The adventure began in Bordeaux in 2011. Nicolas Hammer and Thibaut Carlier had just graduated, the former from a business school and the latter from an engineering school. Looking to create a forum in which consumers could express themselves and retailers respond, they searched for a base and the resources with which to develop their solution.
Originally from the North, Nicolas Hammer and Thibaut Carlier naturally considered setting up in Lille because of the presence of a large number of retailers as well as of PICOM (the retail industry cluster)
Welcomed to its Lille incubator at the EuraTechnologies park, they were assisted and supported by LMI Innovation and Oséo. Over a period of 6 months, the two young partners developed their customer relationship solution in the form of a smartphone application.
Launched in August 2012, the application called Critizr quickly won over consumers, who can use the application to directly post a message to a store’s team. Questions, suggestions, complaints are read and the bulk of stores publish their response in due course. This new customer relationship approach is currently making it possible to build loyalty amongst over 120,000 consumers.
So, does this compete with or complement traditional customer relationship centres? “Critzr isn’t meant to replace customer relationship post and telephone channels. Our electronic interface wins over more and more stores. 16,000 points of sale are now connected. They see our service as an opportunity to re-engage with customers, to thus have a fully transparent right of response. Our clients include Carrefour, So Good, Total. We’re targeting 500,000 sign-ups by June 2014”, explains Nicolas Hammer.
Completely free for consumers, Critizr is built around a set of paying services for stores. A website to complement the application was put online at end-September in order to reach out to new users.
The success of Critizr, which is growing its user base by 20% per month, enabled the founders and their 10 employees to raise €400,000 in May 2013.
They have been rewarded at the E-Commerce Awards 2013, coming top of the loyalty category.
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