Building Business Empathy

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John Stone
Director, Product & Market Management – Global A&D, Aviation

It has long been said that if you truly want to understand someone, you must first walk a mile in their shoes. The metaphor is meant to stress the importance empathy, and what better a topic to start the new blog.

In today’s global social-economy, individuals are less connected by human interaction and more connected by feeds, tweets, status updates and SMS. These people are working for corporations that are under tremendous pressure, trying to survive, in what has been a less than stellar economy by trying to preserve capital, cope with losses in sales and still employ most of their workforces. These Corporations sell products and services to consumers that are demanding more for their money, more responsible environmental policies and better service. So how do we, as a leader in the Enterprise Systems Solutions space, better serve our customers in these challenging and changing times?

Self evaluation was a good starting point, but it is important to note that we didn’t count on introspection alone. Empathy plays an even larger role in our collective abilities to respond to the demands of the collective social economies, and there are three empathetic perspectives that are required:

1. Enterprise Empathy – We must understand the real pressures that the business enterprise is facing on a day to day basis. Not from our perspective of value propositions and best practices, but from their perspective of payroll, regulations, labor concerns and the bottom line.

2. Organizational Empathy – Organizations are typically highly charged political structures. Our job, as an empathy driven solution provider, is to understand the reality of those pressures and help our customer/partners management team work through those problems as they relate to our solutions.

3. Individual Empathy – Despite how well intentioned we are with our products; there is generally change related backlash. Change management is an essential piece of enterprise solution adoption. Change management alone, however, is not enough. Successful solutions are designed from a ‘end-user-value-creation’ perspective. Meaning, every user of our system must feel like we are making their life easier, helping them solve problems or protecting them from embarrassment or discharge.

A relentless pursuit of satisfied customers begins with empathy. At Ramco, we are working with our customer partners to ‘walk a mile in their shoes’ to ensure that we are capable and trusted us to solve the problems that they are facing each and every day.