioritize customer satisfaction. Now, satisfying customers and making them see more value in the things you give them is one of the biggest goals of processes, correct?

Let’s see, then, how can these Kano model examples help your company satisfy your customers, whether it’s through products, services, or processes.

See more: Customer Satisfaction Survey Questions: What to consider.

The 5 requirements for customer satisfaction in the Kano model

Kano has defined a methodology to be able to enchant the client by delivering something that goes beyond their expectations. In this context, the requirements of the Kano model are classified as follows.

For each of them, we give 3 examples.

1- Attractive requirements:

If they exist, it’s better. But if they don’t exist, it doesn’t mean that the customer will not be satisfied. They can help you attract more consumers and differentiate your product or service, but they’re not essential to your success.

Kano model examples: Attractive requirements:

  • A restaurant offering free parking on site.
  • A car with a 5-year warranty, instead of 1 year.
  • An airline that offers double miles.

2- One-dimensional or performance requirements:

If they’re present, they satisfy the client, moreover, the more intense, the greater the satisfaction. In other words, the higher their performance, the more satisfied customers will be.

Kano model examples: One-dimensional requirements:

  • The tastier the food, the more satisfied the customer.
  • The more economical, the more satisfaction a car will bring to the customer.
  • Comfort is directly proportional to customer satisfaction.

3- Mandatory or obligatory requirements:

Without them, the customer will certainly be dissatisfied. The customer waits for them and demands that they be present. They are characteristics intrinsic to the product or service, without which it will be considered extremely unsatisfactory.

Kano model examples: Mandatory requirements:

  • Every restaurant has to be clean and hygienic, without this, no customer will be satisfied.
  • An unsafe car, which poses a risk to its occupants, doesn’t present a mandatory requirement that any consumer demands.
  • Would you take off on an airline’s plane if you saw its paint was peeling off? While this may not affect its performance or safety, for an airline, looking safe in every detail is a must. Although, if this was a bus you were taking to the next town, it probably wouldn’t make any difference to you.

4- Indifferent requirements

Features that don’t affect the degree of user satisfaction and with performance, whether present or not.

Kano model examples: Indifferent requirements:

  • Why would it matter to a restaurant customer if the restaurant’s inventory management system is company A or B?
  • What is the difference for the driver of a car if the color of the internal electrical cables he doesn’t see is blue or green?
  • Will a customer feel more satisfied with an airline based on its fuel consumption?

5 – Reverse requirements:

In this case, their existence is perceived negatively by customers. So, they have a reverse effect on customer satisfaction.

Kano model examples: Reverse requirements:

  • A restaurant so crowded that it generates huge queues, may be good for the owner, but displeasing to customers.
  • In a similar way, the smaller the internal space, the lower the satisfaction of vehicle owners.
  • The fewer options and variety on the menu of an airline, the lower the satisfaction of its customers.

Also see ITIL methodology: What it is and how it improves client satisfaction.

The Kano diagram

This graphical representation helps to better understand the Kano model by placing the requirements on Cartesian axes, see.

kano model examples

Note that in order to use Kano’s methodology properly, it’s necessary to seek a balance between these factors, in order to achieve the best performance, with the greatest amount of attractive and performance requirements, the correct presence of mandatory requirements and the non-existence when possible, of the Reverse requirements.

But it’s important to remember that for the methodology to work, it’s necessary to collect data and understand how customers perceive each of these described variables and how they expect them.

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