Empathizing With Customers | Annette Franz | Engati CX

Annette Franz, CCXP, founder, and CEO of CX Journey Inc, shares three ways how to craft better customer experiences with the power of empathizing with customers.

Annette Franz is the founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc. She’s got more than 25 years of experience helping companies understand their employees and customers and identify what drives retention, satisfaction, engagement, and the overall experience — so that employees, customers, and businesses reap the benefits and achieve their desired outcomes. She’s the author of Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of the Business). Annette was named one of “The 100 Most Influential Tech Women on Twitter” by Business Insider and is regularly recognized by companies around the world as a top influencer in Customer Experience.

In your book, “Customer Understanding,” you shared a couple of ways of how to put the “Customer” in Customer Experience. Can you elaborate on this with us?

According to Annette, there are three ways to achieve “Customer Understanding” is to listen, characterize, and to


Listening is really about feedback and it’s about data. We can achieve listening through surveys, online reviews, customer advisory boards, and panels. Plus all the other different ways customers give feedback. But it’s all about the breadcrumbs of data that customers leave behind as they interact and transact with the brand.

When we marry this data with the received feedback, magic happens.


Characterizing is all about developing personas. A persona being a research-based qualification of a similar group of customers. In the sense that they have similar pain-points, problems to solve, jobs to be done, needs, expectations, etc. It’s all research-based and based on interactions. Annette actually talks to her customers to develop these personas and even that is not enough. We also need to get into their heads, which is where empathy comes in.


Empathizing with customers is key to crafting better experiences. To empathize is to walk into your customer’s shoes. In addition, we also have to understand the experience they’re having today. Then we have to use that information to co-create and design a superb experience for them tomorrow.

This is also where journey mapping comes in- not the tool, but the process. The process includes current state mapping, future-state mapping, and more.

Companies shouldn’t be trying to sell products to customers. They should be trying to develop products for customers. That’s the real way to do it.

How can emerging technologies like automation, AI, chatbots, etc., be used to create better customer experiences?

We have to remember-

Technology is a facilitator. It’s about emotions, interactions, and experiences. We cannot throw technology to solve a people problem. It has to be used as a facilitator. — Annette Franz

Technology is a facilitator. It’s about emotions, interactions, and experiences. We cannot throw technology to solve a people problem. It has to be used as a facilitator.

Research suggests that as technology becomes more advanced, people want to interact with people. A chatbot can certainly be a tool to start and facilitate this conversation. But we also have to draw the line between it being helpful and realizing that a human needs to take over.

Ultimately, automation is about making it easy, but when it becomes unproductive, there has to be a path for customers to talk to representatives.

It’s our job to design the path and make the transition from chatbot to humans easier.

Empathizing with Customers — A Spotify Podcast with Annette Franz

The rest of our interview with Annette discusses the role social media plays in customer communication during the pandemic. Annette also shares that the three ways to achieve “Customer Understanding” can also be used to craft better employee experiences. Listen to her break it down in the podcast. Listen to it now:

Coming soon!

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Engati CX

We hope you learned a lot about how to empathize with customers in this interview. Engati CX will be back with a new expert in a new episode soon. Stay tuned.

Find Annette Franz

No one understands customers better than Annette does. For more tips on how to create marvelous customer experiences, find her on LinkedIn and Twitter, and definitely check out her book!

More from Engati CX

Now that you’ve learned about customers and empathy, it’s time to learn about Growth Hacking.

Here’s a crash course on Growth Hacking 101 with Johnathan Aufray.

Originally published at https://blog.engati.com on May 30, 2020.



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