Proto CEO Damian Kernahan lecturing on What is Empathy

Empathy the missing ingredient to drive experience innovation

Two years ago I read a book by Dev Patnaik called "Wired to Care" which had a profound impact on the way we go about conducting our business and how we approach getting close to customers to truly understand them. The book is about empathy, about really understanding customers, not just demographics and market research reports. Empathy places you in your customer's shoes and enables you to make the right decisions for customers because you really truly understand their life and their emotional drivers. In light of that, I liked the following article by Jorge Barba, simple lessons but never-the-less, good ones to help turn your most valuable customers into raving fans.

Recently I was in Mexico to have lunch with a friend. I went to pick him up from a meeting but had to wait a few minutes outside of his offices. As I was waiting for him I parked in front of a pharmacy and it dawned on me that in this particular area there were five pharmacies in about a half-mile radius. These pharmacies all looked alike, they were not from the same brand and the only distinction was the colour of their walls. I have no doubt they operate the same way. It got me thinking about how I could differentiate one from the others…

Experience innovation is a difference maker

Innovating an experience improves or reinvents the customer experience in the purchase or usage of a product or service. Companies such as Disney stand out as a prime example of what it means to innovate a customer experience. Apple is right there too with their Apple store. The reason both stand out is because they’ve created an alternate reality, says Scott Gould.

Another great example of a company that stands out is Umpqua. We all know what a traditional bank looks like, well Umpqua does the opposite:

Umpqua’s 15-year track record of growth has little to do with the products it markets, which are virtually identical to the products offered by other banks. What’s distinctive about Umpqua has to do with how it offers those products — its commitment to reimagining the experience of interacting with a bank. Davis puts it this way: “If you took a person, blindfolded them, sent them to a bank, and took the blindfold off, 99% percent of them would say, ‘I’m in some bank somewhere.’ We want our customers to say, ‘I’m in an Umpqua bank.’ We don’t want the experience of banking here to feel like banking anywhere else.”

That’s why Umpqua designs its branches to appeal to all five human senses.

What Umpqua understands is that to be and stay relevant, you have to be different in every sense of the word. Not just ‘be different’ as a marketing ploy, but ‘do different’ and make a difference.

The entire article can be accessed here.

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