Kano Model of Customer Satisfaction

The Kano model was named after the inventor Noriaki Kano and measures the relationship between the characteristics of a product/a service and the associated customer satisfaction. You may now ask how this relates to individual software. From our point of view, greatly.


With a customized software solution, the customer's expectations are also linked to the features, functions and the design of the applications. Some features may be taken for granted by the customer, other features may excite the customer, still others may be rejected because they are not considered necessary. For this reason, the customer satisfaction model developed in 1978 is important to include in the planning of a new software project. In the Kano model, customer requirements are divided into five different characteristics:


Basic features: These are taken for granted and are only noticed when they have not been fulfilled. This non-fulfilment inevitably leads to customer dissatisfaction. If, on the other hand, the features are present, no additional customer satisfaction arises. Especially if several user groups are involved in the project planning, it is worthwhile to briefly explain these "expected requirements" so that all stakeholders find themselves in the same starting position.


Performance characteristics: These factors have a high impact on the satisfaction curve as they are required by the customer. If only one must-criterion is not fulfilled, dissatisfaction results. Depending on the degree of fulfilment of the performance spectrum, satisfaction increases. These "normal requirements" are best formulated clearly by the customer in a specification.


Enthusiasm features: These are functions that reduce processes and save time, "features & functions" that the customer does not expect. Functions that offer the customer real added value will drive up customer satisfaction. If these features are missing, this does not create dissatisfaction as the customer did not expect them. If, however, these "delightful requirements" even simplify the customer's work and make the software easier to use, you can be sure that customer satisfaction will increase exponentially.


Irrelevant features: These features have no impact on customer satisfaction, regardless of the degree of fulfilment.


Rejection features: Features that are rejected by the customer exert a disproportionately negative impact on customer satisfaction when the level of non-fulfilment is increased. If the characteristics are fulfilled, on the other hand, they hardly have a positive impact. Here it is important to be able to interpret the customer's wishes correctly.


It would be wrong to conclude that customer satisfaction is complete with this model. More functionality in a software is not automatically better. Being able to operate only the basic features is not enough to stand out from the competition. The key to success lies in an intensive dialogue with the customer. Even when a project is successfully completed, there are dynamic factors that change over time. Through direct exchange, customer wishes can be implemented in agile project cycles. Customer loyalty arises above all through quality and enthusiasm features.


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