How to Maximise Customer Satisfaction with Minimum Features using Kano Model

How to Maximise Customer Satisfaction with Minimum Features using Kano Model

8 mins readComment
Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Dec 8, 2023 17:00 IST

How does the Kano model make customer satisfaction the best it can be? It prioritises captivating features while streamlining costs. Used for segmenting customer needs and expectations, it crafts exceptional product experiences that stand out in today's competitive landscape. Learn how this framework is beneficial for product teams. 

kano model

With global competition rising today, time and resources are not always readily available while developing a product with too many features. The product backlog can’t just keep becoming larger. 

Considering these constraints, the product team has to ensure the customers are satisfied, or even delighted, with the minimal and right amount of features. One way to deal with it is to prioritise features that align with optimal customer satisfaction more than anything else in the product roadmap. And this framework is popularly called the Kano Model. 

What is Kano Model?

Kano model is a framework that helps a product team understand which attractive feature (s) will increase customer satisfaction during the development process without being costlier. It follows the less is more approach. Doing this analysis benefits the business to control costs by adding only the features that matter to the customer. 

How the Kano Model Works

5 Categories of the Kano Model

The Kano Model is an empirical way to categorise what makes customers satisfied, dissatisfied, or indifferent based on the product’s performance features.

To understand the factors, there are five categories of customer responses based on their emotions. 


Emotional Response Type

Description

Example

Must-Be (or Must-Have)/ Expected/Threshold attributes

These are expected, and their absence leads to dissatisfaction, but their presence doesn't particularly excite users.

A laptop's power button—users expect it to be present and functional. Its absence would cause frustration, but its presence doesn't particularly excite users.

Performance Features/Normal/Satisfiers

They correlate with satisfaction linearly—more of the feature leads to more satisfaction, fewer leads to less satisfaction.

Camera resolution in a smartphone is a performance feature. Higher resolution generally leads to higher satisfaction, while lower resolution might lead to dissatisfaction.

Attractive Features/Exciting/Delighters

Unexpected features that delight customers when present but aren't expected. Their absence doesn't cause dissatisfaction.

A smartphone's facial recognition unlocking feature can be attractive. Its presence surprises and pleases users, but its absence doesn't lead to dissatisfaction.

Indifferent Features

Features that neither significantly increase nor decrease satisfaction. Users are indifferent towards these features.

The design of screws inside an electronic device might fall into this category. Users generally don't pay much attention to them as they don't impact their overall satisfaction.

Reverse Features

Features that, when present, cause dissatisfaction, but their absence doesn't necessarily lead to satisfaction.

Intrusive pop-up ads in a paid app are reverse features. Their presence annoys users, but their absence doesn't particularly increase satisfaction; users expect an ad-free experience after payment.

Kano Model

Axes: Customer Satisfaction versus Product Functionality

As you can see from the image above, the Kano model contains two dimensions, spread across two axes. 

Customer Satisfaction (Low to High) - The Kano model of customer satisfaction can comprise various sublevels that are helpful to differentiate what small features additions can enhance. 

Customer satisfaction axis

Achievement or Product Functionality (Absent to Fully Implemented) - The product functionality scale defines if the feature is absent to its best possible implementation. 

Product functionality axis

Evaluation of Customer Reactions Based on Product Features

Based on the scales and the five categories, there are two questions, which are usually termed as the Kano questionnaire. 

  1. How do you feel if you have this feature?
  2. How would you feel if there was more of…?

The first question is about the functionality, and the second, on the dysfunctionality. The goal is to get a direct answer, leaving no room for ambiguity in the responses. 

The answer is given, usually with these responses. 

  • I like it
  • I expect it
  • I am neutral
  • I can tolerate it
  • I dislike it

Metrics to Use with Kano Model

Here are some metrics to consider when measuring the impact of the Kano model of customer satisfaction. 

Metrics

Description

Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT)

Quantifies satisfaction levels with specific features.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Measures the likelihood of customers recommending features.

Feature Importance and Performance

Compares feature importance with satisfaction for prioritisation.

Feature Adoption Rate

Tracks the rate of customer adoption for specific features.

Customer Feedback Analysis

Examines qualitative feedback to understand feature preferences.

Time-to-Market

Evaluates the speed of implementing or improving features.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Assesses financial impact against enhanced customer satisfaction.

Customer Retention and Churn Rate

Monitors changes in retention linked to feature improvements.

Kano Model Example | Mobile Phone Features

Feature: Facial Recognition Unlocking

Emotional Response Type

Must-Be (or Must-Have)/ Expected/Threshold attributes: Users expect a reliable facial recognition feature on their smartphones. Its absence would lead to dissatisfaction, as it's now a common feature in modern devices. Its presence doesn't particularly excite users. They expect it to function seamlessly, though.

Example Response: If a smartphone lacks a functioning facial recognition feature, users might respond with "I dislike it" as they expect this feature to be present for convenience. But, if the feature is present and working well, users might respond with "I expect it" or "I am neutral" as it meets their expectations but doesn't necessarily excite them.

Performance Features/Normal/Satisfiers: The accuracy and speed of the facial recognition system can be a performance feature. A faster and more accurate system typically leads to higher satisfaction, while a slower or less accurate system might result in dissatisfaction.

Example Response: If the facial recognition is swift and accurate, users might respond with "I like it" or "I expect it" as it meets or exceeds their expectations. However, if the system is slow or inaccurate, users might respond with "I can tolerate it" or "I dislike it" due to decreased satisfaction.

Attractive Features/Exciting/Delighters: Additional unexpected features linked to facial recognition, like personalised animated effects or security enhancements, could fall into this category. Their presence would surprise and delight users, but their absence wouldn't necessarily cause dissatisfaction.

Example Response: If the phone has entertaining animated effects linked to facial recognition, users might respond with "I like it" or "I am neutral" as it pleasantly surprises them but doesn't affect their satisfaction significantly if absent.

Indifferent Features: Some technical backend improvements to the facial recognition algorithm or hardware might be indifferent to users. They might not notice or care about these details unless they significantly impact the performance.

Example Response: Users might respond with "I am neutral" as these technical improvements don't affect their overall satisfaction or usability of the feature noticeably.

Reverse Features: Intrusive behaviours or privacy concerns related to facial recognition might lead to dissatisfaction. For instance, if the feature is invasive or misuses personal data, users might respond negatively.

Example Response: If the facial recognition system compromises privacy or feels intrusive, users might respond with "I dislike it" due to concerns about privacy or security.

How to Use the Kano Model (to Prioritise Features in Roadmap)

Here is how you can prioritise features in your product roadmap, using the Kano model. 

  • List all potential features for your product.
  • Ask customers about their satisfaction and expectations for each feature using the Kano model questionnaire.
  • Sort features into categories: Must-Have, Performance, Attractive, Indifferent, and Reverse.
  • Prioritise:
    • Must-Have: Ensure they're included to prevent dissatisfaction.
    • Performance: Enhance these incrementally for increased satisfaction.
    • Attractive: Consider adding some to delight users.
    • Indifferent: Assess need for improvement based on impact.
    • Reverse: Address issues causing dissatisfaction.
  • Map features onto your product roadmap based on importance, impact, feasibility, and alignment with goals.
  • Regularly review and update the roadmap considering evolving needs, feedback, and market changes.
  • Account for constraints like resources, time, budget, and technical feasibility.
  • Communicate the reasoning behind feature prioritisation to stakeholders, aligning with overall product strategy.

How the Kano Model Benefits You

  • Prioritises features efficiently based on customer satisfaction levels.
  • Distinguishes between essential, attractive, and indifferent features.
  • Adaptable to various industries beyond product development.
  • Facilitates the selection of metrics for gauging customer satisfaction effectively.
  • Guides businesses in staying competitive by meeting evolving customer needs.

FAQs

What are the core principles of the Kano model and how do they influence product development?

The core principles of the Kano model revolve around categorising customer responses into five types: Must-Be, Performance Features, Attractive Features, Indifferent Features, and Reverse Features. These principles influence product development by guiding prioritisation – ensuring essential features are present, enhancing performance features for increased satisfaction, and considering surprising, attractive elements to delight users.

How does the Kano model distinguish between 'Must-Have' and 'Attractive' features?

The Kano model distinguishes 'Must-Have' features as those expected by customers and whose absence causes dissatisfaction. In contrast, 'Attractive' features are unexpected delights that, when present, please users but their absence does not lead to dissatisfaction.

Can the Kano model be applied to various industries beyond product development?

Yes, the Kano model's principles of categorising customer preferences and aligning features with satisfaction can be applied beyond product development. It can be adapted to services, user experiences, software, and diverse industries. 

What metrics align perfectly with the Kano model for gauging customer satisfaction?

Several metrics complement the Kano model for evaluating customer satisfaction, such as Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), Feature Importance and Performance analysis, Feature Adoption Rate tracking, Customer Feedback Analysis, Time-to-Market assessment, Return on Investment (ROI) analysis, and monitoring Customer Retention and Churn Rate.

How can businesses adapt their strategies using the Kano model to stay ahead in competitive markets?

Businesses can leverage the Kano model by prioritising features aligned with optimal customer satisfaction. By focusing on essential and performance-driven features while surprising users with attractive elements, businesses can meet evolving customer demands, enhance customer loyalty, and stay ahead in competitive markets by delivering superior and compelling products or services.

About the Author
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Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio