If you want to create memorable customer experiences, you need to understand your target audience before initiating any marketing efforts. This means digging deep to empathize with your customers by learning what is going on inside their heads, their needs, and what they feel when interacting with your products or service. From this knowledge, you can effectively market to your customers by reaching them on a visceral level.
Customer empathy maps are a great way to do just that by helping you see the business world through the customer’s eyes. Let's explore customer empathy and how you can create a customer empathy map to extrapolate and visualize the data to create tailored customer experiences.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of an external party to form a deeper understanding of their needs and motivations. Customer empathy can be defined as the ability for organizations to understand the feelings customers have when using their products or services.
Therefore, customer empathy maps are a tool used to visualize customers' emotional experiences when interacting with your organization's products or services. As you can imagine, people are complex with unique needs and motivations, and putting customer empathy into action is no simple task. It requires a deep analysis of customer psychology to deliver results.
Companies should use empathy maps throughout any UX or CX process to establish common knowledge among teams. To help you better understand and prioritize customer needs, here are six elements to consider from the very beginning of the empathy mapping process:
1. Customer Gains
What goals does the customer persona have? Can they achieve these goals with your product or service?
This section covers what the customer stands to gain by using your solution. Getting what they want, fulfilling needs, and achieving goals are all customer gains.
2. Customer Pains
Customer pain points are never fun to deal with — for you or the customer. Such pain points could be minor annoyances when using your product or service, like a UI bug or an unnecessary step in your checkout process. These could also be major inconveniences, such as your support team taking too long to answer tickets, or server downtime reducing availability.
By adding pain points to your customer empathy map, you create targets for improvement. From there, you can move to strategizing and figuring out how to overcome these pain points to improve the customer experience.
3. What Do You Think?
What thoughts does your product or service provoke in users? What emotions do they feel while using your solution? Are they impressed, happy, or content?
Perhaps they are frustrated, annoyed, or unhappy. Thoughts and emotions are an important part of the customer empathy map. This helps you understand what truly matters to your customers. Cultural analysis also applies here to help manage customer reactions at a macro level. Perform user research and ask end users questions to develop empathy.
4. What Do You Hear?
We don’t mean your choice of music in your marketing materials, but rather what customers hear about your enterprise. Who is talking about you? What are they saying? Is it positive or negative?
Consumers may have friends and family who know your brand and have an opinion. Businesses may follow think tanks like Gartner or G2 Reviews and hear about you through those channels.
You also have the social media crowd, blogs and case studies, and news channels. Being aware of what customers hear about your business is integral to the customer empathy map. A range of user personas would help you understand the nuances between demographics and countries.
5. What Do You See?
What users see in your industry, compared to at your enterprise, is crucial. How does your business shape up to the competition? Does your reputation hold up against competitors?
Every day is an opportunity for competitors to deploy marketing materials, reach potential customers, add new features, reduce prices, and run discounts. It can also uncover your target audience’s footprint, where they go, and what they see each day.
This area is all about managing external influences and their impact on your business, making it an important part of a customer empathy map. Perform qualitative research to understand the market and demographics, including how empathy ties in.
6. What Do You Say?
The final area to focus on with a customer empathy map is, naturally, the customer. For example, what are others saying about your company? Is this what your company wants them to say?
Negative reviews on social media can reach thousands, if not millions of potential customers. The American showman P.T. Barnum may have been right in saying, “There's no such thing as bad publicity,” but a viral video in which your company is the punchline can have devastating effects.
Managing the perceptions of your brand versus its reality is complicated. For instance, this could involve responding to negative comments on social media to show engagement and proactive problem solving. If you receive feedback surveys with problems, reach out individually and attempt to make amends by either resolving the issue or compensating for lost value.
As a rule, do not dissuade or retaliate with negative feedback. This can create a feedback loop of covering up and then uncovering the cover-up, leading to customers feeling lied to. Simply acknowledge the problem, empathize with the customers’ pain points, and offer a stopgap solution while you remediate the problem to build trust and loyalty.
Real customer interaction can be the most reliable source of data for your company. But it is important first to understand where your customers come from, both mentally and physically. Listening to your audience is key to building and optimizing a product or service they will want to use.
We understand that gaining comprehensive knowledge of your target audience can be difficult. That is why our CX journey mapping specialists use data-driven insights to streamline and standardize customer experiences across all channels and segments.
We specialize in helping businesses profile and segment their user base to deliver targeted communications, services, and offers that improve the customer experience at every touchpoint.
Whether you are looking to bring your product or service into the knowledge realm of your target audience, or trying to receive specialized consumer insights from our database of more than 1.5 million data points — Trianz is here to help you enhance your customer experience.
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