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The Kano Model: Approach to understand the customer voice

Being the main objective of lean six sigma in relation to product development to ensure and increase customer satisfaction levels, it is important to understand the value of customers insights. Six Sigma is a quality control and quality improvement methodology that can be implemented on corporations to be able to measure product attributes in terms of the value added delivered to the customer.

Under this criteria, what tools or procedures are better to use to increase customer satisfaction level? On the Six Sigma theory, the concept of Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a very important factor that needs to be included on every Project we undertake. What are the most common tools use nowadays to evaluate and consider this? How to evaluate customer preferences for product development?

What are the most common tools use nowadays to evaluate and consider the VoC? How to evaluate customer preferences for product development?

According to George and Rowlands on their book Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook., the purposes of the Voice of customer(VOC) tools are:

  • To figure out what customers care about

  • To set priorities and goals consistent with customer needs.

  • To determine what customer needs you can profitably meet.

Usually, the purposes of these survey or data collection from the customer are the following:

  1. Which are the basic real needs for this product or service?

  2. What features of the product and service are more relevant for the objective customer?

  3. Which feature is redundant?

  4. What most of the objective market value the most in regard to your product or service that you provide?

Answering these questions we will obtain data needed for consideration on business strategy and product or service development. On this post, we are going to focus a little bit on Kano Analysis.The purpose of using Kano modeling is mainly to understand and qualify the value that our customers’ place on the product or services that you provide once data have been collected. This reduced the risk of providing products or services that over-missing criticals with little importance or missing critical requirements.

Kano Analysis is used mainly in several ways like:

  1. Improve to help redesign a product, service, or process.

  2. Use after surveys and interviews or focus groups, to confirm needs spoken by the customer are critical,

  3. Use to define or measure to understand scope and importance of project goals.

To classify the key features of a product or service on the following denominations/

  • Dissatisfiers or basic needs: Requirements expected features or characteristics of a product or a service.

  • Satisfiers or performance needs Standard characteristics that increase or decrease satisfaction by their degree.

  • Delighters or exciting needs: Unexpected features or characteristics that impress customers and earn you extra credit.

Kano analysis is a simple but very powerful tool that can help in making appropriate business decisions related to the products or services that we offer to our customer. As an example, when considering the decision of purchase a car, there are certain features that buyers will give priorities against others. A noisy ride, bad reliability reports, uncomfortable interiors will make this car to be out of the market and lose money very soon (dissatisfiers),on the other hand, a car with a good gas economy, extended warranty, affordable maintenance, a good sound system will satisfy the market needs and it most likely will be competitive ( satisfiers) . Finally, models which include maintenance over a good period of time or miles, powerful HP, premium sound system, outstanding customer service and leather cushion seats will be delighters and will have excellent value for this category, this car will be on the top of the list for the customers.

It is important also to notice that these qualifications in most cases are only temporal since customers preferences and exigencies might change over time. As an example, 5 years ago to have a big screen on a cell phone was a delighter feature, nowadays is a dissatisfier for many market segments having a cell phone with a tiny screen ad it will be most likely out of the market soon.



George M.& Rowlands D.& Orice M.& Maxey J.(2015), Lean Six Sigma Tools box,

Stroud J. (2016), The Kano Analysis: Customer needs are ever changing,