The Empathy Map and Entrepreneurship
The Empathy Map and Entrepreneurship
By Samantha Garner, GoForth Institute
(Click the image to zoom in)
We use the term empathy in business to reflect our understanding of our customers – who they are, what they like and don’t like, what motivates them to buy something or not, and what pains we can solve for them.
When we show empathy for our customers, we understand them from their perspective and, as business owners, we produce better services and products for them. Having empathy allows us to understand what needs our customers have (pains) and helps us estimate the value our products or services will create for our customers (gains).
Many small business owners get too focused on solving a particular problem that’s important to them, but maybe not to their customers. This is the why developing an Empathy Map is so critical when designing or launching a new venture. You will be able to identify insights about your potential customers that you did not know were there. You’ll be able to make products or services that stick by taking the time to understand your customer, and developing empathy for them.
The Empathy Map and entrepreneurship
The Empathy Map, shown above, was created by David Grey, of XPLANE and author of The Connected Company and Gamestorming. This tool has been used by millions of small business owners and their teams to develop deep, shared understanding and empathy for their customers.
The empathy map has seven quadrants:
1. Who are we empathizing with?
Briefly define your typical or average customer here. You can give your customer a name, and briefly describe their characteristics like age, income and job as all well as their personalities or social status, their situation, and their role in the situation.
2.What do they need to do?
We are still in the Goal quadrant of the Empathy Map, so what do they need to change to reach their goal? What decisions do they need to make? What will trigger them to be successful, and how can we find out if they’ve succeeded?
3.What do they see?
What do they see in the marketplace? What do they see in their immediate environment? What do they see others saying and doing? What are they watching and reading? All this information is valuable to understanding their external stimuli, how this is affecting them, and how this might impact the decisions they make.
If you have empathy, you can talk to your customers and present them with solutions that will allow them to reach their goals.
4.What do they say?
What have we heard them say? What can we imagine them saying? What are their reactions? What are they talking about with friends, colleagues or family members?
5.What do they do?
What is their actual behaviour? How are they behaving and why? What can we imagine they may do?
6.What do they hear?
What do their friends, colleagues, and others say? What do they hear secondhand? You can hear all you want, and you may be influenced by what others say, but you are convinced when you get involved. If you need to buy a car, you need to try the car, get involved with it, drive around to make a decision. Companies need to get involved with their customers. But for a customer to get involved with a company, the company needs to design great customer experiences. Empathy is key!
7. What do they think and feel (pains/gains)
What do they fear most? Are they frustrated, anxious, or even worried about their present situation? Identify their pain points. Then, identify their gains, their dreams, and hopes. What do they want? What are their pains and gains?
Samantha Garner is GoForth Institute's Director, Communications. Contact Samantha by email: firstname.lastname@example.org