It doesn’t matter what you do — If you’re not talking to users, you’re building for yourself.

And why so many companies still struggling to get things right and wondering ‘why?’

Joseph Emmi
May 17, 2019 · 3 min read

One word, empathy.

If you’re building things for someone else and you don’t care about them, how do you expect to serve them well?

Because you know what you’re doing you say? Because you know what your customers want? Because you’ve done it for years?

Great, let me ask one question then: why is that you still struggling to deliver solutions that really have an impact?

Solutions that people really want to use, but more importantly, that are usable and add value, that actually solves any of their problems. Solving, not replacing it, or digitising it.

“If you don’t have a concern for others when trying to solve a problem, you pick your own favourite idea rather than the more innovative solution”

Adam Grant

Responsibility and Ownership

When was the last time that you and your team took the time to speak to customers or users of your product/service?

Have you ever seen them interacting with it?

If the answer is never, almost never, or more than 6 months ago, you’re flying blind. And no, having a customer service team that gives you feedback is not the same, in fact, it doesn’t count.

This is no matter of size or brand. Before excuses start to arise about budget or capacity or that you’re not Google or Amazon, check Basecamp for instance, a 58 (yes, fifty-eight) people company that has found the way to do this successfully.

At Basecamp, everyone does customer support.

Despite having a fully dedicated customer support team, every single member of the company from, from top to bottom, does one (1) day of customer support every month, so they can all have a closer look to what’s actually happening with their product.

A smart, real, fast and tangible way obtain an invaluable and clear understanding of what is going wrong and why, but also at times, what is going well, and also why.

“Put yourself in situations where you meet the people who benefit from your work. It’s one thing to know your work has an impact. It’s a really powerful thing to understand what that impact is.”

Adam Grant

There’s nothing more powerful than a developer or a designer listening firsthand from customers how frustrating a feature conceived as an improvement is actually doing the opposite.

But, it is behind the rationale of the problem where the true power lies and what we could not probably get from just “feedback” received by another team. This way helping to better inform decisions in the future, or at least making better-educated guesses.

It’s about growing the entire organisation’s empathy, about openness, the willingness to truly learn instead of just reply and react, but also the humility to accept that you might be wrong.

It’s about recognising the impact of what we do and taking full responsibility.

Day 2 of 100 #100daysofwriting2019

The Bridge

A crossroad between Technology, Business and Design

Joseph Emmi

Written by

Technology + Business + Design + Entrepreneurship

The Bridge

A crossroad between Technology, Business and Design

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