Japan’s professor Noriaki Kano developed the Dynamic Model of Customer Satisfaction (aka The Kano Model) in the early 80s. The model continues today to be an essential tool for organizations to use to enhance customer satisfaction, creating a loyal customer base that is sustainable over the long term.


Customers don’t always know what they want until they see it. By understanding the three types of customer needs and how to reveal them, you’ll be well on your way to knowing customers’ needs as well as, or perhaps better than, they do.

The model involves two dimensions: Achievement (the horizontal axis) and Satisfaction (the vertical axis).

Within these dimensions, Kano isolated and identified three levels of customer expectations: that is, what it takes to positively impact customer satisfaction. The figure above portrays the three levels of need: expected, normal, and exciting.

Expected Needs: Fully satisfying the customer with expected needs only means not angering them. These very basic expectations are also known as the dissatisfiers because by themselves they cannot fully satisfy a customer. However, failure to provide these basic expectations will cause dissatisfaction. Examples include silverware and a place to sit when dining at a restaurant.

Normal Needs:  These next higher-level expectations are known as the satisfiers because while they are the things that customers will readily specify, they can either satisfy or dissatisfy the customer depending on the degree to which they are present. Finding the proper degree to which these attributes are present can be tricky. In the restaurant example, while you might think frequent water refills are satisfying, if the server offers refills too often, the customers can become annoyed.

Exciting Needs: These are the highest level of customer expectations. Kano describes these as the delighters or exciters because they go well beyond anything the customer might imagine or ask for. While their absence does not negatively influence customer satisfaction, their presence greatly improves the likelihood of loyalty. These are unspoken ways of knocking the customer’s socks off. Restaurant examples include an unexpected free appetizer or dessert or a table by the fireplace or with a special view.

Over time, as demonstrated by the arrow going from top left to bottom right in the Kano model, delighters become satisfiers which become dissatisfiers as in, for example, free appetizers or desserts becoming taken for granted and expected so that the customer becomes angry if they are not offered. It is challenging to constantly pulses customers to identify the next delighters while ensuring the continuation of the satisfiers in a way that pleases the customer, and also tending to the dissatisfiers are addressed.

Quality Function Deployment QFD Kano Model Overview