Client Empathy Mapping

Have a couple of hours handy? And a stash of sticky notes? Client Empathy Mapping is a fantastic tool designed to help you step inside your client’s mind to better understand how they engage with your firm/company, your staff or yourself at any given point during your relationship. Within 2-3 hours of working through the mapping process, you and your team will walk away with valuable insights and actionable items to help improve the client’s experience with your team and the firm/company.

Client Empathy Mapping is a valuable tool and can be used for a number of purposes. Some of the maps that we have facilitated have been conducted to help firms/companies:
– Redesign a service delivery, or entering a new market
– Implement a client listening program
– Project and proposal pursuits
– Reinvent their marketing and business development approach
– Website redesign to align the company message with the clients’ needs
– Hiring a new team member
– And much more.

So, where do you get started? Who should participate? And, what do you need? The process is simple and anyone can participate. We recommend those with client interactions get involved, leadership, marketing teams, and others you feel would help the process. You will also need a facilitator to keep everyone on track and help move the process along.

A stockpile of sticky notes and markers will help you visualize the client mapping on a larger scale. The sticky notes will give you the flexibility to make edits on the fly. There’s typically no need to prepare, just come ready to expand your mind. If you have a client persona available this will save a little work as the team works to define who their typical client looks like, which is typically the first step in the Client Empathy Mapping process.

Want more information on pulling together a Client Persona? Check back soon for our blog about client personas, here.

In the meantime, download a sample client persona from a real interview with a University client/owner by clicking the image to the right.

Once the persona has been defined, the process works through the same series of questions for each of the five phases that make up a typical relationship between a client and a firm/company. Each phase is completed one at a time.

The phases of the client relationship can be defined as follows:
Entice“Marketing” – the phase in which a client is given options before a relationship has started to encourage connection and relationship development.

Enter“Sales/RFP/Interview” – the relationship has started and it has become a business transaction between both the client and the firm/company.

Engage“Project Delivery” – the client is now immersed in the experience of working with your firm/company, typically occurs with communication is high between parties.

Exit“Project Closeout” – the phase in which the relationship with the client is wrapping up, communication may be less during this phase.

Extend“Completion” – the client reflects on their experience with you and engages in post-project discussions, communication between parties is typically minimal.

As mentioned above, the process includes working through each phase with the same series of questions from your client’s perspective (not yours). So, what are they?

Questions – What is your client asking? Asking themselves, others? What are they Googling?
Needs – What do they want?
Thinking – What is weighing on your client’s mind? (separate from questions)
Feeling – How does the client feel and why?
Saying – What is your client saying (not the same as asking)?
Doing – What are your client’s actions or activities?

Left is an example of how the Client Empathy Map will look visually. Click the image to download a copy to print/use.

Once you and your team have worked through each question for each separate phase, take the time to sit back and discuss what issues, hot buttons, voids, etc. may exist between you and your client and define actionable items that you and your firm can do to help ease any pain or confusion a client may have within each phase. Look for ways like conversations, marketing thoughts/ideas, or things your staff can do to help make your firm/company easy to do business with.

After you create action items, go back through and rank them. There will be dozens of actionable items that surface and can make it all feel overwhelming… so prioritize them. Tackle the ‘low-hanging’ fruit and you’ll feel like a rock star, all while crossing items off your list.

When your team is finished, take photos, record a written record of your sticky notes and conversations. Generate a report sounds daunting, but it could be a simple one. This report will serve your team as a guideline for improving client experience (CX) within your organization. It will later show ROI for your 2-3 hour investment.

Good luck! If you get stuck or need help facilitating your next Client Empathy Map, reach out to Chandra or Amanda for help.

More information about Chandra.                            More information about Amanda.




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