It can take a lot of work to get a detailed understanding of what customers experience. As anyone who has done field research or customer development will know, it can very get quickly get expensive and take up a lot of time. But field visits and customer interviews are not the only ways for teams to take a step back and look at the customer’s experience in it’s entirety. Often there are lots of insights hidden in what teams already know, they just don’t have a good way to share and organize that information to get to a better understanding of what the customer sees.
Have you thought through what they do before and after they use your product? Before and after they call your support line? What else are they doing in the meantime? How the time of day impacts their level of patience or how much they’re willing to pay? Odds are you probably don’t have a very clear understanding of that! You talk to them, sure, and you may have some analytics and reports that give you more data points. But the real insights come from putting all of that together in a coherent picture. And a few tools used in customer journey design can help with that.
An empathy map is a quick way for a team to share what is known about a customer and to fill in the blanks with assumptions.
The map serves as a cfoundation for discussions about critical assumptions and helps the team align on what they collectively see as important for the customer and relevant for the project.
At it’s most basic an empathy map consists of impressions (what a person sees and hears) and actions over a given period of time. The time period can be a day, a week, or something else depending on what makes most sense to explore. You can find a more detailed guide here.
Based on the customer empathy map the customer’s journey can be mapped out. See this post for more details on how the journey mapping is done. Mapping the journey has countless advantages, but the main draw is that it lets you examine the experience of using your product and interacting with your company and brand. Not only does it help you form a coherent view of what your customer experiences in the context of your business, but of what they do in a day as well. And through all of this the team develops a shared understanding from a customer’s point of view.
The basic elements they work from are the total set of touchpoints a customer has with your company. A touch point is any interaction a customer has with your brand, your company, or your product. This includes anything from social media postings, to testimonials, to their point of sale, to your thank-you cards!