Creating a Customer Empathy Map

Now that we’ve got your attention, let’s try to answer the question of what is a customer empathy map?

A customer empathy map is a tool used by businesses to gain a deeper insight into the behavior of their customers. You can think of it as a user persona, as it basically fulfills the same role: reflect the unique traits of a group of people.

Originally created by Dave Gray, a customer empathy map has many different versions. Today, though, we’re going with the most basic one.

customer empathy map

Click here to see the full-sized image or download the PDF-file

So, what does all of that mean? From the top-left corner, clockwise:

What a Customer Sees

What is the environment of your customers? What kind of products and consumers do they see on a regular basis? Have they interacted with your marketing efforts (banners, ads, videos, blog content, etc.)?

What a Customer Thinks & Feels

This section could also be called Pains & Gains, and it’s about the emotional state of your customers. Their worries, frustrations, needs as well as obstacles and goals — for you to connect with your customer, you need to understand the inner machinations of their heart.

What a Customer Hears

When it comes to buying something, there are many factors that influence your potential or existing customers: their coworkers, friends and family members. Likewise, there is a number of channels through which they can acquire relevant information, be it face-to-face interactions, online chats, message groups, forums, review websites, etc.

What a Customer Says & Does

Conversely, customers can become influencers themselves. How do they communicate? What do they say to others and how do they act? Customer behavior is one of the more important parts of what makes your customers, well, customers.

Start With a Customer Empathy Map Right Away

Our step-by-step guide to implementing a customer empathy map consists of only two steps:

  1. Download the PDF and print it out.
  2. Write out relevant passages either directly on the paper or on stick-it notes.

That’s it, you’re done!

Of course, creating a customer empathy map is a group activity. You have to collaborate not only with other departments (says, sales and marketing) but, more importantly, customers themselves.

Remember: you’re not doing this to be better at selling something to your customer. You are doing this to understand what they want, how they operate, what makes them tick, and what they want from you as a business.

That’s why there’s a “map” in a “customer empathy map”.


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