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CRM and Maslow Need Theory

One might wonder what Maslow's need theory and CRM have in common. Rather, are these in any way related? Believe it or not, this need theory has played an unseen role for defining a CRM roadmap across industries. In this blog I will try to instantiate need wise impact made by Maslow's theory on defining a CRM strategy (Telecom perspective). For those who are not aware of Maslow's need theory, please read this.

Physiological needs are basic requirements for customer to be with a company. If these requirements are not met, the customer will churn. For a company's CRM strategy, physiological needs form a part of core value proposition to customers. As a first step, any company which forays into the telecom market, needs to possess basic network infrastructure, good connectivity, rating and charging mechanisms etc. which transform into the physiological needs for a customer.

With customers physiological needs satisfied, safety needs dominate behavior. Company must assure customers of service/ product security, identity security, secure connectivity, safety against spam calls/ telemarketers, safe billing etc. As a customer, I should be guaranteed that I will get value commensurate to what I pay. If not, I have liberty to request a rollback. Safety needs help company build on core value proposition and create a brand image which is next building block of CRM plan.

Love, Belonging
After safety needs are fulfilled, third level is interpersonal which involves feelings of belongingness. This is a step where the company can carve a niche for brand differentiation. Loyalty programs are a strong way to communicate a customer's belongingness to a company. Very few Telco's offer loyalty programs to customers, which is primarily because of nature of the industry. If not loyalty programs, Telco's can make their customers feel cared for by personalizing their interactions such as greeting on one's birthday, suggesting usage based personalized plan and recommending location based offers.

Self Esteem
All customers need to feel respected; this includes self-esteem and self-respect. It is a part of final building block of CRM strategy - Customer experience. Customer service is a prominent field which involves customer respect and esteem. Serving customers with courtesy and dedication is the key to great customer experience. Moreover, there's always an opportunity camouflaged in a problem - unearthing the opportunity will make the customer feel heard and will elevate their esteem.

This need moves customer experience to an entire new level. Self-actualization is rare; however every company should try its level best to achieve this need. Some characteristics which I think define a company at this level are:
• Launching innovative offerings on a constant basis
• Being omnipresent, available to customers across time zones and across a variety of channels
• Maximizing value offered to customers
• Minimizing complaints reported by customers

Hopefully from today, Maslow will mean more to us than just a theory! To conclude, I think  that knowingly or unknowingly, CRM roadmap has followed and still follows Maslow's need hierarchy. What do you think?


very great blog. i liked it

Thanks a lot, Laxmi!

Somewhere or the other, CRM unknowingly does follow Maslow's need hierarchy.

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