Customer Empathy Maps

A 10 minutes read
Customer Empathy Maps
Ross Haddow

Use customer empathy maps to engage your team with your customers' mindset

The Tool

Ask yourself – do you really know your customers?

A customer empathy map is a human-centred model that will help you to become better engaged with your customers and gain a deeper understanding of what emotions they are feeling when they interact with your brand.

Creating a map challenges you to look at things from your customers’ perspective. The process should give you valuable insight to help develop many aspects of your business – from your brand messaging to service design.

The customer empathy map is designed to capture six key aspects of an individual’s emotional landscape.

Think & Feel – what things do your customers think and feel – what are their main worries, hopes and preoccupations?

See – what do you customers see when they are out and about (and on-line)? Where do they get their information and what affects their decisions?

Say & Do – what kind of behaviour do your customers exhibit. How do they behave towards others? What is their attitude like? How do they act and appear in public?

Hear – what messages do your customers hear? Who do they take notice of? Who influences their decisions and how? Do they get mixed messages or false information?

Pain – what things frustrate your customers? What are their fears? What obstacles do they need to overcome?

Gain – what things do your customers aspire to? How do they measure success?

It can be used represent all types of customers, including those you’ve lost or want to win.

Why use it

Most people have heard of emotional intelligence and recognise that understanding someone’s emotions – having empathy for what they feel – is a vital part of connecting with them. That’s why it’s so important to understand your customers’ emotions, so that you can help them more effectively.

Putting together an empathy map will allow you to get a deeper understanding of your customer’s thinking, the issues that they need help with, and the ways in which they make buying choices. This insight will ensure that you focus directly on the customers you want and addresses the specific needs and ‘pain points’ that they face. At the same time, it will give you the insight you need to optimise your brand and marketing strategies so that you attract the most valuable visitors, leads, and customers.

In addition, using a customer empathy map is an opportunity for staff engagement and thought and, as such, it can be a vital part of staff development and team building.

Customer Empathy Map

Download our template to use as part of your session


How to use it

Get a mix of the right people together in a room. Use the downloadable map to lead your discussion.

It is important to include your sales and front-line teams, as they will have the best first-hand experience of your customers and know what motivates them to engage with your company and what their ‘pain points’ are.

A session might run along these lines:

  • Identify your key market segments and the most valuable customers within them. You can look through your customer database to focus in on customers that are good for your business and with whom you like to do business. In other words, those that are a good fit.
  • Ideally, you should identify a handful (1-3) of customer types who fit with your business.
  • Now divide up the chosen customer types between the group members and take 15 minutes to each fill in the customer empathy map template.
  • Where possible, provide real-life examples and stories to bring your customer to life.
  • Next, bring everyone back together to present and discuss their empathy maps. Pay particular attention to the similarities and differences in the group's work.
  • Finally, combine the most memorable and pertinent aspects of each of the maps - so that you have 1 empathy map for each customer type.

Guard against thinking about how you ‘want’ customers to think and behave or answering the questions based on your pre-conceptions. Really try and put yourselves in your customers’ shoes. It is only by doing this that you’ll become more perspective and smarter about your customers.