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Kano Analysis

Explore, measure and prioritize customer needs, and identify areas for remedial action.

Without Sapio’s industry knowledge, honesty and creativity, we would not have the reputation and track record that we do.

Will Gardiner
Senior Director of Demand Gen | Advisor & CMO at Nibble
Analytic Partners

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Introduction to Kano

The Kano Model is an analysis tool to explore and measure customer needs. It’s a way to identify the basic needs of customers, as well as performance and excitement requirements. This model is based on the view that functionality is not the only measure of how ‘good’ a product. Customer emotions should also be taken into account.

The idea is that, as important as the basic functions of products or services are, adding new attractive features will help with customer satisfaction. For instance, when buying a new car, you’d expect the car to go faster when you accelerate. However, adding a virtual assistant feature would increase customer satisfaction and make you stand out from competitors.

Strengths of Kano Analysis

  • One of the biggest strengths of Kano is its ability to effectively identify the needs and desires of customers.
  • Kano provides a type of ‘route map’ for product and service development, identifying priority features for improvement and attention.
  • It can also be used for product introduction, as Kano helps us to understand which features should be included to increase the chances of the product or service being a success.
  • The analysis provided from Kano is extremely useful in terms of figuring out customers’ priorities and needs, whatever stage a product or service is at*.
  • Kano builds on the Net Promoter Score (NPS), showing you what you need to focus on to improve satisfaction. This step is often over looked.

*Although we specifically mention new product development, it is just as important to review features periodically (if not continually) as consumer needs change.  For instance, air conditioning in a car may have once been a ‘delighter’ (i.e. not expected, but increasing satisfaction if included), but now it is seen as a ‘must have’ feature.

Weaknesses of Kano Analysis

  • As great as the results we receive are, analysing them is difficult and requires a high level of knowledge to do it correctly.
  • These surveys can be tedious and dull, there’s not much variety in terms of questions being asked and depending on the number of features in question, the survey can get quite exhausting (for this reason it is important to give as much time and effort at the start of the project as the end).

How does the Kano model work?

The model categorises the features and attributes of a product or service in five ways:

Threshold Attributes (Basics) (Must-have features) – these are features that customers expect the service or product to have, these aren’t features that would necessarily impress customers but can cause dissatisfaction if missing.

Performance Attributes (Satisfiers) (One-Dimensional features) – these features don’t come with the deal, rather add to the enjoyment level.

Excitement Attributes (Delighters) (Attractive features) – these are the crucial features that increase the product or service’s competitors edge. This is the attribute to focus on as it will put you on a pedestal among your competitors.

Indifferent Attributes – these are features that customers cannot decide if they are good or bad.

Reverse Attributes – these features can be high quality or performance, but not increase satisfaction levels.

In order to get to these definitions, consumers are asked two questions:

  1. How do you feel if you have this feature? (Functional Question)
  2. How do you feel if you do not have this feature? (Dysfunctional Question)

Both questions are answered on a five-point, single-coded scale. The chart below shows how each feature is categorised based on the answers to the functional vs dysfunctional questions.

– Attractive features – These features are not expected but are liked by customers
M – Must-be features – These are must have features and customers dislike not having them
P – Performance features – Features customers like having and dislike not having
I – Indifferent features – Customers are neutral to the feature or can tolerate it
Q – Questionable features – Conflicting responses from customers
R – Reverse features – When customers like not having the feature or dislike having it

Adding more depth to Kano:

An additional question can be added to determine how important the given feature is to customers. For instance, we might ask “how important is it for cars to have a reversing sensor system?”, using a Likert scale for respondents to rate the importance of each feature, such as below.

Kano is an even stronger tool if NPS data is overlaid:

By including the NPS scores of existing customers when trying to improve satisfaction, you can quickly map out the distracting areas to ignore.

Tips on using Kano Analysis:

  • When listing out features, it’s a good idea to show what the feature does through a prototype, or an explanatory text description.
  • The number of features being tested also has an effect on the results of the Kano Analysis, so it is recommended that you test between 15-20 features.
  • Selecting customers is another important step. You must consider certain demographics and personas that your customers belong to, in order to achieve results that will be representative of your target audience.
  • Clarity of each question is also vital; one feature should be present in each question and it should be designed to benefit the user.
  • Other than just having a question, it might be useful to have a display of what each feature does and then ask them a question. This interactive display will help them to better understand the functionality of each feature, whilst also making the questionnaire more interactive and interesting for respondents.

At Sapio Research, we have a team of researchers who are well-seasoned with carrying out Kano analysis.  Some common sectors that we have used Kano for include construction and IT and software, but it is a technique which can be applied to any relevant product or service.  To find out more and see how we can help you, simply drop us an email or give us a call.

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