Connect Your User with Empathy Mapping

To effectively develop, market, and sell products and services, the vital part is to know your customers. Knowing your customer is workable by seeking how our ideal customers view their environment while comprehending their experience with you.

What is empathy mapping? 

Empathy mapping is a collaborative visualization that depicts who an end-user is! A single map can be beneficial in many ways.

1) Used during creative sessions to identify areas of further research. 

2) It draws out our assumptions about our customers. 

3) Develops a customer profile to drive meaningful value propositions.

4) It is an effective channel of communication to develop customer relationships.

The customer empathy map allows us to empathize with our customers by considering the following aspects.

How do they think and feel? 

What is important to them?

What might be their aspirations?

What do they see?

What do their friends have? What is their environment? 

What marketing messages do they expose themselves? 

What does their previous experience with us?

What do they hear? 

Who is influencing them? 

The media they listen to, and what do their family, friends, colleagues, or boss say? 

How do they respond in public? 

What do they say? 

What is their appearance like, and are they influencing others?

Now highlight their pains and potential gains: 

What are their fears, problems, challenges, or frustrations?

What is that they want to achieve? 

What steps do they take to achieve their goals?

Popularised by Dave Gray, the empathy map is a four-quadrant map. Each quadrant represents the user’s state.

  1. Says: This is the easiest of four quadrants. These are the words a user “says” to themselves, in an interview, or others. 
  2. Thinks: Think quadrant relates to internal thoughts. It questions the thinking of a user for a specific task or goal.
  3. Does: Does the quadrant talks about the actions. What actions do your users do to get your job done?
  4. Feels: These represent users’ emotions as they complete a particular task. When are they frustrated, excited? When do they go through the most friction thought process? 

A single person can do empathy mapping or by a group. Its real benefit comes from doing it collaboratively, as it also focuses on the pain and the gains of the users.

  • Pain: What are the pain points for a user? It highlights pain points like obstacles, frustrations, challenges, problems, or doubts while using your products.
  • Gain: What is the gain user expects from your survey? It measures the achievements, success, needs of the user.

A five-step process is an easy way to start your empathy map:

  1. Define your scope and goals:

Here, decide who your user is and what task they are accomplishing. 

  1. Gather materials required for empathy map:

You can use a post-it note and sharpies as materials or tools.

  1. Collect research: 

Empathy mapping is a qualitative approach, meaning you need qualitative methods like an interview, direct observation, contextual inquiry, and diary study.

List your customer segments. Each segment should have a need that requires a unique offer, different distribution channels, or alternative customer relationships. At a time, try to focus on one particular section. Name your customer, define their demographic status, identify core characteristics like age, marital status, children, job type, and income. 

A whiteboard or sheet of flip chart paper is enough to draw your customer empathy map.

Place their key demographic characteristics in the center circle. Then build your profile of the ideal customer for your chosen segment. Exploring each map area as you answer the outlined questions. 

Put your response on post-it notes and stick them to the map. 

  1. Diverge with your team:

Read through the research, generate various ‘say’s’; ‘think’s’; ‘doe’s’; and ‘feel’s’ for end-users. The mapping technique works best when you get input from colleagues who ideally work in different parts of the business, each with touchpoints in the customer experience.

  1. Converge post-its:

Converge different post-its and clusters under ideas and name these things. 

We will now develop a rounded and balanced view of the ideal customer by collecting and collating the inputs from the range of individuals. Now, this customer goes beyond the demographic characteristics, helping to understand their environment, behavior, concerns, and aspirations.  

However, if you do not have a team, you can get excellent results by working through the technique on your own and then testing some of your assumptions through conversations with the best and regular customers. 

Customer Empathy Map gets a much better understanding of our customers and how we engage with them. 

It generates insight into potential needs that the customer might and lack in your service and identifies where they are likely to see value in our product offerings. 

The outcome of empathy mapping defines your user. The characteristics of these users create a persona, later used in your organization for further user-related work.

If you have a group of products, use personas for these product groups as they are your targeted and loyal users. 

As you interact with your customers or users, document the sessions to get better insights missed during sessions. 

Benefits of empathy mapping:

Mapping users’ thoughts, needs, motivations, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, issues is a great team exercise. 

  • It visualizes user needs.
  • Quick and cost-efficient.
  • The good starting point for any project.

Create an empathy map for each persona with 4-5 users. There are different templates for empathy maps, and you can consider any of them to achieve your goal. 

Nutshell:

An empathy map is a way to synthesize the research data to get a bolder user perception. They conducted it before deciding on the product designing timeline. The 4-quadrant map maps how your user thinks, sees, hears, and says about your product and this environment. Later, this research applies to creating scenarios. For the best outcome, undertake to take this process with your colleagues.