Data, guts and empathy.

The customer understanding venn diagram.

The venn diagram above was created for a recent customer strategy workshop. We ended up spending 45 minutes talking about it — here’s why.

These are the elements, the basic building blocks for making decisions about your service. Guts (experience, intuition, etc.) is why you were hired for the job. Data is something that we all have too much of. And empathy is often missing.

Sometimes empathy is missing because we don’t know that it is missing. We are convinced that our routine interaction with the customer is enough to understand the customer. We often end up confused when our decisions don’t improve the customer experience.

Sometimes empathy is missing because we are actively ignoring it. We trust our guts, our experience, our title, more than the customer perspective. We built this service for the customer, therefore we know what the customer thinks about our service. We often end up frustrated and argumentative when our decisions make the experience worse.

Sometimes empathy is missing because we are paying too much attention to the data around us. We look to the spreadsheets and numbers as a safety net for making a decision. We are trying to improve the service, but there are so many options, so many choices, how can we be sure which one is right? We often end up with half-finished ideas and look on as the customer experience declines.

Having one element is helpful.

Having two is deceiving.

Having all three is understanding.


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