Client Empathy Mapping

AAM Summit 2018 - CPA Firm Marketing

2018 AAM Summit – Think Fresh! Pre-Conference Post

Have you ever wondered, “What can I do in less than half a day that, more than almost anything else, will transform my firm’s way of thinking, create awareness, build value, and focus my team on improving our clients’ experience?”

If you’re looking for a quick way to jump-start a client-centric culture, or you need to align everyone’s approach before a big pursuit, consider starting with a simple and powerful exercise called Client Empathy Mapping (CEM). A client empathy map allows you to quickly, clearly, and simply build a better picture of the underlying drivers for a client, and then proactively respond to those needs.

What are the Benefits of a Client Empathy Map?

Client Empathy Maps are useful for several purposes. At their core, they give your team a deeper understanding of the client. This allows you to design an experience for your clients with greater confidence that it will meet their needs and address any underlying concerns they may have. If you haven’t been through the process yet, set aside some time with key stakeholders in your firm to build one map, and experience firsthand the value. Every time we have led a group through the exercise, 100% of the participants say the time was well spent. Key reasons you might decide to host a CEM session:

  • Kickstarting a Client Experience Program
  • Pursuing a Major Project / Opportunity
  • Entering a New Market
  • Desire to Increase Share of Wallet with a Key Client
  • Onboarding a New Client
  • Hiring new Client-facing Staff / Leaders
  • Seeking to Understand Why Internal Initiatives are not Getting Buy-in
  • Increasing Concern of Competition / Client Attrition

What is a Client Empathy Map?

A CEM is more a process than a document. You and your colleagues collaborate to anticipate the questions, needs, and behaviors of the client you are seeking to better understand the five key phases of their journey, as seen in figure 1. By capturing the rational and emotional states throughout the journey, you will see clear opportunities to guide the client towards positive outcomes, head off negative events, and create happier and more loyal clients.

Client Empathy Maps are a simple way to visualize the totality of a client’s experience. Different than a Journey Map or an Ecosystem Map (both of which can be difficult to create for long & complex journeys), the Empathy Map focuses on client understanding, rather than the full mechanics of the processes and touch points. The output of an Empathy Map may reveal sub-sections of the client journey that can be further improved with a more detailed approach like a Journey Map or Ecosystem Map.

To learn how to create an empathy map for your team, join the AAM pre-conference workshop, or email [email protected] to request a copy of the complete Client Empathy Mapping guidebook with examples.

Client Empathy - CPA Firm Marketing


To get more information or register for 2018 AAM Summit: Think Fresh! click here. 

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About Ryan Suydam

Ryan Suydam co-founded Client Savvy in 2004, to help firms create fierce client loyalty by designing, implementing, and measuring client experiences. He has coached over 300 organizations and over 10,000 professionals on the skills required to be “client savvy.” His clients are twice as likely to be recommended by their clients, three times as likely to realize above-average financial returns, and consistently attract and retain better employees. Based in Raleigh, NC, he welcomes your questions at [email protected].

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