Kano Model

The Kano model is a theory of product development and customer satisfaction developed in the 80’s by Professor Noriaki Kano which classifies customer preferences into five categories:

  • Attractive
  • One-Dimensional
  • Must-Be
  • Indifferent
  • Reverse

These categories have been translated into English using various different names (delighters/exciters, satisfiers, dissatisfiers, etc.), but all refer to the original articles written by Kano.

Satisfaction drivers terminology

Author(s) Type 1 Type 2 Type 3 Type 4
Herzberg et al. (1959)
Hygiene Motivator
Kano (1984)
Must-be Attractive One-dimensional Indifferent
Cadotte and Turgeon (1988)
Dissatisfier Satisfier Critical Neutral
Brandt (1988)
Minimum requirement Value enhancing Hybrid Unimportant as determinant
Venkitaraman and Jaworski (1993)
Flat Value-added Key Low
Brandt and Scharioth (1998)
Basic Attractive One-dimensional Low impact
Llosa (1997, 1999)
Basic Plus Key Secondary

The Kano model offers some insight into the product attributes which are perceived to be important to customers. The purpose of the tool is to support product specification and discussion through better development team understanding. Kano’s model focuses on differentiating product features, as opposed to focusing initially on customer needs. Kano also produced a methodology for mapping consumer responses to questionnaires onto his model.


Kano_ModelQuality Function Deployment (QFD) makes use of the Kano model in terms of the structuring of the comprehensive QFD  matrices. Mixing Kano types in QFD matrices can lead to distortions in the customer weighting of product characteristics. For instance, mixing Must-Be product characteristics –such as cost, reliability, workmanship, safety, and technologies used in the product–in the initial House of Quality usually result in completely filled rows and columns with high correlation values. Other comprehensive QFD techniques using additional matrices are used to avoid such issues. Kano’s model provides the insights into the dynamics of customer preferences to understand these methodology dynamics.



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