Introducing Empathy Sessions
October 28, 2020

Introducing Empathy Sessions

by Claire George

Remember focus groups? In the movies they are always held in a conference room with a white board and a two-way mirror for observing people. But for anyone who has run one firsthand, you know how helpful it can be to gather people together to ask what they think and feel about a particular topic. Meaningful conversations lead to innovation. So we created a virtual version with powerful capabilities — we call them empathy sessions.

Quickly bring groups of customers together for an online conversation — that you moderate.

Last week we launched a new product — Aha! Ideas. It is ideal for teams of all types to drive initiatives from innovation programs to employee engagement. There are two plan options — Ideas Essential and Ideas Advanced. Empathy sessions are included as part of the advanced functionality.

With empathy sessions you can bring customers together for an online, chat-based conversation. You can also engage your colleagues in internal feedback programs and some customers are starting to use them to hold account reviews with their largest customers.

There are customizable invitations, discussion guides, live polling, and stored transcripts so you can focus on what matters most — internalizing what people really think and feel. Great products and services are built when we move from just listening to the voice of the customer to deep understanding.

Here is how to run an efficient and thoughtful empathy session:

Identify the ideas you need more feedback on

Choose a specific topic that you want to explore, such as an upcoming feature or a new service. Then schedule your empathy session. If you schedule directly from an idea record, customers who voted or commented will be automatically suggested as participants to invite. (You can manually add participants too.) The empathy session builder will guide you through the next steps — from selecting a time to branding the invitations.

If you need to invite a participant directly or remember a participant who is not on your list, use a direct link.

Prepare for the discussion

Make the most out of your time with the folks you invited. Create a discussion guide with the exact questions and poll content you want to include. Reference questions from the guide during your live session to keep the conversation on track. This will help you lead the conversation with confidence — so you can gain the valuable insights you need.

Only session organizers will be able to see the discussion guide.

Only session organizers will be able to see the discussion guide.

Engage your audience with polls

Gather quantitative feedback to validate your learnings. Add a poll right in the chat with your question and provide multiple choice answers. As a best practice, keep polls concise and avoid vague options such as "other" or "maybe." Now you have specific data to help you contextualize the qualitative feedback. And you can always ask follow-up questions in a threaded chat to better understand sentiment.

Poll the participants of an empathy session for additional insights.

Record customer insights

Time to take action on your new insights. You can star important messages and link them to ideas — so valuable learnings instantly become actionable requests. Document important findings in the insights tab to provide a clear summary of what you learned. Now the entire team can benefit from what you discovered during the empathy session. And the session will be tied to the original ideas so you can always revisit what you learned.

Link messages from empathy sessions to existing ideas or create new ones.

Empathy is a skill that we all can grow — keep pursuing real connection and you will build relationships and experiences that are truly exceptional.

Join our live product event on November 11 to learn more about cultivating empathy with Aha! Ideas. You will hear from Aha! co-founder Brian de Haaff about using empathy to build lovable products and why it is needed more than ever, then see the first major demo of Aha! Ideas.

Sign up for a free trial — grow your empathy

Aha! Ideas is now available to teams everywhere. Sign up for a free 30-day trial. If you are looking for seamlessly integrated idea and product management, please choose Aha! Roadmaps (which includes Ideas Essentials). And if you are an existing Aha! Roadmaps customer who wants to host empathy sessions, email to try it free in your account for 14 days.

Claire George

Claire George

Claire is passionate about helping product development teams learn how to bring their strategy to life. She is the director of product marketing at Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software. Claire has 20 years of marketing and software experience. Previously, she led product marketing at an agile-based work management platform.

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