In my previous post, I discussed a process to create your customer avatar, a representation of your ideal customer. In this post, I’m going to discuss using an Empathy map to help you crawl inside your customer’s head
A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.
“Mister,” he said, “I want to buy one of your puppies.”
“Well,” said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, “These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”
The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer.
“I've got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?” “Sure,” said the farmer. And with that, he let out a whistle. “Here, Dolly!” he called.
Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse. Slowly another little ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up…
“I want that one,” the little boy said, pointing to the runt. The farmer knelt down at the boy's side and said, “Son, you don't want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”
With that, the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers. In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe. Looking back up at the farmer, he said, “You see sir, I don't run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.”
With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup.
And like the farmer, we need to think of our products and services in terms of how they meet the needs of our ideal client, not as we think they should.
Empathy: The Beginning of Everything
So what is empathy? Not to be confused with sympathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Sympathy is an emotional response to someone else’s situation.
Another way to say it is empathy is “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner”. Sympathy, on the other hand, is “the feeling that you care about and are sorry about someone else's trouble, grief, misfortune, etc.”
Empathy is used to understand your customers, to understand their view of the world. It helps you to identify their wants, needs, hopes, and fears.“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt Click To Tweet
What is an Empathy Map?
As Dr. James Patell of Stanford d.school told CNN:
One of the founding tenets of the d.school (the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford) is human-centered design. Rather than beginning with shiny new technology, we start by trying to establish deep, personal empathy with our users to determine their needs and wants. We must fill in two blanks: Our users need a better way to ___ BECAUSE ___. The because portion is a big deal.
We need a way to identify what our ideal customer needs in the way of information, products, and services. Our content, product and services need to feel the two blanks identified in Dr. Patell’s quote “Our users need a better way to BLANK because BLANK”.
And that is where the empathy map comes in.
An empathy map is a simple face surrounded by six sections:
- Think & Feel
- Say & Do
Note that when an empathy map is typically created in the web development space, it is part of user experience and observation process. Thoughts/beliefs and feelings/emotions are inferred by paying attention to various clues including body language, tone, and choice of words.
As most of us do not have this ability, we have to infer the information from our customer interaction via emails, comments, and complaints. We can also gather this information as part of our normal research of where our ideal client gets their information and where they hang out.
Empathy Map: What Does Your Ideal Customer Think & Feel?
In this section, you are trying to identify what your ideal customer is thinking and feeling. What does he think is really important? What are his major preoccupations? What are his main worries and aspirations?
What does your ideal client hope to gain from using your product?
In terms of your product or service, what might your ideal client be thinking. What does this tell you about his or her beliefs? What emotions may they be feeling?
Empathy Map: What Does Your Ideal Customer Hear?
This section focuses solely on what or who influences your ideal customer. What they hear from sources that are important to them. What do they hear when other people use your product or service?
This section also focuses on how your ideal customer gets their information; the source or channel.
Do they hear positive feedback about your company?
Are they more influenced by family or professionally related people? What do their friends say and is important to them? What does their boss say and does it matter?
What do their influencers say?
What content can you create to support or correct the information they are hearing?
Empathy Map: What Does Your Ideal Customer See?
This is the environment section of the map. It has to do with what your ideal client sees when they use your product or service. What are they seeing while using your product or service in their environment?
How do they respond in private and public situations, if they respond differently or the same?
Are their friends using your product or service? Or are they using a competitor? What other products or services is your ideal customer seeing in the marketplace?
This information will help to improve or enhance your current offerings. It also will help you highlight how your product or service can better solve their challenges.
Empathy Map: What Does Your Ideal Customer Say and Do?
This is related to the actual experience your ideal customer is having. What are they saying & doing while using your product or service in public? What about in private?
What are they saying to others?
What are some repeated quotes and defining words your ideal customer is saying?
Empathy Map: Pain
This is the ‘what keeps them up at night’ box. What are your ideal customer’s fears, frustrations, and obstacles?
What are the pain points your ideal customer experiences using your product or service?
Additional questions that may be used to fill this section:
- What kinds of frustrations does your ideal customer face on a daily basis?
- What obstacles have gotten in the way of what your ideal customer wanted?
- Why hasn’t your ideal customer been able to reach their goals?
- What does your ideal customer fear the most?
- What does your ideal customer fear the least?
Of course, solving your ideal customer’s pains is one of your main objectives. So how can your product or service remove some of these fears, frustrations, and obstacles?
Empathy Map: Gain
This section is to help identify the hopes and dreams of your ideal customer. What motivates them to get up in the morning. This section will also include your ideal customer’s goals, wants, and needs; what exactly makes them happy on an everyday basis.
What does your ideal customer hope to gain from using your product or service?
Additional questions that may be used to fill this section:
- What kind of success has your ideal customer had with your product or service?
- How did they measure the success they had?
- Is the ideal customer happy with your product or service?
- What makes your ideal customer happiest?
- What are your ideal customers wants and needs?
- What short-term goals does your ideal customer have?
- What long term goals does your ideal customer have?
And like the pain section, you want to see how your product or service can assist your ideal customer in achieving these goals and successes.
The empathy map can be to expand your knowledge of your avatar or it can be used as a starting point.
This process is typically completed as a collaborative exercise for teams, but it can be undertaken by small teams of one or two participants as well.
The goal is to be able to “walk a mile” in the shoes of your ideal customer. Again, trying to understand them based on their environment.
Our mastermind program was built around this idea as well. The whole program was built by network marketers for network marketers. Our program has expanded to support affiliate marketing, internet marketing, and even brick and mortar business. Isn’t it time you took your $10 test drive?
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