It’s no wonder that empathy is a hot topic in CX circles today. When we interact with ’empathetic design’, we experience the surprise and delight that keeps us coming back – and spending more. Think of the first time that you held a Kindle (my entire library at my fingertips!?!?) or got to your destination early thanks to CityMapper or Waze. These products seem to know what we want even better than we do. There is a growing body of work looking at the role of empathy in creating breakthrough innovations because it is through this ability that designers can tease out our unarticulated needs. The correlation with business performance is strong: The Empathy Business’s Index shows that the topmost empathetic companies generate 50% more earnings per employee than the worst performers.
With our mission to build 21st Century Organisations, we at Post*Shift are most interested in team structures and practices that support empathetic design. The natural place to start is with teams who reflect the diversity of your customers. We love how this first principle allows companies to more explicitly link the diversity and digital agendas. But just having a diverse team isn’t enough. You need to also ask this team to meet regularly to codify their norms, routines, and rhythms. This opens people up to the listening and curiosity that breed empathy. Only when our daily work environment reflects this collective intuition will empathetic products and services become the norm. We, for one, look forward to that day!
Below are some great links to more deeply explore the role of empathy in CX and on teams:
- A useful three-part model for building empathy at the product, team, and organisational levels
- The Empathy Index: How more human companies outdistance their competitors
- A blog post from our archives on how to design organisations to support diversity
- How empathy can produce breakthrough innovation – just ask ZipCar and Apple
- Ask ‘Who Do Your Customers Want To Become’ to move beyond customer-centricity
- An eye-opening talk by MIT’s Joy Buolamwini on how to combat bias in code and algorithms