As the vast amount of information, resources and choices among the various digital channels alter between brands to buyers, customers have entered the “golden age”. Through all industries, customer empathy, something that has been pushed to the back burner, has become the differentiator in the competitive market.
In today’s market there are many overlaps between companies, which is why it is crucial for a brand to enforce memorable and positive emotional connections with their customers. Businesses need to know what their customers’ empathy is to recognize and understand their motivations, needs, desires, likes, and dislikes.
The overall experiences that a brand creates with their customers, good and bad, are of great importance as this is what effects the bottom line for a brand. Customer experience is the cornerstone pillar of what makes a business standout from their competitors.
With so many industries going completely digital over the past two years, all it takes is a few taps on the keyboard and one click for customers to switch loyalties to a competitor of your brand. Which is why businesses have been pushed to switching the old-school tactics in marketing and therefore putting themselves in the buyers’ shoes in order to better understand their customers.
To bridge the disconnect many businesses are facing, organizations adjusted their focus onto customer empathy. Here are five guidelines to follow:
- Make “customer experience” a core value of your company
Understanding your customers’ experiences is will not only benefit your company, but your employees. Everyone in the company needs to know what and why their customers are choosing you over the competition. As well as everyone needs to see, hear, and feel your customers’ experience to truly know what your client wants and is expecting.
A great way for a company to do this is by measuring their employees’ customer “exposure hours. For any employees’ who fall below the required baseline of exposure to customers you set, should be the ones who take support calls, talk to users on various company platforms, and even monitor how your users interact with your business.
- Remembering customers are actual humans, not just data
The standard for many companies is using data-driven insight to better understand your business. Although, yes, that is a great way to assess overall trends and patterns in your buyers’ behavior that should not be the only method to understand what your customer wants and needs. Rather using data-driven materials should only be used in addition to physically speak and hear your customers first-hand. Interaction with customers in combination to data-centric material is the best way to provide the best overall experience to your customers.
- Knowledge isn’t always power
Yes, knowledge is power, however not when it leads to cognitive biases. A cognitive bias can form when a specific person knows a subject so well that it eventually leads to incorrectly assuming others have the same knowledge and thoughts about the subject as well. This can happen in a company more often than not, when the developers of your company get too close to what your product or service is that they lose sight of how it will play out with the customers.
Cognitive biases can be a company’s worst nightmare. For example, a product is finalized and released but it ends up falling short on user expectations and no one wants the product. Allowing room for outside people to be a part of the development process, businesses can avoid the inevitable cognitive bias many organizations face.
- Instill the power of human insight to product managers
Product managers are responsible for many tasks when talking about a product’s success or failure. To further validate the product manager’s decisions, invest time and money into consumer and human insight to avoid any catastrophes that could arise in the development process.
The options of human insight are vast, some examples include live customer interviews before the design process starts, validation from consumers by showcasing the prototypes and sketches, and post-launch meeting with consumers to reveal any issues with the product that weren’t uncovered early on.
- Use technology to its advantage
The difference between your business and your competitors can be the use of technology. Whether it is videos, broadcasted interviews, podcasts, and or case studies the options are endless. With the biggest benefit from using technology is the engagement your company will have with your customers from it. The feedback loop that technology provides needs to become a cornerstone in your company. Think of the reach that technology has, all it takes is one post to have a positive outcome from human insight to lead to more sales for your product.
Implementing these steps in your company will not only allow for more growth in your organization but also your clientele. This gives way to truly understand and empathize with your consumers to provide the best experience for them. Remember: You cannot deliver what they want if you do not understand them. Empathy is everything.