The Customer Perspective to your Business? the Empathy Map

Consumption Behavior
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Sarah Daghman
Lecturer, Russian Federation

The Customer Perspective to your Business? the Empathy Map

Companies are constantly seeking to create a memorable experience for their customers to stand out and win loyal customers. In order to achieve that, companies need to dig a little deeper into who their customers are, get to know what they really want/need, and how they feel to be able to offer them a product/service that not only meets but exceeds their expectations. One of the most popular ways to extrapolate this information is by using a (Customer) Empathy Map.

What is an Empathy Map?
the Empathy Map (EM) is a method that assists in designing business models according to customer perspectives. It goes beyond demographic characteristics and develops a better understanding of the customer's environment, behavior, aspirations, and concerns. In other words, it's a tool used when collecting data about the targeted customers to get a better understanding of them, as it visualizes their needs, condense customer data into a brief chart, and helps consider what customers want.
The EM's goal is to create a degree of empathy with the customers to start understanding them more deeply, become more aware of their real needs, and eliminate assumptions by seeking facts using interviews and observation to better enhance a customer's experience.

How to create an Empathy Map?
When creating an empathy map six areas must be covered:

Figure 1. The Template of the Empathy Map
  1. WHAT DOES THE CUSTOMER THINK AND FEEL? This section mainly focuses on the customer's emotions and feelings. What makes them happy, sad, scared, emotional, and angry? What are their major concerns? What other thoughts and behaviors contribute to their spending habits?
  2. WHAT DOES THE CUSTOMER HEAR? Here the focus is on identifying who or what is influencing the customers? Who are they listening to and getting their advice from? Are they using social media, certain blogs, watching TV news, or reading magazines and newspapers?
  3. WHAT DOES THE CUSTOMER SEE? Within this part of EM, the focus must be on assessing what is happening in the market? What are other competitors doing? What customers see in their surrounding environment?
  4. WHAT DOES THE CUSTOMER SAY AND DO? What are they specifically saying in public? How do they behave? What activities do they enjoy?
  5. WHAT ARE CUSTOMERS' PAINS? The pains section is focusing on finding out what are the customers' fears, frustrations? Which obstacles do they need to overcome? What challenges are they facing? What is stopping them reach their goals and desires?
  6. WHAT ARE CUSTOMERS' GAINS? This section should include information regarding what results are customers trying to achieve? How do they measure success?
Identifying the target audience and filling the Empathy Map with the right information helps organizations understand these behaviors and preferences and map out a clear strategy and value proposition to create a coherent, cost-effective, and targeted marketing campaign that will speak to their customers and build a more effective customer relationship.

Have you ever used this practical tool in your business? Please share your experiences below. Thank you!

1. H. M. Bratsberg (2012). "Empathy Maps of the Four Sight Preferences," in Creative Studies Graduate Student Master's Project, Buffalo State College. Pp.176.
2. Bruna Ferreira, Williamson Silva, Edson Oliveira, Tayana Conte (2015. Designing Personas with Empathy Map, the 27th International Conference on Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering..

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