How California Tortilla Exemplifies Customer Centricity

In last week’s Focus Roundtable on The Promise of Social CRM, Dr. Natalie and I talked about how Social CRM is emulating the human approach. Kelly asked the question “What is the antithesis of a human approach? Example?”

In answer to Kelly’s question, I said look at most companies call centers. Putting the snark aside, though, there are companies that are getting Social CRM and doing it right.

California Tortilla is one company and I'm going to tell you why.

California Tortilla is a good but modest-priced restaurant chain stationed above a fast-food joint but below, say, a Chili's.


Connecting and Engaging

A friend of mine and I decided to hold a tweet up at local California Tortilla about 2 years ago. For about 2 weeks before, we tweeted out an invitation to all comers and mentioned the restaurant as the meeting site. The restaurant was a great choice because it’s open so it was perfect for a group to mingle. Additionally, since everyone places their own order, we didn’t have to deal with splitting bills.

On the day of the event, California Tortilla tweeted us best wishes on the event (and probably did so from a corporate account). They knew about our event because they were monitoring Twitter streams. As a lark, I asked them if they wanted to give us a special promo – and they offered us one on the fly.

Our attendees were told to tell "Joe at the counter we were with the tweet up and we'd each get free nachos."

I was skeptical. For this to work, corporate had to call the local restaurant and "Joe" had to follow through. Riiiight.


Follow through

But here's the thing. Corporate did and Joe did -- and we all got free nachos.

Two years later, I'm still talking about what a great restaurant California Tortilla is. It's not because the restaurant gave me something for free. After all, the nachos only cost a couple of bucks so I could easily have purchased them myself. It's because California Tortilla welcomed our event and made me (and other attendees) feel valued.

And that’s how customer centricity is done.


Customer centricity captures loyalty

Companies need to pay attention to this kind of stuff because, in a social media world, failure to do so will be costly. Conversely, get it right, like California Tortilla did, and you capture customer loyalty that has customers singing your praises years later. Even if you only did a little thing.


Continuing the discussion

Dr. Natalie and I, joined with Emily Yellin, are going to talk about Customer Centricity in a Social CRM World at this week’s Focus roundtable in the our continuing Simplifying Social Business series.

Emily will be a wonderful addition this week. She wrote Your Call Is (Not That) Important To Us  where she explored the inner-workings the multi-billion-dollar customer service industry. I think you can guess from her book title what she found.

It’s going to be good – so join us!