It became a familiar place to me. Thursday nights. I would often turn on the TV set grinning, anticipating the funny quip that Norm Peterson threw out as he was greeted at Cheers! Here’s how a typical banter would unfold:
Sam: How’ya doin’ Norm? Whaddaya know?
Norm: Not enough!“
Coach: What’ll it be Norm?
Norm: Fame, Fortune, Fast Women?
Coach: How’bout a beer?
Norm: Even Better!“
This became a second home–a place to stop by everyday to catch up with the same crowd. Frasier and Norm always had their favourite places at the bar; Sam and Coach knew instinctively what their regulars preferred to drink. The customer stories were their stories. Cheers became a place of comfort. I don’t think anybody every really talked about the food… because that’s not why people stopped by. If anything, it was familiar…. it was comfortable.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about United Bakers of Toronto, praising the 101-year-old restaurant’s ability to be true to its customers and take care of them, always exceeding their expectations and going out of their way to satisfying the customer and making them feel at ease.
When becoming big becomes unwieldy
When national brands swallowed up the Mom & Pop stores and redirected customers to the new way of shopping, service was less personal but it was compensated through increased selection and abundant inventory. However, over time where abundance made it more difficult for customers to choose or find products, service has become paramount.
So… the reason for the headline… Normapp is an amazing technology I was introduced to earlier this year. Kerry Morrison, Founder, has a firm belief that the differentiator in today’s connected world is the ability for a Company to take care of and nurture the customers they have. I asked Kerry about his view on the importance of Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) today and using social intelligence to enable this next phase:
I think CRM is of paramount importance in today’s marketing and business world. While traditional broad marketing with billboards, print ads, television commercials and the like aren’t going anywhere soon, no one can argue that these formats are of the past and the future, more effective way of managing, selling and interacting with customers begins by knowing more about them. With the rise of social platforms we have this unbelievable opportunity to hear exactly what consumers want, what they need and the key becomes managing that deluge of personal information and making it accessible and actionable.
The rise of the social customer has also given rise to communities, friends, and recommendation sites having profound influence in their purchase decision. Companies have gotten too big to think about the individual customer. To quote, a friend, Stewart Hayes,
Companies have ignored the statistically insignificant.
These days, that same customer has the ability to bring down Goliath. I always come back to United Breaks Guitars incident. The truth is that we’ve now come full circle and these days in order to get a customer and keep them you have to go beyond just meeting their expectations.
Where Norm eliminates the guesswork
Social data has provided companies abundant information about their customers, “outside the traditional transactional information” to deeply networked communities, enhanced profile, behavioural and propensities. My colleague, Susan Carr kindly forwarded me this article, “The Reason So Many Brands Fail On Social Media Is That They Don’t Actually Talk To Their Customers”
The study reveals that:
- The wealth of data on customer desires being generated by this strategy is helping organizations work more effectively, and achieve better results.
- Social customer management doubles the percentage of sales leads that result in actual sales, relative to traditional CRM approaches.
How Norm enables this
Kerry notes that in early conception, the technology was a method that aggregated all of the publicly available personal data that existed across a wide variety of social platforms and presented this information back to the business in real time. The goal: Improve Customer Experience.
Today, Norm is being adapted as a social analytics, profiling and planning tool, which culls together insights that have far reaching implications on a business’ operations, products and customer management systems. Morrison adds…
When you add in our ability to track more and more location data through both in-store devices ( wifi and iBeacons ) and mobile handsets, we’re seeing a level of consumer detail unimaginable just a few years ago.
Where Norm was born
Kerry speaks of the impetus that drove the Norm concept:
Norm was born from a very rudimentary experiment that Kerry conducted at a restaurant in Vancouver using real-time Twitter monitoring to monitor customer feedback and improve customer service :
A customer tweeted that the steak she received was cold. The staff noticed the tweet and immediately rectified the situation, acknowledging the complaint, happily replacing the meal with a warmer one and giving the customer complimentary wine in the process. Needless to say, the customer, quite embarrassed at the time, was pleasantly surprised and could not stop talking about that restaurant in the coming days.
What we found though was that in building a system that watched over and collected data from a number of the major social platforms, we were in fact creating these very detailed customer profiles on individuals. We saw where they went, with whom they interacted, how they spoke. From there it was very easy to envision numerous use cases in providing that learning back to enterprise customers.
Scaling Social Relationships: The Holy Grail
If we’re reverting to small town rules again, then technology has to provide the ability to bring those perceived “statistically insignificant” to the forefront. Many companies are beginning to recognize this.
Denise Lee Yohn wrote this article in the Harvard Business Review: Megastores Want to Be Mom and Pop Shops…sort of . In it she writes,
Chains have grown and thrived because consumers have valued their promise of reliability and familiarity….But independent stores enjoy some important advantages. Now that a baseline of quality at most establishments has been set, value is derived less from consistency and dependability and more from other factors like convenience and local appeal.
The infiltration of technology into every part of our lives has made many people seek out personal, low-tech/high-touch experiences and relationships with the companies they patronize. At the same time, connective consumer technologies, sophisticated customer profiling, and targeted predictive modeling have made it easier and less expensive for companies to advertise and connect with customers locally. Independent stores have capitalized on all of these changes.
For Kerry and his team at Norm, reception to this concept of hyperlocalization is enormous.
We’re still in the early years of social, mobile and location data becoming so intertwined and every single company we’ve met with is struggling to make sense of the volume of feedback / interactions / issues being raised in this space. Businesses are recognizing the opportunity in having this direct line to consumers, but they’re not sure how best to structure their messaging, how to monitor and measure the response or how to monetize these connections.
Perhaps we will not replicate the environment like Cheers but we have the ability to come awfully close! Corporations are starting to recognize that paying attention to customer comments, interests and preferences–once deemed “irrelevant” by brands– becomes the competitive differentiator that yields more sustained customer relationships, and creates a much stronger company in the process.