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Kano’s 3 Customer Experience Needs


Professor Noriaki Kano developed a customer experience model that should be central to any customer service focused organization. Kano’s model focuses on successful service programs centered around customer service teams meeting customer needs. It’s that simple.

Rather than guessing what customers want, focus on the 3 basic needs of customers in developing your customer experience.

Kano’s 3 Customer Experience Needs

Kano’s simple 3 customer experience needs model is centered around creating value by focusing on 3 distinct areas of the experience. The basics, the differentiators, and the constants. Organizations that consistently deliver in these 3 simple areas will be meeting all of the needs of customers when it comes to a positive experience with a service provider, giving itself the greatest chance of creating loyal customers.

1. The Need for Customer Experience Basics

The basics Kano refers to are the must haves when it comes to customer service and customer experience. The basics are your typical customer service positive actions. It’s the choice of words, tone, and availability of contact with your organization. Miss on the basics and you’re immediately creating dissatisfaction with your customers.

Meeting the service basics does not create customer satisfaction. Service basics simply create the base from which you can develop an exceptional customer experience.  The basics are the pre-requisites to any positive experience. Although customers take these actions for granted, service organization cannot.

2. The Need for Customer Experience Excitement

Once you’re delivering on the basics, you’re ready to add the differentiators. Service action, with excitement, is where you set yourself apart from the competition. It’s your niche in the service delivery. Excitement is where you create what others don’t. Deliver what others won’t. The excitement aspect of customer experience is what customers want and it’s what sticks.

The excitement factors surprise the customer and generate customer ‘delight’. 

3. The Need for Customer Experience Performance

The factors that cause satisfaction if the performance is high, and they cause dissatisfaction if the performance is low. Here, the attribute performance-overall satisfaction is linear and symmetric. Typically these factors are directly connected to customers’ explicit needs and desires and a company should try to be competitive here.

Kano’s Customer Experience Model in Practice

In practice, it’s best to see customer experience as a competence, not simply a function.

The end game is to have a customer-centric culture and a set of customer-centric processes, at which point customer-centricity becomes self-sustaining.”

– Harley Manning

Kano’s model is a simple outline to developing customer relationships. Focus on the customer’s needs of experience basics, add excitement about service, and deliver consistent performance. These three steps are the basic building blocks of exceptional positive customer experience.

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  • Stuart

    Could not agree more with the simple approach - keeping
    things simple and consistent has always been key with our customer service.

    However, for internal customer service performance reporting,
    is there an existing model - or a mix of only say the three Key performance Indicators (KPIs)
    that would be essential for the these areas?

    SimpleKPI - KPI Software

    • Flavio Martins

      Great point. I’ve talked about KPI’s before briefly, but it’s a topic that needs more discussion. How to do it, what do track, what REALLY matters when it comes to great service results?

      I like the feature offers with SimpleKPI, but I haven’t tried it yet. I’ll be looking into it and hope to write about my findings.

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