Why do you need Deep Customer Empathy?
Have you ever bought a product, only to find that it wasn’t really what you thought you’d be getting, or that it did solve some of your problems in a way that didn’t work for you? Have you ever been disappointed at a present that someone got you that made it feel like they really didn’t understand you? Have you ever called a support line to get help and find yourself explaining your problem over and over before someone was able to solve it? If you’ve experienced any of these things, you’ve experienced what it is like to have someone lacking empathy for you and your perspective in the design of their offering.
Let’s turn that around.... have you ever bought a product, only to find that it went beyond your expectations in how well it solved your problems? Have you ever been delighted by a present that someone got you that you didn’t ask for, that made it feel like they understood you perfectly? Have you ever called a support line and had someone immediately understand and solve your problem? If so, you have experienced what it is like to have someone have empathy for you in the design of their offering.
Are you trying to create a product or service to solve problems for someone else? Would you like to have their experience align with the second paragraph? Then, you need to get deep empathy for your customer. You need to get to know them so well that you understand their needs better than they understand them themselves. The better you understand your customer, the more likely you are to find a way to delight them.
So, how do you get deep empathy for your customer?
To get empathy, you have to make a personal connection with them. You need to engage your internal emotional center, which is fed through specific stories and direct experiences. You aren’t going to deeply understand the customer’s perspective from a data point in a survey. Surveys, log-files, and call center analytics can engage your intellect and point you to problem areas, but they cannot help you get deep empathy. You need to be more intimate with your customers.
It is hard to understand your customer from your cube or office... Try to connect to where they are coming from.
The key to getting that recognition and understanding is to be able to relate to their world, their reality. To do that, you need to connect with where they are coming from: their environment, their expectations, their constraints. Unless you are solving for someone else who sits in a cube in a large corporation, you probably can’t fully recognize your customer’s perspective until you experience it for yourself first-hand.
The 101 methods fall into the following categories:
- Be the customer
- Have the customer teach you
- Watch the customer
- Talk with the customer
- Have the customer document it
- Talk with other, interested parties
100 more methods coming soon...