Founding Custellence: Empathy is the Key to Better Customer Experience

Empathy for the customer has always been a focus of Custellence’s founder, Daniel Ewerman. With a background in Industrial Design, he realized early on that the product paradigm was shifting to a service paradigm. That services were not simply additions that you put on a product after it’s created to help sell the product. Rather, the service itself is at the core of the offering and what makes up the customer experience. It was this understanding of the customer’s needs and the passion to use these insights to deliver a better consumer experience that motivated Daniel in 1998 to start the design strategy consultancy firm Transformator Design.

He recognized that in most organizations, there was a gap between how businesses thought of their customer’s journey and how the customers actually experienced a service/product. Organizations tend to focus on touchpoints thinking that they explain the entirety of their customer’s journey. But a true customer journey is so much more than that. Understanding the real customer journey requires you to step inside the customer’s shoes. Using empathy, describe the situations the customer goes through leading up to, during, and after the touchpoints. And the emotions, thoughts, and attitudes beyond those touchpoints. In 1998, this was pioneering thinking.

Organizations should focus more on what their customers want them to be really good at and less on what they think they are bad at” - Daniel Ewerman

In a previous life, before his venture into service design, Daniel was the bassist for a Swedish grunge alternative rock band called Salt. As a musician, Daniel understood the power of timing and structure of a melody. One misplaced or out-of-tune note affects the whole song. The need for harmony between the various parts of a track is similar to the need for harmony in the customer’s journey. One night while working on a song in the digital audio workstation Logic, Daniel had this epiphany. Mastering the customer journey and creating music are fundamentally the same. They are sequences where the timeline is holy.

Around this same time, there were digital tools on the market to help with customer journey mapping. Yet they all had two common flaws. They were all digitalized methods but not a model for customer journey mapping, and they lacked versatility. For Daniel, the most common struggle was getting his clients to understand their customer’s situations. They needed a way to better understand the customer journeys. A way to picture them tangibly and flexibly so that they could make them more understandable to create customer empathy internally.

Custellence began as a tool for Transfomator Design to help their clients work with their customer journeys. Helping them center their offering around a customer-centric perspective. But Custellence quickly grew beyond its beginnings, and by 2017 the two companies officially separated. The vision for Custellence from day one was to be versatile with a global design. The tool was built with the understanding of the two things Customer Experience professionals needed most:  

  • An intuitive and easy-to-use digital whiteboard. With no learning curve, that worked with lanes and floating cards to allow CX people to work freely, unconstrained by any grid. Just like making music, people needed a way of putting down what’s in their heads without knowing the final result or structure of their journey map. To be a living document that was flexible enough to capture the bigger picture as well as the tiniest details. One where people across organizational silos could easily understand and contribute without spending valuable time learning the tool.
  • Just as importantly, it needed to excel at stakeholder management. Helping share the customer perspective and story while capturing the attention and interest of all stakeholders. Displaying complex information in a clear, easily understandable way. With the adaptability to highlight and hide certain layers of information to communicate easier to stakeholders. Part of leading the customer experience initiative is getting the customer journey on the agenda of management. This is what Custellence was designed to do. In the clearest, simplest, and most engaging way possible.

As of today, Custellence has become synonymous with customer-centric driven change around the world, with users in over 125 countries. Helping bring a more empathetic approach to customer experience in multiple industries from insurance to energy, healthcare to banking, and so much more. At Custellence, we share Daniel’s passion for creating better customer experiences. By being the tool to help you easily map out your customer’s journey to drive customer-centric change in your organization. 

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