How does the Kano Model work?

The Kano model helps us to understand customer perspectives on the different key features of a product or service. In particular, the two measures of satisfaction and sentiment mean that responses fall into one of five categories:

Kano Model Tale

1. Attractive requirements – If these features exist, it is better, but their lack of existence does not bring about dissatisfaction. They help differentiate your business, but are not essential components.

  • Examples – The interface and usability of the iPhone when we used it for the first time.

2. Indifferent requirements – Features that don’t affect the degree of user satisfaction or performance whether present or not.

  • Example – Customer satisfaction of an airline’s fuel consumption.

3. Mandatory requirements – Features that are intrinsic to the product or service, without which the consumer will certainly be dissatisfied.

  • Example – Requirement of every restaurant to be clean and hygienic.

4. Performance requirements – Features that, if present, satisfy the consumer and increase satisfaction proportionally to an increase in the intensity of the feature.

  • Example – The tastier the food, the more satisfied the customer.

5. Reverse requirements – Features that, if present dissatisfy the consumer and are perceived negatively by customers.

  • Example – The longer the queue for a restaurant, the less customer satisfaction.

The decay of delight

Over time the attractive requirements of your product or service will become performance or mandatory requirements as customer expectations adapt and become used to your offering.

A great way to show this is using the above example of an iPhone touchscreen that caused such amazement back in 2007 and is now merely an expectation when purchasing a phone.

The reason for this decay in delight has several factors, but the two most prominent ones are the constant evolution of technology and emergence of competitors.

Thus, Kano models are not static and change over time with the current customer expectations representing a snapshot in time rather than predicting constant values.

How to use it

With an understanding of the Kano Model, you can start conducting market research on your product or service and begin working out which key features are vital to its success.

There are a few methods for doing this including interviewing your customers and providing a quantitative questionnaire.

When crafting the questions, it is important to keep them focused on the product or service itself and not your brand or marketing efforts. IBM recorded higher success rates using the Kano Model when they tested only 15-20 features rather than a more extensive 30-40 list. This is because testing more than 20 features can be overwhelming for both the customer and analyser.

To work out which of the requirements your customer’s answers fit into, it is useful to phrase the question in two ways:

  1. If you had (a feature), how do you feel?
  2. If you didn’t have (a feature), how do you feel?

Then allow for multiple choice answers to the question including:

  1. I like it
  2. I expect it
  3. I’m neutral
  4. I can tolerate it
  5. I dislike it

The data from this research will allow you to record extensive quantitative data that will be useful for prioritising key features, but will not tell you why customers think in this way. Thus, it is important to also use some qualitative questions that can more easily be set up in an interview format. These answers will allow you to get a better understanding of the customer and to more effectively create a marketing strategy that appeals to your target audience.


The Kano Model in Video Marketing

The 5 different requirements can greatly aid your video marketing efforts and form the basis of your awareness, consideration and decision videos. The awareness video should emotionally engage your audience and subtly highlight some of the main attractive features and their impact on the customer’s experience and wider life. Combining this with an effective use of the benefits ladder will help you to create the perfect awareness video.

The mandatory and performance requirements of the model should be highlighted in the consideration video. This video should draw on what the customer already expects and show how the product or service performs better than alternatives through its performance. It is also useful to highlight a few of the attractive features near the end of the video in this consideration to drive home the extra value of your offering.

The decision video should answer any of the doubts and reverse requirements that a customer might have about your product or service. In particular the reverse requirements here are answered by this video to remove the final barrier to purchase from the customer and can include factors such as the difficulty of installation, switching time and costs and user reviews.

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