Companies that offer products or services, especially ones that offer solutions, will naturally have customers. But it’s not always their first priority to fully understand customers’ needs and feelings.
When you offer a product or service, it’s important to see it through a customer’s eyes. This helps you understand the reasons why they like what you offer, which can help you best present what you have to offer.
While customers look for solutions to problems, a host of different factors will influence their decision to choose you. Can your product or service fit within their budget? Is your product hard to use?
This is where Empathy Mapping comes into play.
What is Empathy Mapping?
Empathy Mapping is a visual tool that is designed to show detailed insights into how customers feel about your product or service, and if they think it’s sustainable for them.
“Did you know that users are more likely to choose, buy and use products that meet their needs as opposed to products that just meet their wants? An Empathy Map will help you understand your user’s needs while you develop a deeper understanding of the persons you are designing for.” (Source)
What Does an Empathy Map Look Like? How Do You Use It?
Traditionally, an Empathy Map looks like a basic chart containing four different sections, including ‘Say’, ‘Think’, ‘Do’, and ‘Feel’. These four sections represent what your customers are saying, thinking, doing, and most importantly, feeling.
In the ‘Say’ section, make sure to write down anything the customer has told you. If John Q. writes “This program is confusing, I need help” in an email, put this in your Empathy Map!
This can also include things mentioned specifically about your company, about your team, your product or service, whether in an email, over the phone, face to face, or on social media.
For the ‘Think’ section, get creative with how you empathize with your customer.
“What do you think that your user might be thinking? What are their motivations, their goals, their needs, their desires?” (Source).
John Q. won’t use your product if it doesn’t fit his budget, or if it’s too difficult to learn. Do you offer different tiers of price points, or are there user guides available? Dig deep to think of ways your customers can love what you offer.
The ‘Do’ section relates to the actions a customer takes. What are they doing, or what have they done? What might your customers do in the future? How will their actions affect the product or service that you provide and vice versa?
John Q. uses your product or service for his business but can he also adapt it for personal use? He may recommend your company to others (a major plus!) which can be a great ripple-effect action for your reputation as well as your sales!
For ‘Feel’, write down what the customer is most likely feeling (including both their current emotional state and/or what they feel towards your product or service).
Say John Q. tagged you on social media stating he was frustrated with your new software update. Note that frustration on your Empathy Map (after reaching out to help John Q., of course!).
Stormboard’s Empathy Map template includes the additional sections of ‘See‘ and ‘Hear‘. The ‘See’ section is where you write down what a customer sees in their immediate environment. It aslo includes what what customers are reading or watching regarding a service or product, and what they see others doing or saying. The ‘Hear’ section includes what they hear others saying about a product or service.
Once everything is written down, you have a better view of your customers and how they feel about using your product or service. Then, you can dive into making changes and adjustments if needed.
The structure of the Empathy Map has evolved over time — you can now include additional sections and larger maps if you feel like something is missing.
Completing an Empathy Map is beneficial to understanding the needs and wants of your customers and gets you closer to perfecting your product or service. The Customer Empathy Map should represent customers only, but it can also be applied to different situations and people.
Another common way to use Empathy Maps is in educational settings. For example, if you are doing character studies for a novel, have the class fill out an Empathy Map for a specific character. The students can determine characters’ behaviors, motivations, feelings, and actions (what they Say, Think, Do, Feel) to better understand the character, and the story.
Can You Use Stormboard For Empathy Mapping?
Yes, you can! Stormboard has two Empathy Map templates that will give you the customer insight your team needs.
The first template is titled Empathy Map. It has the four basic sections, ‘Say’, ‘Think’, ‘Do, ‘Feel’ and includes the ‘Pains’ and ‘Gains’ sections for extra information, as seen below.
The second template, called the Customer Empathy Map, is more detailed. It’s a great choice for teams who need more specific insights into their customers. This template includes sections ‘What does s/he hear?’, ‘What does s/he think and feel?’, ‘What does s/he say and do?’, ‘What does s/he see?’, ‘Pain’ (the pain customers feel or what is not working them), and ‘Gain’ (things they like about it or gain from it).
Where to Get Stormboard’s Empathy Mapping Templates
To use Stormboard’s Empathy Map template or the Customer Empathy Map template:
- Sign up for an account or log in
- Start a new Storm (what we call your digital workspace)
- Click the template button at the bottom of your screen
- Type ‘Empathy Map’ or ‘Customer Empathy Map’ in the search bar and the templates will appear
- Select the template that best fits your needs and start Storming!
Knowing what your customers know and feeling what your customers feel will let you better understand their motivations. The best thing that you can do to relate to a customer is to empathize and listen. This will make the biggest difference in their decision to choose you.
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Tap into your customers’ needs with Stormboard’s Empathy Mapping templates — sign up for a free trial today!