Data That Feels The Customer

Data is more than just numbers. Data gives us insight into our customers’s minds and their everyday behavior. In healthcare, data is being used to predict and prevent, cure disease, and improve patient quality of life. The more we use data to learn about and understand our customers, the more we can design meaningful customer experiences that drive engagement.

Often the data that can seem overwhelming and about numbers can uncover a human truth or a unique insight that was missed because everyday understanding might touch only one part of a health situation. We cannot underestimate what data exposes and can offer creative folks for ideation. 

Empathy from data

For years the word “data” would make people feel cold because they didn’t understand its usefulness beyond numbers. Yes, data is facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis; however, as you begin to understand a customer’s health journey, suddenly data takes on a whole new meaning.



While we must always walk in the customers’s shoes to feel their pain, we must also use data to expose richer and more complex information (like another group of customers experiencing a similar experience) that we might not get while taking the walk. This, in turn, exposes human health truths and greater insights into the uniqueness as well as the similarities of our customers.

Data isn’t one-dimensional; it offers so many layers of analysis into health situations. The more we know about our customers, the better we understand their circumstances, and this offers fodder for real-world problem solving.

Feeling, knowing, and designing

The power of data is that it provides a level of deep knowledge and understanding for creatives when designing. When you combine data with empathy to ideate and design for your customer, the creative problem-solving opportunities are endless. Data plus empathy will not only provide a method of thinking and feeling to begin the creative process, it will also provide a rationale for everything that is created. Because the data will also support what one designs.

Empathic data drives creativity, which drives engagement 

So, next time you embark on a creative challenge, I challenge you to use empathy with data to help fuel your design ideas. Take a deeper look at the brief; challenge your strategists to ensure that the data has been mined to give you richer insights into your customers, their challenges, and their journey; and then walk in their shoes. After that, let the ideas flow. And in the process, take the time to identify with your customer and balance empathy with data to design meaningful experiences that touch people.

The future of our industry will be defined by how creatively we use data (with empathy) to drive more meaningful engagement with our customer. The combination of data plus empathy should be at the core of every customer experience that we design.

1 comment about "Data That Feels The Customer".
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  1. Chris Smith from idfive, January 29, 2018 at 11:39 a.m.

    Interesting article. Thank you. I would agree but data or "big data" is only half of the equation that leads to empathy. For every Quant, there needs to be a Qual and the Qual to Data's Quant is Ethnography. Stories from your patients/customers, insert in any category here really, provide context to the big data...  AND you don't need to be a statistical analyst to understand the power of a story told by those that are using your products or services first-hand. 

    idifve's Chief Anthropologist Dr. Robbie Blinkoff has written on these matters too. Follow him on LinkedIn

    idfive is the creator of Anthrolog, an SMS-based ethnogrphic research tool to investigate the gap between what people say and what people mean. 

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