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Understanding customers to build relationships and communicate effectively

Peter is a business founder and manufacturing consultant. He recognised the need to focus on a clear niche but was struggling to identify his ideal clients and their problems. Like many consultants, he wants to build relationships, understand how his clients think and feel, and communicate with the right people. I suggested he use empathy mapping.

Peter prefers to try something for himself and then get feedback. So, I gave him an empathy map template and a few instructions. A few weeks later, he had seven maps and felt overwhelmed.

Talking through his maps, it was clear Peter had fallen into the trap of too much detail. Instead, I suggested he look for the common traits that reveal the problems of his clients and help him tailor his offer. We quickly identified he only needed two personas.

Peter uses his empathy maps in four ways:

  1. Marketing – Peter’s marketing now talks about the problems he solves rather than his services.
  2. Targeting different organisations and layers within organisations – Peter better understands what different clients need and can target his prospecting.
  3. Service definition – Peter designed his services around his personas to drive more enquiries from the people he wants to work with.
  4. An emerging benefit – Peter recognised that many smaller manufacturers struggle to support their employees. He now talks confidently about this problem and how he can help.

Getting to know Bernadette and Colin

As a result, Peter feels close to his client personas – Bernadette and Colin – and really wants to support them in their businesses. And has the understanding and tools to do so.

Empathy map Bernadette
Empathy map Colin

Next steps for Peter

I am now supporting Peter through a customer eyes review of his new website and mentoring him in his prospecting activities.

I first met Michelle through our common desire to improve manufacturing businesses, but it was only when she demonstrated just how important it was for me to understand how my clients think that I realised how beneficial her insights and expertise could be for me.

She showed me how to develop some client empathy maps, and these were so clear that it drove me to rethink and redesign my website to focus on the customer journey and experience first.

Michelle doesn’t provide just sound advice, but enables you to test whether your actions will actually achieve what you intended. She provided me with a written Customer Eyes report for the website prior to public release and worked through with me how to optimise the content and structure from a customer perspective, so that I’m now confident that the clients that I know I can help will know that their needs are being heard and that the experience they have from the website will match the experience from delivery of the service.

Unlike other business consultants who treat Customer Experience as just a standard business consulting “add-on”, Michelle specialises in making the client important, which elevates your profile, and in my opinion also elevates hers!

Without Michelle’s support it would have taken a lot of trial and error, and we’re now very focused on what we do and for whom we provide it, and I’m confident that Michelle will continue to provide even more, amazing, core support.

Peter Francis, Founder and Managing Director

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