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Why is empathy important?

19th May, 2016

Empathy is important for a huge number of different roles in a company. From the support team, dealing with difficulties customers are having with the product, through to the designers and makers creating the product, having empathy is super useful.

However, how many people actually have empathy with the people they're trying to serve? I see so many products being launched (physical & digital) where it just doesn't quite work. There's something slightly off. And the products that are the most successful? You can tell the people creating these, actually have empathy with their audience, and really "get" them.

Take Slack. Why does it have such a great reputation? It's simple really. It knows exactly what people who want to do, and makes it so much easier, and more pleasant to do these actions. In terms of core features, it's pretty similar to it's competitors, but everything just feels so much easier. It integrates with everything, and just make everything easy. There's no pain points.

What's the secret sauce?

I'd hazard a guess that the secret sauce to Slack's success is simply that they're using their own product, in a natural way. You can never recreate how something will actually be used in a testing environment.

At GatherContent, we've started doing this more regularly in the last few months, and the number of little annoyances we've discovered have been so amazing. Small tweaks, that we can take into consideration as we've rebuilt parts of the app, have improved the user experience so much.

Using your own products (whether digital or physical) can help you live and breathe the same issues that your customers are seeing. Feeling the same pains, and the same delights can help you make intelligent product decisions.

Oh, and I wrote this post in GatherContent 😉

[Edit on republish on 10th December 2023] - at the time I was working at GatherContent, it was very useful to feel our customers pains and successes by using the platform.

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© Ben Hubbard 2023