What is a Customer Empathy Map


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A Customer Empathy Map is an incredible tool that helps organizations to unlock greater power in the customer experience. It can be used by itself or be used in conjunction with other cx tools including customer journey maps, customer personas, service blueprints, motivation matrix, mind maps and more.

This human-centered design tool helps you to obtain great clarity and understanding of how to get into the hearts and minds of your customers. You dramatically increase your individual emotional intelligence about customers when you use a Customer Empathy Map. This enables you with the opportunity to raise organizational emotional intelligence.

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Beyond perspectives and assumptions

Using it can go beyond gaining more perspective about your customers, to actually becoming smarter about your customers.

The collaborative energy created by using a tool such as this assists in developing a more agile organization. It will help you to more rapidly respond to the changes in customers and competition.

A Customer Empathy Map can be used to represent types of customers, gender segments, age groups, end-users, partners, lost customers, and non-customers, and employees.

Some common uses for a Customer Empathy Map include:

  • Creating detailed customer personas
  • Greater understanding of the key differences in customer segments
  • Gaining deeper understanding into customer journey maps
  • Developing vibrant user stories
  • Enhanced insight development when combined with voice of the customer data
  • Uncovering ways to improve your product or service
  • Developing new products and services
  • Spawning greater innovation 

Why does a Customer Empathy Map look like this?

We have learned that 90% of the customer experience is based in emotions. Therefore, a Customer Empathy Map targets the emotional sensors of customers so you are able to increase your emotional intelligence. You learn more about their emotions and become more self-aware as an organization. This Customer Empathy Map contains a problem statement, actions to take, action owners and six sections:

  1. Think & Feel
  2. See
  3. Say & Do
  4. Hear
  5. Pain
  6. Gain

There is also a specific order to complete these sections. Based on your product or service and business objectives you will need to complete sections in the appropriate order. For example, in an extremely competitive landscape you should complete what customers “hear” first because they are probably hearing a lot of mixed messages, false messages, and fear-based messages that will help bring a more clarified perspective when completing subsequent sections.

What you must guard against

You will also need to avoid the trap of bias coming into your idea generation. One is the framing effect that occurs when you are thinking about the customer operating in your environment and you being very familiar with how you “want” customers to think and behave.

Confining your idea generation to this context will limit your ability to grow deeper relationships that enrich their whole life versus merely the life they have with your company or organization. Limiting your thinking in this way limits your relationship potential with customers.

A more powerful bias is Construal level theory (CLT). This theory in social psychology describes the relation between psychological distance and the extent to which people’s thinking is abstract or concrete. Idea generation requires abstract thinking. If you do not separate yourself well enough from the customer you will limit your big picture thinking and get caught up in focusing on process details. You end up replacing customer emotions with your own emotions.

I need a Customer Empathy Map?

Unless you are a gifted mind-reader, you do. Too many stakeholders create perceptions about customers. These perceptions are then used to develop actions, based on these perceptions. This is tantamount to mind-reading. It’s foolish behavior, but we all innocently fall victim to it. A Customer Empathy Map helps to prevent us from being our own worst enemy when we attempt to gain better understanding of our-self and customers.

The Customer Empathy Map can be used in any business or organization. It provides a greater connection into a key component of your company’s success. You will be able to better improve the customer experience by increasing your emotional intelligence by using this tool. It encourages collaboration and lets people experiment with their visual creativity. Using the Customer Empathy Map results in employees becoming more engaged with customers and excited about their new found understanding and appreciation.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Rembach
Jim Rembach is recognized as a Top 50 Thought Leader and CX Influencer. He's a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner and host of the Fast Leader Show podcast and president of Call Center Coach, the world's only virtual blended learning academy for contact center supervisors and emerging supervisors. He’s a founding member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association’s CX Expert Panel, Advisory Board Member for Customer Value Creation International (CVCI), and Advisory Board Member for CX University.


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