One of the most important skills we as marketers bring to the table is empathy. The ability to understand—and to feel—your customers’ day-to-day pains can help you create more powerful and resonant messaging and experiences. Infusing empathy in your messaging will help you more effectively optimize your site.
Here are three simple steps we’ve identified based on our experience that you can follow to build customer empathy into your ideas:
Step 1: Walk in your customers’ shoes
Take time to talk with your customers and look beyond their goals—and yours. Talk to them about their day-to-day experiences, the things they struggle with and look forward to, and the things that take too much of their time.
If you are able to shadow your customers for a day to watch them doing what you help them do, it can be incredibly (and sometimes painfully) insightful. For example, watching a customer doing something on yellow stickies that you have already built into your product is very revealing.
We also suggest talking with your customer support teammates and listening in on support calls to understand where customers feel pain and need more help. Finally, for B2B marketers, participating in sales calls can reveal how prospects think about your space and the pain they are feeling.
With these new insights, test messages that fit into your prospect’s lives naturally, addressing pain they feel right now or making them better off in ways that matter to them.
Step 2: Consider the differences between customers
As you speak with customers and begin understanding their pain points more deeply, remember that what works for one customer may not work for another.
We believe that no single customer interaction is actionable. Instead, try to create a regular stream of ongoing customer interactions. Even 10 minutes a week listening to customer care calls can be revealing. Then look for patterns. Patterns will become obvious as you hear the same things over and over again.
Once you start hearing patterns, consider what you know about your customers as a whole. Combine your qualitative research with quantitative data to support or refute your hypotheses. Listen for the places where your customers’ experiences, desires, and pain points align.
Map the patterns you see on to your existing customer segments or consider new segmentation based on what you’ve learned. Focus your creative and messaging on each segment. Test lots of ideas derived from your earlier insight to identify the messages and experiences that drive engagement and action.
Step 3: Think about the stage in which your prospects and customers are in their customer journey
Understanding your customers and their differences informs how you communicate with customers and prospects alike. Each segment of your audience will have different expectations based on where they are in their purchasing and customer journey with you. For example, first time visitors to your site are likely to have different information needs than prospects who are ready to buy.
Here’s a look at a typical lifecycle and some questions to answer as you communicate with prospects in these stages:
- What is the offering?
- How does it work?
- What does it cost?
- What are the main features?
- What service is included?
- How are you different?
- Can I speak with a person?
- Are there any special deals?
- What is the easiest way to get started?
Take the time to get to know your customers, to build customer empathy for them, and to understand what moves them. This insight will help you create more meaningful personalizations for them, which will lead to more conversions.