Patniak’s premise is that we are better able to feel empathy for our customers if we understand their experience. I know that when I worked in Consumer Packaged Goods that I didn’t spend enough time in our customers’ stores. And I didn’t spend enough time with the end purchaser — the consumer. I wasn’t even vaguely like her. In order to have empathy for her, I should have walked a few miles in her shoes. But I didn’t. I thought that I was too busy dealing with running a business. Boy, was I wrong.
Interacting with our customers face to face, experiencing what they do helps us innovate and helps us serve the customer. The more external connection that we have, the more likely we are to understand our competitive environment and what we need to do to respond to it.