Empathy is our ability to see the world through other people’s eyes. The crucial first stage of the design process is empathy. In the empathize stage, your goal, as a designer, is to gain an empathic understanding of the people you’re designing for and the problem you are trying to solve. This process involves observing, engaging, and empathizing with the people you are designing for in order to understand their experiences and motivations, as well as immersing yourself in their physical environment in order to have a deeper personal understanding of the issues, needs and challenges involved.
We all know what empathy is and hopefully, many of us display it and receive it daily. Empathy builds human connections. It fosters an emotional rapport and bond with your customers.
Empathy drives connection in relationships. Empathy is the art of understanding and acknowledging a customer’s feelings and needs before trying to find a solution that meets them. When we take the time to understand the person and make them feel cared about, they will be more likely to continue to work with your company over time.
Empathy lets you share the feeling of someone’s joy or pain. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone’s pain or situation.
Empathy does not mean you agree with the person’s perspective or feelings. It means that without fixing it, giving advice or making suggestions, that you demonstrate an understanding of the feelings they are expressing.
As business leaders, empathy is important in our company as it allows everyone to feel safe in their mistakes and encourages leaders to look for the real cause driving the poor performance. Being empathetic allows leaders to help struggling staff improve and/or correct the behaviors and actions to help them succeed in their role.
CX is all about relationships and communication. Communication needs to be focused on showing the other person they are valued, cared about, and focused on helping them:
- The tone you use is crucial in conveying sincere empathy
- Leave your ego and perspective at the door and truly make the effort to see things from the other person’s viewpoint
- Actively listen. Validate their perspective. Check your attitude for the desired outcome.
- Relate to a similar situation or experience that generates the same emotions or feelings – a missed plane, last-minute cancellation of plans, lost keys or wallet, etc.