Begin with the End [Customer] in Mind

Jon Harmer
2 min readJun 27, 2018

To paraphrase Stephen Covey’s 2nd habit — https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits-habit2.php , “Begin with the end in mind”, I say “Begin with the Customer in mind.” Doing that enables you to have clear insights into who they are, what their pains or problems are, what their motivations and gains are, the jobs they have to do, all kinds of useful stuff. Whether you’re a Product Manager or a Marketer, you have to develop this level of customer empathy in order to be effective. And it can be incredibly useful for both sales people and support people as well. Anyone who has contact with or makes things for the customer or user can benefit from having this empathy.

Customer service reps are frequently trained on various ways to create customer empathy. Think about a time where you felt one way about someone or something, but then got to know the person or context and your feelings about them changed.

There are all kinds of ways of capturing this information, based on how uncertain you are and how much it will cost you to be wrong. More uncertainty and higher cost of being wrong = do more research. This shouldn’t be a shocker and you’re probably doing a lot of these in different ways already. There are tons of artifacts like personas, empathy maps, customer journeys, etc. that end up feeding into product design and messaging. In a future post, I’ll help you determine how much time you should spend developing this empathy through these artifacts, because some of them take a lot of time and effort to create, and maybe aren’t always worth the investment.

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Jon Harmer

I understand users and buyers and their problems. I help solve those problems and communicate that value.