From a Design Thinking principle, empathy is the first step to the problem solving process.
This is with good reason, if we are going to design a solution for a client, it is important that we understand what the client wants first.
Entrepreneurs often think that they know what customers want, without asking or putting themselves in their customer’s shoes.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Understanding what your customer feel is important because you can’t solve her problem, if you don’t understand how she feels.
It is essential to find empathy for the people you hope to serve, to teach, to work with.
Without empathy, you cannot find the place your customers are stuck, as a result you can’t help them move in the direction they seek to go.
Empathy is about Batho Pele [People first].
Empathy is solving a problem that is valuable to customers, not you the entrepreneur.
Empathy is designing a product that customers want, not what you think they want.
But empathy goes beyond just what customers want but:
- are you marketing to your customers the way they prefer?
- are they transacting with you the way they prefer? and
- are they using the product the way they want to use it?
At the centre of all this, is the customer.
As an entrepreneur are you humble and empathetic enough to listen to your customers.
When it comes to designing offerings for customers, listening is the new talking.
Listen more than you talk.