Utilizing Kano Model For Your Next B2B Redesign

Divami Design Labs
8 min readJan 12, 2023

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Ideating, designing, and creating B2B product features is an exhilarating experience for your team. Everybody has suggestions they believe could significantly impact the user experience, from the first designs to manufacturing and promotion.

With so much excitement, how do you select which aspects to pursue and which should be relinquished? Which developments should be prioritized, and which should be deferred?

Understanding whether product features make logical and economic sense might prolong your B2B product launch and potentially result in monetary losses if you make the wrong choice.

This is where Kano Analysis comes in. The Kano model can help you improve your B2B products by allowing you to choose and prioritize feature production according to client inputs.

What Exactly Is The Kano Model?

When a B2B business designs or redesigns a product, they often have a plethora of functionalities to choose from. For example, when a logistics service provider redesigns a product, it may consider improvements in offering a 24-hour delivery instead of 48-hour delivery or real-time tracking to other client companies.

If the product wants to sustain, it cannot simply include every function conceivable in its product. Likewise, it cannot simply maximize performance for each feature they provide. Overdelivery makes profitability even more difficult.

Due to capacity limits, tech B2B enterprises often confront niche product development problems. Creating or upgrading features necessitates the use of development resources. Because there are just never enough resources to build every feature, adjustments to a product roadmap are made.

The Kano Model is a strategy for prioritizing items on a B2B product roadmap depending on their potential to satisfy the end users. Development teams can balance the expenses of implementing a high-satisfaction feature to decide if or not putting it on the roadmap is an intelligent decision.

The Kano Model is one of several prioritization frameworks available to assist B2B product teams in prioritizing tasks. Kano, for example, may help teams determine which features will please, if not thrill, consumers. Product managers frequently use the Kano Model to evaluate prospective new additions by classifying them. These feature classifications might vary from those likely to disappoint clients to those more likely to please or even thrill them.

Kano analysis is a method that can help you improve your B2B product or service by analyzing client responses.

The Development Of Kano Analysis: Dr. Noriaki Kano

Dr. Noriaki Kano, a Tokyo University of Science professor, developed the Kano model in the 19080s. Dr. Kano discovered via his study that the amount of functionality provided by B2B product features influences client satisfaction. Furthermore, he discovered that features can be divided into five categories and that surveys can be used to evaluate what clients think about a feature.

The Five Feature Categories Kano Analysis

– Must-have or must-be (basic features)

– Performance (one-dimensional)

– Appealing or enjoyable (excitement)

– Indifferent (irrelevant)

– Reverse (unwanted)

1. Must-Have Features

This category includes client-expected product features. If your B2B product lacks these, it will be deemed inadequate or unsuitable. Must-have features are necessary and anticipated, yet having them will not boost client experience or induce discontent, but again not having them will provoke discontent. These features are required, or the product will struggle.

Examples:

– 24-hour delivery for logistics services

– Ability to check prices on an ecommerce website

– Productivity features in a project management tool

2. Performance Features

Add-ons that clients demand are included in the performance category. These features enhance the B2B product’s appeal to clients. A high number of performance features usually leads to higher client satisfaction. Therefore, they are regarded as one-way since they boost client satisfaction and product functionality.

Examples:

– Multiple payment options on ecommerce website

– Festive Discounts on appliances

– Excellent fuel efficiency in vehicles

3. Attractive Features

These are features that induce positive experiences for clients. They can, however, lead to disappointment if not available in the product, especially if you are operating in a competitive market. Such features often need to be continuously developed to keep clients excited and interested.

Examples:

– AI-based customer service chatbot

– Augmented reality features on ecommerce website

– AI-powered personal assistant on a productivity app

4. Indifferent features

These features usually have no impact on client satisfaction and are deemed to be surplus to requirements. Additionally, they might be necessary for a product but do not add to the client’s experience or have any effect on their satisfaction.

Examples:

– Color selection on a logistics platform

– Navigation menu on an ecommerce site

– User profiles in a project management tool

5. Reverse Features

These are features that induce negative experiences in clients. Poor design, slow loading times, and clunky user interfaces can all lead to client disappointment. Such features should be avoided and actively removed from the product design.

Examples:

– Poor customer service on a logistics platform

– Hard-to-navigate menus on an ecommerce website

– Buggy user interface in a project management tool

It’s crucial to note that not every B2B product feature easily fits into a category, which is where surveys come in. Independent Kano studies must be performed for each intended audience to analyze them appropriately. Remember that functionalities that were intriguing ten years ago may now be fundamental, must-have features.

What Is The Function Of Kano Analysis In The B2B Market?

Because time and resources are usually constrained in B2B businesses, and the market is highly saturated, the Kano Model can assist product teams in choosing the proper combination of features to concentrate on next.

The Kano Model may be used to build or remodel your B2B product in three ways:

1. Understanding Your Clients

To determine whether a feature is a Must Have, Performance, or Delighter, you must speak with clients and thoroughly grasp their viewpoints. You may discover that various client segments describe features/advantages differently, necessitating different offerings.

2. Distinctiveness In The Marketplace

Because the B2B industry is so saturated, you can apply the Kano model to determine how to compete with other products for clients. Of course, product marketing must effectively express these distinguishing features.

3. Prioritization

After determining whether features are Must Haves, Performance, or Delighters, you can establish a roadmap that focuses on any absent Must Haves first, then balances the rest of your product development between Performance and Delighters.

Advantages Of The Kano Model

When looking for the ideal features for your B2B company, using the Kano model provides numerous benefits:

1. Save Both Time And Money

Instead of proceeding with every possible feature that you believe would satisfy users, the Kano analysis empowers you to make educated selections. In the long term, this saves time, work, and money.

2. Determine Priority Regions

The Kano Analysis also helps to determine which features require immediate attention to enhance performance and prioritize those improvements before moving on to new additions.

3. Sort The Top Features Together

Using your Kano analysis, you can create a strategy to improve performance while boosting user satisfaction with features they would love.

4. Boost User Satisfaction

By combining the best elements of quality, performance, and delight, you can ensure that your clients are happy with the B2B product.

Limitations Of The Kano Model

The Kano approach, like any other approach, has a few limitations:

1. Primarily Quantitative

Kano surveys are a sort of data analysis. The data tells what clients desire but not why. Therefore, you must do vigorous research to understand how your clients use your product if you are planning to extract any qualitative insights.

2. Analysis Is Necessary

To fully comprehend your data, you’ll need to evaluate it and apply your understanding of the Kano model to the results. This may take a substantial amount of time and effort.

3. It Might Be Challenging To Handle

It will be difficult to produce accurate results if you don’t collect data from the correct user segments. Thus, you must ensure that the data comes from users who accurately represent your intended customer base.

Best Practices To Perform Kano Analysis In B2B Redesign

1. Begin By Deciding The Features You Wish To Test. Don’t Choose Too Many

As mentioned before, a quantitative survey of the target group is typically used in Kano analysis. When generating a Kano analysis survey, you must first create a list of features or characteristics to assess.

The majority of B2B market research professionals are aware of the principle of MECE, which states that when creating a list of response alternatives, it should be Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive.

When performing a Kano analysis, the Collectively Exhaustive section might be challenging. This is because an exhaustive list of characteristics can quickly grow quite extensive. As a result, respondents face survey fatigue, and the dataset is challenging to evaluate.

2. Don’t Compromise On The Details While Explaining Features

The Kano analysis technique implies that respondents understand precisely what each feature performs. If you don’t take the time to describe a feature adequately, your data may have some underlying flaws.

Kano professionals advocate for a visualization strategy. They attempt to visualize the functionality through a prototype or snapshot.

When visualization is not feasible, be sure to describe the feature thoroughly. This explanation should highlight how the user will benefit.

3. You Should Ask 4 Questions About Each Feature

This would help you to determine the feature’s importance. Questions to ask include:

– Operational question: It inquires whether the product has a feature/attribute and how you feel about it.

– Problematic question: It asks how you feel about the product if it lacks a feature/attribute.

– Attractive question: It inquires how you feel if the product has an additional feature/attribute.

– Excitement question: It investigates whether the feature/attribute is highly desired.

These two questions help you to categorize each feature’s relevance to clients by allocating it to one of the five categories.

4. Allocate Features To Categories Using The Model

After gathering the data, you must evaluate it. Again, there are various pre-existing frameworks you may use.

The table format is the most prevalent structure. Each feature can come under one of the main categories.

You must compute each feature’s total outcome for the questions listed above and, based on the criteria, allocate it to one of the five categories.

5. Superimposing Data On Respondents’ Interactions With You Might Provide Further Context

Kano analysis gives you explicit information on what your intended audience believes you should focus.

Moreover, superimposing data about respondents’ interactions with you can give significant context and save you from being sidetracked by aspects that aren’t useful to you.

This additional study helps you identify customers whose choices need emphasis.

6. Routinely Monitor The Analysis

Expectations and needs evolve over time. As a result, formerly optional features can become mandatory, and vice versa.

Consider a company providing a free extended warranty on a television. This was an excitement quotient in 2009. The free extended warranty could continue to influence brand reviews in 2022 but in a different way.

Because it is expected to provide a free warranty extension and has no positive influence on brand reviews. However, failing to provide a free extended warranty will likely impact ratings and reviews.

A Kano analysis only captures a single point in time. Therefore, it must be conducted frequently to track improvements in demand.

Conclusion

The Kano Model is an excellent framework for B2B enterprises seeking a structured process to feature prioritizing. Furthermore, it assists product teams that want to prioritize features that they feel would please clients.

Using the Kano model, you can make educated judgments about feature redesigning for your products. By delivering a Kano questionnaire to your target consumer groups and following through with feature development, you may make your decisions on performance and customer satisfaction.

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