Empathy Map

The Business Model Canvas Series: The Empathy Map

When mapping out your business model, the first place to start is with your customer base. A successful business will ultimately design their products or services to solve peoples’ needs and problems, so identifying those customer needs and pain points from the outset is essential. This can be done by using an Empathy Map.


What is the Empathy Map?


An empathy map is a research tool which allows you to really get inside the head of your customer. It is mapped out with the customer’s thoughts and feelings, their primary senses of seeing and hearing as well as their pains and gains. It can be used to research your users or different segments of your customer base. You can download an Empathy Map here.


The Whole Process of Mapping Out Your Business Model


  • Interview your customers.
  • Visualise that on the empathy map.
  • Start to transfer this onto The Value Proposition Canvas (this will be the next canvas in our blog series).
  • Transfer this key customer information from the Value Proposition Canvas onto The Business Model Canvas.
  • Map out the rest of The Business Model Canvas.


Interviewing Your Customers


When interviewing your customers, it’s vital that you do so without any cognitive bias–don’t make assumptions and don’t ask leading questions. The best way to interview is face-to-face or over the phone as opposed to form-filling or emailing as it allows you to have a real conversation with your customers. It’s important to tailor your interview questions to the individual customer—don’t use the empathy map questions, create your own templates that are relevant to each user. The questions you ask should get to the customer’s emotions to present the most subjective answers possible. It can be helpful to use prompts to let the customer tell their story rather than actively leading the interview yourself, for example, you could present an introduction and an overview of the interview topic, then move on to explore the specifics by really getting to know about the customer’s emotions and understanding, before concluding the interview by opening the conversation up to them.


Interviewing is more than just asking questions: it is a conversation that works through showing and telling. You will be gathering information through observation and listening—remember to take into account the customer’s body language and their tone of voice and what additional emotions these are revealing. Ultimately, the questions you ask are to learn about the customer as opposed to validate a preexisting bias.


Visualising Your Information on The Empathy Map


After interviewing your customers, this information can then be mapped out on The Empathy Map using sticky notes. This exercise is all about empathising with your customers and adopting a user-centred design approach to the services you provide for them. Designing services that really solve people’s needs and wants will ultimately create customer loyalty, so they become your biggest source of marketing. So, delivering for your clients is integral for their value and for your own success.




Overall, this is an iterative process which takes time, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t get instant results. With proper research and determination, you will learn more about your customers and your research techniques which will ultimately generate long-term success.


Look out for the next blog post in our Business Model Canvas series which will discuss The Value Proposition Canvas. We’ll outline how to transfer your user research from The Empathy Map to The Value Proposition Canvas and then how to map all this onto The Business Model Canvas.


Download our free Business Model Canvas Guide here.


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Empathy Map


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Michelle Barclay
April 16, 2018 at 4:20 pm

great article guys!

Leanne Zornes
March 29, 2019 at 3:05 am

Found this on MSN and I’m happy I did. Well written article.

Quinton Trisler
May 30, 2019 at 4:02 pm

Thanks a lot for the blog post. Really looking forward to reading more.