Oct 2, 2018 Written by David Barlev

How To Help Your Product Team Improve The Customer Experience

If you want to help your product development team create a better customer experience, you really need to help them get into the heads of your customers. And what’s the easiest way to do that? It’s not what you think.


We all know what empathy means: it’s having the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing and to put yourself in their position. It’s the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person.

But what’s all this got to do with product development? It turns out, a lot.

If product managers truly want to get to know their customers and understand their pain points, they need to understand the emotional landscape these people are dealing with.

Product managers who lead with empathy will constantly be asking themselves things like:

  • How does using the product make the customer feel?
  • How does the customer feel when they’re not using the product, compared to when they are?
  • What would be the ideal emotional outcome for this person?
  • How does this person want to feel while using the product?

And while this is all about getting people in the feels, the real effects of empathy in product development can be seen across every measurable customer experience metric. Empathy isn’t really something that can be measured, but the results of it sure can be.

Product teams who are struggling to connect with their customers on a deeper level need to be asking themselves things like:

  • How can we become emotionally connected with our customers?
  • What are the most impactful positive (and negative) emotional responses?
  • Which emotions should we try to tap into?

Here are some quick and easy empathy practices that can help send your product development team down the path of improved CX:

  • Incorporate empathy-driven customer feedback into your product development team’s process. Customer feedback and surveys are most commonly used in the customer service department or offboarding process, but this is a massive missed opportunity. The product development team should be actively uncovering the real emotional drivers behind people using your product.
  • Insist every team member is actually using the product or service. You can’t expect your team to wear someone else’s shoes, without actually wearing them. In order to understand the frustrations and emotional impact, ensure your people are customers, too.
  • When tracking and sharing customer experience metrics, do not focus solely on the negative. Ensure your team gets the full story, and hears from happy clients as well. This can give major insight into the emotional reasons people are using your product, and help you understand how they want to feel.
  • Incorporate empathy KPI’s into your product development process, and create some benchmarks around what your company believes represents a happy customer. You’ve got to start somewhere, and you can’t measure what you don’t track.
  • Take your Buyer Persona to the next level with an Empathy Map.
  • Have members of your product development team spend time regularly with the customer service department. Have them answer questions, and connect with actual users. This will ensure they wholeheartedly understand what problems customers are dealing with on a regular basis, in real-time.

Although empathy is considered a soft-skill, the numbers don’t lie – incorporating empathy practices into your product development process is one of the easiest ways to drive that CX needle up!