Do you wonder how an empathy product manager can deal with customers better? It is easy to understand. Empathy is a skill that can make everyone humble and easy to understand what the other person is feeling right now.
Empathy is the capability to conceive the right product for the right people at the right time while keeping the team excited.
However, if you go deep in definition, you will understand empathy is another word for product management. But product management includes other things as well like planning, execution, delivery, etc.
From this article, you will understand the importance of empathy in the life of a product manager. Moreover, you will learn to develop empathy with simple frameworks and tips.
- Empathy and product management
- How is empathy important?
- Tips to be empathetic with customers
- Where to showcase empathy
Empathy and product management
Empathy in product management is best defined as putting yourself in the shoes of the customer. It is a vital skill to have in the profession of product manager. However, empathy is a way of understanding your customer’s underlying needs and motivations.
Moreover, empathy is not only about understanding needs but also listening closely with patience. And later discuss the problem with the same attitude and language to make it easy for the customer’s understanding.
Empathy is a key that leads you to build a better product and then explain why you created it.
How is empathy important?
However, when you are confident about your skills and have proven them, it is natural to want to fill in the blanks. It is possible to stop listening when you think you know the answer already.
Empathy in product management means being able to slow down enough to listen and observe. Moreover, humble enough to learn and adapt to change and know what someone is dealing with and feel and understand it. Empathy product managers can make move-in products successful.
Tips to be empathetic with customers
In the profession of product management, empathy is a crucial skill for success. You need to understand the customer’s requirements, demands, and pain points, and it is only possible if you know how to walk in their shoes.
Here are some tips that will be useful to interview customers. Let’s walk through them
Understand what success is for customers
Start by asking questions to understand customers’ motivation to solve the problem. If you build a product for B2B, you need to figure out their business goal and what they want to achieve. Moreover, what metrics do they consider to measure success?
In business-to-business products, it is essential to consider that customers are not businesses, but people are.
However, by understanding their motivations through empathetic questioning, you will produce a product with compelling value that aligns with target customers.
Understand their problem-solving methods
When you are discussing with your prospects, ask about how they are solving problems currently.
If they are your recent customer, they may be fuelling their idea with some other ideas. However, you can draft an excellent product with the views of customers.
For B2B products, it is better to stay at your workplace and look at workflow. You can consider these solutions via video calls or phone calls. Moreover, you can also see no-verbal cues.
Uncover the True Motivators
To be an empathy product manager, you need to consider every word of the customer. However, you are already aware of the importance of customer pain points. But sometimes, customers tell you what they want to hear.
It is also possible that they tell you with much hype about something not on their priority list. Asking the right question can help you uncover the proper motivation.
By listening closely, you will understand that it was also about creating a compelling vision. Consequently, the product roadmap software looks attractive as well as delivering with speed and ease of use.
However, the best way to understand true motivation is to ask open-end questions like why, what, how, etc.
Let customers answer questions themselves.
The languages you use make a difference. When you communicate with prospects and customers in the language, they phrase their problem. It gives them the confidence to speak openly.
Moreover, listen closely to understand how they quote their problem. You do not only have to understand how they talk; later, you have to explain your product in the same language. It will give the gesture of empathy and confidence.
Get early customer input, listen and iterate
Customer testing is the best way to gain insight into what your customers think. It is better to arrange customer testing sessions along with your team.
Team means the entire team including, designers, engineers, copywriters, marketers, and analysts.
Moreover, with these testing sessions, you can determine the usability and accessibility of the product. PM empathy is essential as well as if the team is also empathetic, you will produce exceptional results.
Create and use personas
Persona is valuable and a powerful tool to remind you of the variety of your customer base. Moreover, personas represent different kinds of customers and let your team think about their standpoint. But they are supposed to be vigilant to add value.
However, people often get lost on someone’s PC, and no one considers and discusses them again. You can paste them up on a wall and view them back when preparing for customer testing. However, this way, you can make sure that you have considered all different types of customers and get a balanced view.
Users, customers, and humans
Understanding the user, customer, and humans is essential, and only an empathy product manager can do it.
When you sit in your office with stakeholders without customer feedback, it develops an unconscious gap.
The best way to conduit this gap is to travel. If you travel outside your office and visit marketplaces, you will get a better insight.
Empathy in product management is vital for a successful plan. Talk with customers and go in their shoes, figure their pain points and struggle.
Where to showcase empathy
You must have heard professional stereotypes like engineers are good with math, judges are sober, and doctors have lousy handwriting.
Empathy with users
As a product manager, it is pretty challenging to build a product loved by the masses when you do not understand users’ requirements.
After all, it is the consumer that will use it. To produce the best product, you need to understand their pain points. It includes difficulties users face, reducing steps, how long it takes, and many more.
The best way to understand the user is to note down the observation and feedback. Moreover, try to interact with them as much as possible.
Empathy with customers
This is not the repetition of points. There is a significant difference between user and customer.
Users will use the product while customers tell you to build the product, keeping in view the target audience.
However, you can overlook the demand of customers because they are not real users. Empathize their expectations of the product.
Empathy with business and designing team
Your engineering and designing team is the heart of the project. It is not possible to launch a successful product without the efforts of engineers.
No doubt you have envisioned the product, but it is all in your mind. Engineers are the ones who put in the effort and bring the product to life.
You need to dictate the timeline and discuss it with them before committing them externally. Moreover, take their suggestions and improvements. Implement them if possible and develop a bond with your team.
Empathy with stakeholders
As a product manager, you have to work with many stakeholders. You must have faced many clashes, tiffs, and arguments. But does it happen? Are you all not working on the same goal?
If you bring in some empathy, you can avoid clashes. Similarly, you can first listen to them and then explain your problem. With a leisurely mood, there are more chances to get them on board.
Empathy with company
When it comes to the company vision, empathy and product management go hand in hand. When you are working for the company, your professional goal should align with the company.
It is essential to empathize with the mission and vision of the company. However, it is impossible to build a successful product when your goal is different from its vision.
Considerate what others are feeling is critical to building the product and building a solid team. An empathy product manager comprises the ability to let go of arrogance and place you in the customer’s position to figure out the pain points. Moreover, empathy enables us to build the product for humans considering their thoughts as well as needs.