When we moved into our home, we had spent a lot in the purchase and as a result, had limited budget for the design. We ended up making our own design, without much thought on creating harmony among the various elements in our home.
Now we have finally come to the point of getting professional help. To this effect, we got in touch with a design firm. Their studio was great and we were super excited! Next, one of their consultants started interacting with us. She asked for our house plan; we also explained our requirement. Then, she sent us an initial estimate of costs. It turned out to be a bit of a letdown, because it did not reflect any requirement we had shared and was a vanilla version. Still, we gave her the benefit of doubt, had more conversations with her to explain and finally she visited home. After an hour of explaining to her in person, she gave us a revised estimate and said, "Please visit our website and choose the design you need".
'Whoa!', we thought, 'if we are not going to get any suggestions from you, and have to select one among 100s of designs by ourselves, why do we need your consultation at all? Despite our multiple discussions, you have not understood our requirement at all!'
How can you develop empathy?
Here are three approaches that have worked for me:
- Listen to 'Voice of the Customer'. If there are recorded customer support calls, you can set aside some time every month to listen to a sample of them. Also, talk to the customer support people and understand the top areas of customer reported issues.
- Create Customer Journey Maps. This will help you traverse the areas of the product that a customer uses and bring out what is working well, what is not.
- Role play a customer. Check out this case study on how IDEO, a design firm, helped paediatric healthcare provider Nemours, enhance the patient experience for their new hospital. Ideo employees followed some Nemours patients around all day, "and came up with some great ideas that we, as adults, may not think about," says Dr. Judith Wall, Nemours' medical director.
"Our core business is connected with the customers’ needs and we will not be able to satisfy them if we don’t have a deep sense of empathy” - Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
Organizations that focus on customer empathy and weave it into their DNA bring in Customer delight ,differentiate themselves from their competition.... and the bottom-line is: these are organizations that customer love doing business with!