Personal Needs vs. Customer Relationships

Many companies talk about the need to establish strong ‘relationships’ with their customers. Some compile complex Customer Relationship Management algorithms to develop and maintain these relationships. And, these companies rightly recognize that the transactional interactions of the past are ineffective in creating loyal customers.

The concept of customer relationships makes sense in the context of meeting personal needs. As in all interpersonal relationships, from friendships, to marriage, to company and client, trust and the promise of mutual benefits are the foundation for growth and development. When we put others’ needs first in relationships, we’re more likely to make those relationships work.

Emotional Needs Not Yet a Business Priority

After decades of formally documenting the stages of business-customer relationships, we’ve learned that many companies become complacent in their endeavor to understand, satisfy, and embrace the emotional needs of consumers. Companies understand the meaning of ‘relationships,’ but rarely consider what it takes to make their audiences’ needs a priority. They seemingly cross their fingers hoping that what brought customers to their company will cause them to be loyal. Just as in most human romantic relationships, business-to-consumer relationships fall apart when one party (the business) fails to track the evolving needs of the partner (the consumer). The challenge of sustaining long-term value pushes businesses toward considering short-term relationships as the easiest route to profits.

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About the Author

Mark Ingwer PhD is a consumer psychologist and the managing partner of Insight Consulting Group, a global marketing and strategy consultancy specializing in market research and consumer insights. He has over 25 years of experience applying his unique blend of psychology, marketing, and business acumen to helping companies optimize their brand and marketing strategy based on an in-depth understanding of their customers. He is the author of the book, Empathetic Marketing published by Palgrave.

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