What is a Customer Empathy Map, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Customer Empathy Map
A Customer Empathy Map is a strategic tool that is used to develop a thorough understanding of the customer or client who will be using a new product or service. More specifically, an empathy map forces individuals who are part of innovation or marketing teams to consider customer attitudes towards the product or service and their behavioral response to it. The empathy map should be created at the outset of any product development process. However, it should be constantly adapted as the team accumulates more client knowledge. The four quadrants of the Empathy Map are what the client 1) Says 2) Thinks 3) Feels and 4) Does.
Description of Empathy Map
An Empathy Map should be created for any new product or service developed by the organization because it helps to ensure that every team member has a unified perspective on who the product or service is being created for. By encapsulating knowledge about the user of the product or service, the organization will be able to identify what it does not yet know about its clientele and easily organize information (e.g., research, interview transcripts, survey results etc.) about its customers. Further, client information can easily be transmitted to other relevant parties.
An Empathy Map requires five steps:
- Define the breadth of the Empathy Map and the overall goal that it will serve to achieve. In this step, consider what client base the Empathy Map will be about and what organizational purpose the Empathy Map is being created to fulfill. A separate Empathy Map should be created for each segment of the organization’s clientele.
- Gather customer information. This step requires an abundance of qualitative information about the customers in the form of interviews, daily diary entries, open-ended surveys etc.
- Place the information into its respective quadrant on the Empathy Map. This step should only occur after each team member has individually digested all of the information that was gathered. Each team member should then write out the most salient information on a post-it note and place it on the map.
- Identify themes within the quadrants. Create themes on the empathy map by identifying which post-it notes are similar to each other. This step requires discussion amongst team members with the ultimate goal to reach a shared understanding of each quadrant among the entire team. Then, determine what information still needs to be obtained and why certain pieces of information did not fit in a theme.
- Adapt the map. Add more information to the map as you fill in the gaps in knowledge or add more detail to existing information.
When creating a Customer Empathy Map, be sure that it addresses the following:
- What the client hopes the product or service will be
- Client concerns about and perceived risks of using the product or service
- How others might describe the product or service to the client and what aspects of the product or service is likely to generate the most “buzz.”
- How might the product or service fit into the client’s daily activity
- What the client would say to others about the product or service
- Desires benefits from using the product or service
Tools & Templates
A Customer Empathy Map is usually created on a whiteboard or online presentation. When working in a face to face meeting environment, ensure that every team member has post-it notes to write their contribution to the map on or a dry-erase marker.
upBOARD's Online Customer Empathy Map Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Customer Empathy Map techniques, upBOARD’s online Customer Empathy Map collaboration tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s library of other innovation management online best practice tools and templates, including:
Agile Innovation Process, Business Case Development, Business Model Canvas, Concept Development, Concept Screening, Concept Testing, Customer Empathy Map, Customer Problem Statements, Design Thinking, Innovation Funnel Management Process, Innovation Horizons Model, Innovation Roadmap, Jobs to be Done, Lean Startup, Listening Hats, Open Innovation Process, Painstorming, Rapid Prototyping, SCAMPER, S-Curve Mapping, Stage Gate Process, Technology Life Cycle, Technology Scouting, and Teece’s Win-Lose Innovation Model.