Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Empathy for the devil

I couldn't pass this up, it was just too perfect. For those of you old enough, or forced to listen to enough "classic" rock, you are familiar with the Stones Sympathy for the Devil. If you aren't familiar with this particular piece of sonic candy, get yourself off to iTunes or your favorite MP-3 site and download it.

So, what's puzzling you is the nature of my post.

I've been reading a new book that describes some of the trials and tribulations of innovative types in non-innovative companies. One of the points the author makes is that innovative types have to work with the "tried and true" people who want six decimal place proof of everything. Clearly for most innovative concepts that's nearly impossible. Another point is made that ultimately, the only way to create something compelling and new is to radically understand the customer or user. This, naturally, lead me to the concept of empathy for the user, which led me, in some dark workings of my mind, to Empathy for the devil, since most of us consider customers or users as particularly distasteful people we have to deal with because they purchased our products or services, rather than the drivers and predictors of the next big things.

Since many firms often treat their customers as the devil, they don't have much empathy or understanding of their needs. If, on the other hand, we treat our customers and users as partners, or even friends and colleagues, it may become easier to have empathy and understanding for their needs. It's only when we truly seek to understand customer needs, wants, frustrations and challenges that we can discover and create new products and services. The book goes on to state that:

It's almost impossible to design something compelling for someone you don't respect or wish to understand.

So we need to decide to have some empathy for the devil (our prospects and customers) before we can truly understand his or her needs, and only when we respect our customers enough to engage them in real discussions and interactions can we create some interesting new products and services. Otherwise, we'll ignore our customers, give them what we think they want, and explain away the failures as a "lack of understanding" or "lack of knowledge" or "lack of vision" on the part of our customers. And eventually, those customers will leave us, since we don't respect them and don't create anything relevant and new.

Who is responsible for customer empathy at your firm? Shouldn't this be one of the most important roles - engaging customers and trying to understand their needs and challenges? Instead, most senior executives NEVER meet a customer. How can you empathize with someone you never meet? Perhaps we as customers need a spokesperson to reach out to the firms who offer us products and services, to act on our behalf and draw attention to our wants and needs. It's fairly clear that most firms don't know how to interact with consumers in any meaningful way. Perhaps it's time to turn the tables, and take the mountain to Mohammed.
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 8:28 AM


Anonymous Invertir en oro said...

I think your post is very good, rather I would have liked to read a bit more about this topic because I think it is quite interesting
Inversiones en petroleo

10:44 AM  
Anonymous stop smoking help said...

I’ve learn among the content articles on your web site now, and I absolutely like your model of website. I included it to my favorites web site listing and ought to be coming again quickly. Keep in mind to check out my website too and inform me what you think.

1:11 AM  
Anonymous depression cure said...

Pretty nice write-up. I simply Digging your site and desired to say that I’ve actually loved studying your blogpost. Any method I’ll be signing as much as your feed and I think you’ll publish as soon as extra within the close to future.

1:11 AM  
Anonymous how to stop premature ejaculation said...

Pretty nice write-up. I simply Digging your site and desired to say that I’ve actually loved studying your blogpost. Any method I’ll be signing as much as your feed and I think you’ll publish as soon as extra within the close to future.

1:11 AM  
Anonymous asthma treatment said...

This actually is certainly Superior experience having writing and many thanks to yahoo search engine decide up me on here. I liked reading your content and added to the e-book marks. The suggestions you used to position up was clearly understandable. My husband additionally appreciated after reading this post. Let me go through for extra earlier.

1:12 AM  
Anonymous diabetes diet said...

I want to thanks for the efforts you've made in writing this article. I am hoping the same finest work from you sooner or later as well. In reality your inventive writing abilities has inspired me to start out my very own BlogEngine weblog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a tremendous example of it.

1:12 AM  
Anonymous penis enlargement exercises said...

Pretty great write-up. I just Digging your web site and desired to say that I’ve really loved studying your blogpost. Any approach I’ll be signing up to your feed and I believe you’ll put up as soon as more in the near future.

1:12 AM  
Anonymous eczema treatment said...

Thanks so much for display somewhat helpful informations. Your website online is great.I am impressed by the info that you've on this blog. It reveals how very well you realize this subject. Bookmarked this course of web web page, will arrive back again for lots more. You, my buddy, wonderful! I found simply the information I previously appeared for all over the place and simply could not come across. What a superb internet site. Much like this internet web site your web site is considered one of my new favorite.I similar to this data shown and it has given me some sort of motivation to have accomplishment for some cause, so maintain up the useful work!

1:13 AM  
Anonymous premature ejaculation cure said...

Greetings everyone, This webpage is great and so is how the matter was expanded. I like a number of the feedback as nicely although I would like we all preserve it on matter so as add worth to the subject. It is going to be additionally encouraging to the author if all of us may share it (for some of us who use bookmarking services comparable to a digg, twitter,..).

1:13 AM  
Anonymous lower back pain treatment said...

Thanks for this post, I have been at all times searching for this convenient articels in all places however couldn't find full data offered here. thank you. and I will just reference some of you phrases .

1:13 AM  
Anonymous insomnia cures said...

I havent any phrase to understand this post.....Actually i am impressed from this post....the person who create this submit it was a terrific human..thanks for shared this with us.

1:13 AM  
Anonymous anxiety attacks treatment said...

Time is cash because the outdated saying goes, and by studying this put up, I noticed that I saved myself a variety of precious time, which might have been otherwise spent on studying low consistency data all around the almighty web. Thank you for the straight to the point, helpful input!

1:13 AM  
Anonymous tendonitis exercise said...

I wish to thank you for the efforts you might have made in penning this article. I am hoping the identical finest work from you sooner or later as well. The truth is your artistic writing talents has impressed me to begin my very own BlogEngine blog now. Really the running a blog is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a high-quality instance of it.

1:14 AM  
Anonymous asthma causes said...

Congratulations for the excellent weblog posting! I discovered your put up really attention-grabbing, I believe you’re a intelligent writer. I add on your blog to my bookmarks and will return throughout the long term. I need to inspire you to proceed that marvelous operate, have a very good day!

1:14 AM  
Anonymous asthma cure said...

Hi there!, Very attention-grabbing angle, we had been talking about the same thing at work and found your web site very stimulating. So simply needed to com-ment an enormous thank you for all your effort. Please keep up the good work your doing!

1:16 AM  
Anonymous Percetakan Jakarta said...

I really, really enjoyed this. The humor works brilliantly, and the animation is much better than I had imagined. The way you have “blended” (hehe) it all together makes this look like a solid, whole product, as good as any Pixar short. Probably better. But then again: That’s my opinion.

8:36 PM  
Blogger better ck said...

Thanks a lot for this time sharing of innovation about EMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL. This is really the best website about innovation i have ever read.
stop pre ejaculation

9:23 PM  
Blogger felicity said...

This is an awesome blog post found here... Would like to say thanks very much for the share...
home treatments for hemorrhoids

1:55 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home