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KANO

KANO

KANO

Use this framework to identify purchase motivations

Noriaki Kano, a professor of quality management at the Tokyo University Of Science in Japan published his model in 1984. Dr Kano demonstrates that blindly fulfilling customer requirements risks missing out on what customers really need and want. His model of customer satisfaction is based on different types of customer expectations.


When people choose a brand or product, they do so using both conscious and subconscious thought. The Kano framework focuses attention on what is of value to the customer. This is a model that helps the business develop products that only offer features that matter because they delight customers. This focus makes sure there is no over delivery and that the product is profitable.


The tool has two axes. The vertical axis measures satisfaction ranging from low at the bottom to high at the top. The horizontal axis measures the degree to which the service or product delivers against what is expected. Poor ability of the product to meet needs is at the left of the axis and excellent fulfilment of meeting needs is at the right.

The Kano framework plots products (or services) against three types of properties or attributes. 


  • Basic – attributes/features that are hygiene factors and have to be in all products. Any improvement on these factors will improve satisfaction but not by a huge amount.

  • Performance – attributes/features in a product that, when improved, generate a proportional increase in satisfaction.

  • Excitement – these are attributes/features that, when added to a product, significantly improve satisfaction.

In order to determine how attributes play together on the two axes, Kano asks two questions about each attribute:

 

  • If (name the attribute) improved in its performance, how would you feel? This question is aimed at determining the functional appeal of the attribute.

  • If this product did not have (name the attribute), how would you feel? This question is to establish the dysfunctional appeal.



Basic attributes 

Basic attributes are the features in products (or services) which, when provided, are regarded as neutral because they are expected. When we put fuel in our car and we achieve the expected miles per gallon and performance, we are neutral in terms of satisfaction.  If we are sat in a meeting room in a hotel and the air conditioning is perfect, we don't think about the room temperature. It is the temperature we require and expect. However, if the room is too cold, it would create a high level of dissatisfaction. A cell phone that needs charging every 24 hours is considered basic since this is the norm. These are examples of basic attributes that have to be part of any offer if a company is to play in a market. They are sometimes referred to as hygiene factors.


Performance attributes

Performance attributes are the requirements that customers have from a service or product that can vary and their satisfaction with the product varies in proportion. When checking into a hotel a customer would be satisfied if it takes five minutes. They would be dissatisfied if took 10 minutes and very satisfied if it took only two minutes.  If there is a 10% improvement in the performance of the product or service and this results in a 10% improvement to the level of satisfaction, it is considered a performance attribute. Satisfaction increases in a linear way to the improvement in performance.


Excitement attributes

Excitement attributes are the things that we get from services or products that are unexpected and that delight us. For example a phone that never needs charging would undoubtedly delight customers.  It should be noted that excitement attributes eventually become performance attributes and ultimately basic ones over time. Wi-Fi in coffee shops was at one time different and special and created excitement, but over time it has become a basic part of the offer. These excitement attributes are often innovations and important for any company that wants to become world class.

Kano recognises that the position of attributes changes over time.  The performance features on mobile phones which once delighted us are now assumed as standard and taken for granted. The complimentary shampoo, body wash and hand cream in hotels no longer excites us. There is a need to constantly launch innovations because if they have any value, they will almost always be copied by competitors and so remove the unique advantage.


In addition to the three attributes of excitement, performance and basics, Kano identified two more sets of attributes.


Indifferent attributes

Kano’s model has a zone of indifference which contains attributes that people don't care about. If they exist, they are unnecessary in a product, especially if they raise the cost of manufacture. Removing them would have little impact on sales but would increase the profitability of the product.


Reverse attributes

Sometimes features are present in an offer and they decreases satisfaction. Take for example the clock in a modern car that is controlled by a computer program that makes it difficult to adjust and change. This may be considered too complicated and unnecessary by an elderly technophobe. A car with a simpler analogue clock that is controlled with a button may be preferred even though it has less attributes. Understanding customers’ needs is a vital part of the Kano tool. If some of the product features are identified as not only unnecessary but unattractive, they could be eliminated from the offer improving its appeal and reducing its cost.

In order to determine how attributes play together on the two axes, Kano asks two questions about each attribute:


If (name the attribute) improved in its performance, how would you feel? This question is aimed at determining the functional appeal of the attribute.

If this product did not have (name the attribute), how would you feel? This question is to establish the dysfunctional appeal.


A response scale such as the following could be used to capture the answers:

·         Like it

·         Expect it

·         Don’t care

·         Can live with it

·         Dislike it


For example, if someone dislikes the functional attribute and says that they would be happy if it wasn't there (they liked the dysfunctional aspect), then quite clearly this attribute could be labelled "reverse". The product would be better without it.


Analyses of the answers to the two questions enable them to be plotted on the axes of satisfaction and implementation, namely:


  • Performance attributes – these are the attributes that people like having and dislike not having.

  • Basic attributes – these are the attributes people expect to have and would be upset if they were not there.

  • Excitement attributes – these are the attributes that are unexpected and would delight the customer.


Things to think about:


  • The Kano tool can play an important role in innovation. It can be used to find out the improvements or innovations that could excite people about the product. They are the things which would make the product special and differentiated.


  • An alternative tool for the same purpose could be SIMALTO (check SIMALTO out on this website).

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