by W H Inmon, Forest Rim Technology

Once upon a time there was a nice little respectable Midwestern restaurant chain that decided that it liked making money and expanding the number of people that it served.

Its Wall Street friends liked spicy Buffalo chicken wings at the little Midwestern restaurant chain but were cautious of investing money in the nice little Midwestern restaurant chain. Then one day the nice little respectable Midwestern restaurant chain had a bright idea to sell more Buffalo chicken wings.

“Let’s listen to what our customers are saying about our Buffalo chicken wings. Let’s even listen to what they are saying about our teriyaki hamburgers. In fact, lets listen to what they are saying about our new super duper one size fits all beverage dispensers. Let’s use the Internet to allow our customers to tell us what they think of our food and our restaurants. What an idea!!”

This was a really good idea because the Internet was easy to use and the Internet was everywhere. Lots of customers had access to the Internet and liked to send messages all over the Internet. In fact it was such a good idea that the little Midwestern restaurant chain became overwhelmed by the number of comments that came in over the Internet from their customers. About the Buffalo chicken wings. About spicy teriyaki hamburgers, about the friendliness of the waiters, about the parking lot, about the view from the restaurants, and about a lot of other things as well.

Soon there were so many comments all written in text coming in over the Internet to the little respectable Midwest restaurant chain that no one vice president (or even anyone else) had enough time to sit down and read and assimilate all that customers were saying. It was just too big of a job.

And the things the customers were talking about were really interesting to the management of the nice little Midwest restaurant chain. Customers made comments about a lot more than Buffalo chicken wings and spicy teriyaki hamburgers. Customers loved to talk about all sorts of things in their email –

  • The menu and food. Some customers thought the food was too hot. Others thought it was too salty. Others thought that portion size was not generous enough.
  • Some cashiers were having a bad day and were snippy. Some waiters needed to mind their manners and be more polite. Some restaurant managers had a case of heartburn. Some orders got lost.
  • Some customers noted that the same food item could be bought elsewhere at a lower price
  • Some promotions done by the nice little Midwestern restaurant chain were really effective. But other promotions were not even noticeable.
  • Sometimes the lights were so low you couldn’t read the menu. Sometimes there was dirt on the floor. Sometimes there was a noisy party at the restaurant.

In short there was a lot of really valuable information that was being voiced by the customer to the nice little Midwestern restaurant chain that could have been used to bring customers back for repeat business. While some people talked about Buffalo chicken wings, there was a lot more than was on their mind, even after spicy teriyaki hamburgers were taken into consideration. But reading and assimilating all that textual information that came in over the Internet was a real struggle for the little Midwestern restaurant chain. There were too many comments and not enough time.

So the nice little respectable Midwestern restaurant chain decided to do something about all the information coming in over the Internet. The nice little Midwestern restaurant chain brought in Forest Rim to read, assimilate and analyze their customers comments coming in over the Internet. The nice little respectable Midwestern restaurant chain didn’t even have to bother their IT staff. Their IT staff was so busy with other projects that it was really nice the management just worked directly with Forest Rim and didn’t have to bother their own very busy IT managers and technicians.  And since Forest Rim could read text automatically, it didn’t matter how many comments there were. Forest Rim could read and assimilate them all.

Soon Forest Rim gave management readable, actionable visualizations that told management what customers were saying. Soon management was looking at visual depictions of what their customers liked and didn’t like. It was easy for management to make decisions once they knew what was on their customers mind by looking at the visual graphics supplied by Forest Rim. Management knew –

  • What adjustments to the menu were in order (including chicken wings and a LOT of other menu items as well)
  • What promotions were most effective (about spicy teriyaki and everything else)
  • Whether pricing was being done properly
  • Whether service was being delivered cheerfully and professionally.
  • Whether ambiance was being optimized

One really nice thing the nice little Midwestern restaurant chain could do was to look and see which stores were getting the most comments. This really helped to make certain stores a more enjoyable experience.

Like an ever vigilant, ever helpful Superhero to the rescue, Forest Rim allowed management to look at ALL the comments coming in over the Internet. And Forest Rim presented the information to management in a visual format so that management at a glance knew what to do to improve the total experience customers were having

And in short order there were more customers that were spending more money at the nice little respectable Midwest restaurant chain.

Soon the nice little Midwestern restaurant chain turned into a really nice large and highly profitable multi national restaurant chain. And their Wall Street investors were so happy that they began serving the Buffalo chicken wings at noon time and they even served spicy teriyaki at their New Year’s party. And this made everyone happy.

________________________________________________________________________

Forest Rim Technology was formed by Bill Inmon in order to provide technology to bridge the gap between structured and unstructured data. Forest Rim Technology is located in Castle Rock, Colorado.