The Kano Model – how to delight your customer

The Kano model was developed in the 1980s by Professor Noriaki Kano. The model focuses on client satisfaction and provides a simple ranking scheme that distinguishes between essential and differentiating attributes to enrich client satisfaction.

Using the Kano model helps businesses understand varying levels of value that clients place on the different features of its product and services. The model helps a business actualise what the client really expects and to map their current performance level.

Mapping how client needs are fulfilled based on 8 dimensions:

  1. Product/service
  2. Quality
  3. Delivery precision
  4. Special request handling
  5. Price
  6. Service – availability
  7. Service – knowledge
  8. Service – professionalism

By using these 8 dimensions we can define:

  • the different categories of clients we are servicing
  • our current service level towards the customers in each category.

This enables marketing and sales teams to focus on delivering Delighters for their clients. Delighters or Exciters, as defined by Kano, are the product or service features that increase client satisfaction, often adding a premium price to the product or service. 

To be able to implement Delighters, Kano identified the four client requirements (or potential needs) categories for products and services.


These needs are basic requirements that the client most often doesn’t articulate when enquiring about a certain service but will be dissatisfied if they are not met. They are the basic needs the client is looking to meet when engaging with a product/service provider in the first place.

In the context of actuarial consultancy services, an example of a dissatisfier can occur if fewer experts are engaged in the project than agreed, which inevitably extends the delivery timeline.


These needs are asked for and are thought of as important to the client. Hence, they are the expectations that the client has above the basic needs. In this instance, it is important to work with the client to fully understand why they require a particular feature or specification. The more specific their request, the more intrinsic the feature/specification will be to the project. Satisfiers can be mapped by conducting client surveys.

By definition, for those clients where a written contractual obligation is agreed, ‘satisfiers’ are expected to be delivered.


Delighters are existing needs that the client has not defined themselves. They exceed what clients expected, and by meeting these needs you retain clients, convert them to advocates and gain competitive advantages. Providing a high standard of service requires the supplier to put themselves in their client’s shoes to understand their needs and create ways of providing a service beyond expectations.

An example of a delighter is providing additional added value consulting services above what was agreed.

When the delighters become the new satisfiers

In the 1980s it was typical for UK banks to offer a free gift for opening a new account such as a money box for a child’s account or a pen for an adult one.

As this became the norm, banks had to look for other incentives or enticements to command market share. The 1990s saw them give away calculators, books and begin to offer telephone banking.

Again, expectations shifted, and banks are now providing delighters such as £100 cash when opening a new account and extended Saturday hours is expected. But these too have become the norm. It’ll be interesting to see what comes next.

At MBE Consulting we always strive to delight our clients. Recently we launched the Actuarial Performance Management (APM™) Framework, our unique and proprietary methodology for transforming actuarial performance.

By offering a complimentary Assessment of clients’ actuarial performance we have been able to advise and support them in working towards achieving Actuarial Excellence. Click here to request your complimentary APM Assessment.  

Rachel Long