Kano Model

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The Kano Model is used to understand and link customer requirements to customer satisfaction. The model uses three dimensions, or characteristics, to define how a customer feels about their product or service. 

Model Dimensions

These three dimensions, or characteristics, of the model are:

  • Basic Needs
  • Performance Needs 
  • Excitement Needs

Not all critical-to-quality (CTQ) requirements are created equal. The Kano model allows you to prioritize what CTQ's you want to address in your products or services. 

You can map these against a matrix that shows the customers’ CTQ Requirements:

  • The things that absolutely must be present in a product or service, 
  • The things that, if you have more of them, performance is better, and 
  • The things that delight the customer and differentiate you from your competitors.

Basic Needs

In graph form, the lower curve includes things that must be present in a product or service in order to satisfy the customer. These are the basic needs. If they’re not present, the result may be complaints or loss of business.

If they are present, the result is customer neutrality. The customer doesn’t care one way or the other because they have to be present for the product or service to be functional.

These requirements are so obvious to the customer that they are typically not even stated as requirements. When these requirements are met they are usually not noticed. When not met, dissatisfaction is present.


  • Wheels included on new car
  • Standard employee benefits
  • Good safety
  • Not getting a busy signal for a client service number 

Car Example

Kano Model Example

Basic Needs - Performance Needs - Excitement Need

Performance Needs

In the middle, you see a line going straight up at a 45-degree angle. This represents performance needs. The more functional the product or service is or the better it performs, the more the customer is satisfied.

These are requirements which customers openly state they want. When these  requirements are met the customer is satisfied.


  • Gas mileage
  • Price, performance, delivery
  • More choice in benefits
  • On-time arrivals on airlines

Excitement Needs

The upper curve represents excitement needs. Excitement needs are those things that are unexpected by the customer. The customer neither expects them nor knows they actually want them, but they stand to separate you from your competitors. If you deliver them, your customers are delighted.

Hotel Example

Kano Model Example

Basic Needs - Performance Needs - Excitement Need

These are requirements that customer typically cannot or does not articulate. When requirements are met they are EXCITED. They are "enhancers" and have "attractive qualities".


  • Headlight Washers
  • Home “New” Car Delivery
  • More choice in benefits
  • Gourmet food in airline coach class

Kano Model Matrix

Kano Model Matrix

From Kano Model to Six Sigma Tools

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