Kano Model Analysis for Improving Quality and Customer Satisfaction
Every company's success depends on its ability to satisfy customer needs in an effective way. However many business organizations take customer needs and quality for granted by making many assumptions regarding their customer satisfaction, needs, requirements and preferences. The reality is that without really understanding what customers need it is impossible to satisfy their demands by simply using guesswork.
Ideally, quality should be defined by the customer. The most effective way to define quality for any company is to directly ask the customers. Quality is what the customer appreciates, likes and expects in terms of satisfying the needs. Quality and customer value should be delivered in the way it is defined and required by the customer or end user of your products and services.
It is very important for any organization to develop the right mechanisms, tools and approaches to gather customers' feedback on their satisfaction and perceived value and quality. Gathering efficient and effective customer feedback is an art which has to be developed by the company because the customers always know what they need however sometimes it is a challenge to communicate in a clear way in terms of features and benefits which are beneficial for the company.
Regardless of the industry, company and product types, there are always three different types of customer needs which are important to be defined in order to really understand and use the feedback from the customers. The Kano model is very effective for improving the company's understanding of the customers' needs. The customer feedback is converted into specific quality requirements which are specific and productive for the organization by using QFD.
The Kano model evaluates the supplier's outputs or results on a scale from poor to excellent and the customer satisfaction from poor to excellent.
The model was originally developed by Dr. Noriako Kano who defined the three levels of customer needs which are expected, normal and exciting.
1. At the expected needs level all the core product and service features must be present. This includes the features, functions and attributes of company's products and services which must be delivered because every customer expects them to be delivered. If these features are not present customers will be totally dissatisfied and because of this these features are also called dissatisfiers. This group of attributes and features (dissatisfiers) must be defined and included in the product and service.
2. At the normal needs level the features and functionalities included drive the customer satisfaction and because of that they are called satisfiers. Some of them are not expected by the customer and in addition to the basic needs these features form a satisfying experience for the customer.
3. The third level of customer needs includes the product and service features which help the company establishes itself in the marketplace as a dominant leader. This is the group of product functions and features that are not expected to be included in an average product and they deliver the highest customer satisfaction. These features are the real differentiators.
By using this 3-step Kano model for analysis, companies can successfully define their products and services in terms of quality features by using the customer needs as a main driver. At the first level, define the must-have features, at the next level define the good-to-have features and at the third level define the features that will absolutely delight the customers and make you the best product and high-quality provider in your industry.