This article is part of a three-part series on empathy sessions:

This article discusses functionality that is included in the Aha! Ideas Advanced plan. Please contact us if you would like a live demo or want to try using it in your account.

Aha! Ideas | Schedule an empathy session (Advanced plan)

The secret to building a lovable product? Empathy. Customers love products built by people who deeply care about them, and the products themselves meet real customer needs.

The first step to prioritizing what your customer needs is to ask them. Empathy sessions are a way to gather a group of customers and discuss an idea submitted through your ideas portal.

In empathy sessions, you can automatically invite anyone who voted or commented on the idea, prepare discussion guides ahead of the session, then engage with your customers through a live conversation.

After the empathy session is over, you can analyze it — summarize key learnings, promote any feedback to new ideas, and gather any additional insights you've recovered.

Click any of the following links to skip ahead:

Schedule an empathy session

The first step towards using an empathy session is to create it. Any user with at least contributor user permissions can create and manage empathy sessions in your account.

Many empathy sessions start with an existing idea — particularly one with subscribers that are actively commenting — so that you can have a live discussion with people invested in an idea's success.

  • To schedule an empathy session from an idea, open the idea in your Aha! Ideas account and then click More options Schedule empathy session. Scheduling the session this way will link it to the idea and automatically populate idea subscribers as contacts for you to invite.

    There are a few exceptions to this. Aha! Ideas users who create an idea will not be automatically invited to an empathy session. Likewise, submit-only portals do not have portal users to invite.

  • You can also create an empathy session without linking it to an idea. To do this, navigate to Ideas Empathy sessions and click Schedule session.

The Schedule empathy session builder will take you through the rest of the process.



Name and describe your session with a Name and Topic — both of which will be visible to external contacts. Click Next to continue.



Next, Schedule your empathy session with a Date, Time, and Time zone. You have the option here to create a single- or multi-day empathy session.

  • Schedule a single-day empathy session for conversations that you want to respond to live. By running a session with all the voices you need at one time, you can respond in real time to your customers' perspectives, so that they feel heard immediately.

  • Schedule a multi-day empathy session for conversations where it is difficult to gather everyone together at the same time. By increasing the duration of your session, you make room for voices that would not get to participate otherwise, so that they can contribute on their schedule.

Empathy sessions will not start until you click Start session now and do not end until you click End session. This means that you can start a session early or extend it past its end date if you are in the middle of a great conversation. The Date and Time fields you enter here will be copied into the welcome email your contacts receive, to help them budget time for your session.

Click Next to continue.



In the Ideas step, Select ideas to discuss. If you scheduled your empathy session from an idea, that idea will already be linked here but you can always select more. Any idea you select will automatically populate the idea's subscribers as contacts for you to invite. Contacts will not be able to see which ideas you select in this step. Click Next to continue.



In the Contacts step, choose who should be invited to your empathy session. (Invites will not be sent out until you choose to — either at the end of this session builder or after you have created the session.) The choices you have made in the previous steps will populate the list of contacts to invite: any user who voted or commented on ideas associated with your empathy session. Use this step to remove contacts you want to exclude or invite participants whose feedback you want to include in the session. You can also invite contacts manually after completing the session builder.

Contacts will not be able to see the list of invited contacts.

Click Next to continue.



The Brand step is optional, so you can choose to Skip it. However, by customizing your empathy session to match your company's brand, you make the session that much more familiar for your contacts.

  • Theme color: Select a color for your empathy session. Use a hex color code to select a custom color. This color will be used as a background color in emails and in the empathy session itself.

  • Logo: Upload your logo to the empathy session. This logo will be used in the empathy session header and in emails relating to the session. Logos should be at least 480px by 300px with a preferred aspect ratio of 1.6:1.

  • Email reply-to name: The name you enter here will be used as the "From" name for emails sent to your empathy session's contacts.

  • Email reply-to email: The email address you enter here will be used as the "Reply-to" email address for emails sent to this empathy session's contacts.

  • Email templates: You can configure the email templates for emails your empathy session will send, much like you can customize the email templates your ideas portal sends. In this step, you can customize the Invitation and Confirmation emails. After you have created your empathy session, you can also customize the Session reminder emails that remind your contacts to attend your session.

    • Invitation: This is the email that you will send in the next step of the empathy session builder, inviting users to participate. You can customize the wording of the Subject or the first paragraph of the Body to make it match your tone and brand.

    • Confirmation: Contacts who accept your invitation to the empathy session will receive this email. You can customize the wording of the Subject or the first paragraph of the Body to make it match your tone and brand.



The last step of the Schedule empathy session builder will change depending on whether you have included any contacts to invite.

  • If you have included contacts, then you have the option to Schedule session and send invites or just Schedule session and send invites later.

  • If you have not included contacts, you have the option to Schedule the session and jump to the Contacts tab to add contacts or to just Schedule the session.

Congratulations! You have created an empathy session — now it is time to prepare it.


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