Empathy is indispensable to strong friendships, marriages, and any other rewarding human interaction. For brands, forging empathetic bonds is the essence of winning customer loyalty. Consumer insights pros have a pivotal role to play in empathy building, since they are the observing eyes and attentive ears who collect the data that leads to understanding, without which there can be no emotion-based connection.
A recent article posted online by the Harvard Business Review explores new ways of training employees to understand and empathize with the customers they serve. It lays out a four-step process that, significantly, begins with “Gathering insights. What is broken, frustrating, surprising or uncomfortable for your customer?”
The article, “To Get Employees To Empathize with Customers, Get them To Think Like Customers,” proposes a bit of unusual game-playing to put employees in customers’ shoes. Authors Erin Henkel and Adam Grant suggest that managers identify a business in an unrelated industry that interacts with customers in ways comparable to the one trying to up its customer-empathy game. Then it sends employees to have a customer experience with the mirror brand, and see how it feels to need service and see where it succeeds or falls short. The idea is that there will be more freedom for discussion if their own company’s policies and execution are not the direct subject of a customer-empathy discussion.
“It takes time and energy to design these experiences,” the authors write, “….but we’ve found them to be a powerful way to ensure that the people in your organization truly understand their customers.”
The challenge for any brand as it tries to understand “what is broken, frustrating, surprising or uncomfortable for your customer” is to strike while the emotions and experiences are hot.
Too often, the data harvested via consumer surveys reflects stale memories, and little, if any emotion, because emotion often flares during and directly after an experience, but quickly subsides.
In an act of empathy for marketers and market researchers, we’ll lay out the bones of our solution, which we call survey research at the Point-of-Emotion®.
First comes the not-so-secret ingredient: a first-party consumer panel of representative U.S. consumers.
Next comes the unique, proprietary ingredient: Surveys On The Go® (SOTG), the research industry’s most advanced and reliable mobile app for locating and surveying consumers during their buying journeys. We’ve empathized with our app-users by giving them great mobile experiences that satisfy their demand for smooth-functioning, fun experiences on their smartphones
Since its debut in 2011, SOTG has received consistent ratings of 4.5-stars out of 5 at the Apple and Google Play stores. Our users’ satisfaction gets you the engagement you need for fast, accurate data.
The right people, engaged by the right technology, gets you the right-now, right-place data you need to uncork emotions and experiences before they’ve gone flat due to the passage of time. You can field surveys while your audience is still in a store, or wait until they exit for a post-visit survey that captures their entire experience.
For an empathetic discussion of how mobile-app location studies can meet your projects’ specific needs, just get in touch by clicking here.