Q&A: Nicolas Hammer, Co-founder and CEO, Critizr
Nicolas had the idea for Critizr (along with CTO and co-founder Thibault Carlier) as a student at Kedge Business School in Bordeaux and later at the University of Stanford in the US.
Can you tell us a bit about your background? Contd…
We were interested in how technology was helping retailers respond to disruption and digital transformation in the sector. It seemed obvious that customer obsession had to drive this process, but we realised that most retail tech solutions completely overlooked the most important aspect of a great retail experience: local relationships between staff and customers. That was our lightbulb moment. Critizr was created in 2012 to enable companies to nurture these local business relationships and reap the benefits of doing so. This is the central idea that still guides our company today.
What does your company do? / What is your USP?
Critizr is Europe’s leading Customer Engagement Platform to drive Customer-Obsession. Successful retail is all about people, understanding what customers want from your brand and making sure your staff make it happen. We’ve created a solution that brings the people at the frontline of business closer to the people they are serving. This is our USP, and every day Critizr is used by thousands of retail professionals in over 80 of Europe’s biggest businesses to drive a culture of customer obsession – whether they’re in retail, banking, travel, entertainment or hospitality.
What’s special about the platform and your approach?
When we show businesses how and why Critizr is different to other retail tech solutions, they can see its potential straight away. Customer feedback is now a commodity, and business leaders are struggling with how to extract any value from it and stop it sitting in silos at head office. We have solved that problem. Rather than just collecting more and more feedback, our platform converts it into local conversations and action. Staff can understand in real-time what their own customers think and need, they can chat to them, champion their needs and create strong, lasting relationships for their brand. This unleashes a dynamic new CX force across the whole business network. We’ve also made life easy for businesses when it comes to bringing staff on board. Local teams can integrate Critizr quickly and easily into their working day and I’m always proud to hear that Critizr is a well-used and liked ‘daily habit’ for branch managers. In a 2020 survey of over 2000 store managers, over three quarters confirmed that they use Critizr every day to improve customer service.
What advantage does it add?
Retailers are facing huge challenges at the moment and Critizr’s technology delivers measurable results to help them meet their goals – whether that’s business transformation, improved customer loyalty or local engagement. When every member of staff in a business becomes customer-obsessed and has the tools to improve their store’s customer experience and performance on a daily basis, there are huge positive gains to be made for the whole business. Our technology also delivers a valuable advantage for senior teams who want data and powerful insights to understand their company-wide CX performance and identify trends for long range planning.
What does a product/service implementation actually look like and how do you measure success?
The platform is easy to use, quick to deploy and scaleable. In fact, at Carrefour France we’ve rolled Critizr out across over 1,260 stores and trained 6,000 front-line staff. Once deployed, you can see value from the very next day as managers are alerted to new customer feedback, ratings and enquiries for their store in real-time. They can quickly respond and start a conversation to understand the issue or compliment, before taking rapid steps on customers’ behalf, to find answers, fix problems or make store-wide improvements.
For us, a huge part of our success is the high adoption rate amongst front-line staff, with most logging into the platform daily. This really enables a cultural transformation from the bottom up, ensuring the entire organisation is customer-obsessed.
How are retailers using your systems to gain competitive advantage and what does best practice look like? Can you share a case study with us?
A good example is our customer, the French auto glass specialists France Pare-Brise. With 340 outlets around the country, they compete and thrive on consumer trust. Protecting and improving their NPS and customer satisfaction scores is critical, as well as boosting employee engagement. Since adopting the Critizr platform over two years ago, outlets now have autonomy over how they manage customer feedback, and their customer satisfaction scores are up to 4.7 and higher, with both NPS and employee satisfaction scores showing improvement.
Are there other companies you partner with?
Critizr integrates with a wide range of channels across e-commerce, social media, SMS and email. Most recently we announced that we now support Google’s Business Messages in Europe, which is a significant development in terms of the way businesses talk to their customers.
What challenges and opportunities do you see in UK retail for 2021 / What challenges are retailers facing in 2020?
Covid has been the biggest shock to retail in living memory and the retail sector is showing impressive levels of resilience and agility as it fights to recover. People and customer obsession must be at the heart of this recovery, with a focus on creating a seamless, brilliant experience across the full customer journey. This can be really challenging without the right technology in the hands of the right people.
How will you address these challenges and turn them into successes?
During the pandemic, our focus has been on supporting our existing customers as a trusted partner. I think Covid has made the demand for a high-quality customer experience and the human, emotional connections at the heart of retail even greater. So we’re working hard to showcase the power of Critizr’s platform in helping retailers deliver this.
What is on the horizon for you as a company?
We’ll continue our expansion across Europe, developing our three offices and investing in our team of highly talented CX obsessives. We’re also currently hiring for a range of roles which will take the Critizr team over the 100 mark which is very exciting.
To find out how Critizr can help your retail operation, click here.
Email this article to a friend
You need to be logged in to use this feature.
Please log in here