Don't be the man with a hammer!

August 4, 2020 by David Hauser

Do you feel sometimes as if your customers just do not understand your products or services?

Or is it possible that your products and services do not understand your customers instead?

Getting a thorough understanding of your customers’ needs and desires and to deliver on them is essential for a long-lasting win-win relationship.

Listening with empathy when they are sharing their struggles, sorrows, and dreams with you is not just strengthening your relationship but is also giving providing you with heaps of valuable information about how you can create value for them.

A fabulous tool to bring order into that information, to get an even deeper understanding of their troubles and desires and to identify patterns that allow you to create value for as many of them as possible, is an


Empathy Map


An empathy map can be used in different ways. Most commonly it is applied in the design of user interfaces to learn about how the designated users of your software are interacting with its UI.

Therefore, the users will be observed while using the software a prototype of it. The persons conducting the test will watch the user and triggered by their reactions ask them “what do you see” and “what do you feel” and are writing the answers in the corresponding quadrant of the empathy map.

The other two quadrants the testers are filling in with relevant words or phrases the user used to express themself and with what the user is telling them about what they do understand other people’s opinions and experiences are.

THNK.Innovation - Understanding your customer deeply through empathy

A second application of the empathy map is to use it to bring structure into your notes of one on one interviews. Recently we at THNK.innovation did conduct a research project for Silicon Beach Group to get a better understanding for their community members, their pain points as well as their individual goals.

With the consent of the participants, we did video record all the interviews. We then went on by reviewing the recordings, taking notes of the interviewees’ answers, their choice of words and their body language, and transferred our notes in the 4 quadrants of the empathy map of each interviewee.

  • What do they say and do– what’s their choice of words and their body language?
  • What do they hear – their family, friends, peers, media, experts, and others saying?
  • What do they see – when looking at their own and other people’s lives, careers, and businesses?
  • What do they think and feel – when they hear, see, say, and do?

Having all the information for each of our interviewees aggregated we move on by transferring “the secret sauce” of what with learned into the two sections at the bottom of the empathy maps. What is it causes them pain and what are their personal as well as career and business goals in life?

Here it is where we are digging deeper than the spoken word and assisted by our records of the interviewee’s body language, we are reading in-between the lines to identify pains and goals that they might not be even consciously aware of.

THNK.Innovation - Understanding your customer deeply through empathy

You’re neither a user interface designer nor are you curating a huge online community?

So, what can empathy mapping do for you ask?

Regardless of what industry you are in, your long-term success depends on understanding what causes your customers’ and clients’ pain and what their conscious, as well as subconscious goals, are.

Empathy mapping is going beyond the information about your customers that you are already maintaining in your CRM system.

It will help you to clarify your understanding of how you can serve them best and how their needs are changing in demanding times like these.

It will allow you to empathize more closely with them by putting yourself into their shoes and create value for them that is beyond what they can envision themselves.


Download our free empathy map templates now


Empathy Maps THNK


and be ready to start filling them with your customer’s life the very next time you are talking to them.

Get to know them empathetically and put yourself in a position to support them on their journey better than ever before!


Don’t be the man with a hammer, be the person with an empathy map!


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