Which attributes would give your product
Kano Model Analysis is a useful technique for deciding which features you want to include in a product or service. It helps you break away from a profit-minimizing mindset that says you've got to have as many features as possible in a product, and helps you think more subtly about the features you include.
This can be the difference between a product or service being profitable or unprofitable. More than this, it helps you develop a product that will truly delight your customers.
According to the Kano Model (developed by Dr Noriaki Kano in the 1980s), a product or service can have three types of attribute (or property):
Threshold Attributes affect customers' satisfaction with the product or service by their absence: If they're not present, customers are dissatisfied. And even if they're present, if no other attributes are present, customers aren't particularly happy (you can see this as the bottom curve on the graph below).
Using the example of a cell phone, the ability to store people's names and telephone numbers is a Threshold Attribute. While a cell phone without this function would work, it would be grossly inconvenient.
It's on Performance Attributes that most products compete. When we weigh up one product against another, and decide what price we're prepared to pay, we're comparing Performance Attributes. These are shown as the middle line on the graph.
On a cell phone, Performance Attributes might be polyphonic ringtones or cameras (although to a teenager, polyphonic ringtones may be Threshold Attributes!)
Excitement Attributes are things that people don't really expect, but which delight them. These are shown as the top curve on the graph above. Even if only a few Performance Attributes are present, the presence of an excitement attribute will lead to high customer satisfaction.
For the right person (and at the time of writing!), a free Bluetooth headset might be an Excitement Attribute on a cell phone.
(There's also a fourth type of attribute: Things customers don't care about at all.)
To use Kano Model Analysis, follow these steps:
Where possible, get your customers to do the classification for you. Partly this will keep you close to your market, but partly it will keep you and even the most out-of-touch people in your company up-to-date with people's changing expectations.
Using the example above, only a few years ago, polyphonic ring tones (and even phone number lists!) were Excitement Attributes on cell phones.
Also, make sure when you choose customers, that you choose customers who are typical of the market you want to sell to.
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