Who are you and how can I help you ?

Ever wondered why many relationships between a customer and its clients, or a business with its supporting IT resources are sometimes not on the best terms?  Why is your business or client always frustrated with you ? Understanding your customer or the business you support is imperative to the development of that relationship, to everyone’s benefit.
So “How?” you ask, do I get to improve that relationship! The answer is simple, analyze the structure of the relationship and develop a deep empathy to the needs of that relationship.
Don’t reinvent the wheel, use a tool that other smart people who specialize in this have already developed and use everyday.

Empathy Maps

This technique was originally developed by Dave Gray and XPLANE, and was more recently popularized by Alex Osterwalder and team in their book on Business Model Generation and consists of a map that allows you to identify:

  • The name of your customer (a place holder that you can relate to – Say “Jane”)
  • What does she see ?
  • What does she hear ?
  • What does she really think and feel ?
  • What does she say and do ?
  • What is her pain ?
  • What is her gain ?

You can use this tool to generate a map for each of your customer segments or businesses you support. You’ll then know more about what makes them tick and you can adjust how you interact with them to improve the relationship.

Every now and again, go back and do the exercise again as the dynamic of the relationship changes.

Simply download the poster and print it out on large format paper and take it to a room, with a stack of post-it notes and a bunch of markers, and fill the room with a small but focused group that understand your customer or business you are supporting. Hey bring your favorite advocate from you customer or business along. Facilitate the session to get everyone involved to scatter-shot their ideas on the map and then review each box in turn.

Once you are done, perhaps look a getting a graphics artist illustrate the essence of each box and develop a character of the profile.

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