• The $5 CRM Solution
Jim Copacino

Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer

Customer Relations Management is a multi-billion dollar business, attracting the best and brightest minds in consulting, marketing and analytics. Fortune 500 companies invest small fortunes in highly sophisticated CRM systems designed to engage and retain customers in pursuit of their highly coveted “lifetime value.”

Recently I came across one of the smartest, most effective CRM systems I’ve ever encountered. And it only cost about five bucks.

Chef Thierry

Chef Thierry


Loulay is a stylish new restaurant in downtown Seattle—the latest eatery from the creative and irrepressible “Chef In The Hat,” Thierry Rautereau. Named for the French town where Thierry was born, Loulay is nicely appointed with excellent food, wine and service.

My friend and I enjoyed a pleasant lunch there. Then came the CRM solution that, to the two marketers at the table, was as creative and satisfying as the meal we had just enjoyed.

The waiter brought the bill in an elegant, black moleskin notebook. He asked that we take a moment to write our opinion of the restaurant—and any suggestions we might have for improvement. Voila! CRM as you’ve never seen it before.

It was engaging: The bill served as a bookmark separating previous comments from ours; it was interesting to read what the waiter’s recent customers had written over the last few weeks.

It was was sincere: Not a hollow, “How was everything?” but a request for a genuine and thoughtful response.

It was flattering: Here was one of America’s top restaurateurs asking me to be a restaurant critic.


Moleskin Notebook

Figure 1: Moleskin Notebook

I looked up the cost of these little moleskin books. Yep, about $5 if you order in quantity. Yet it accomplishes much of what a sophisticated, expensive CRM solution would do—with the added bonus of being surprising, personal and memorable. This customer feedback wasn’t from some faceless, impersonal “cohort.” It was a face-to-face encounter with living, breathing customers—at the most critical moment in the customer experience.

Hats off to the Chef In the Hat.