The other day as I was typing away at my computer, my phone made a strange sound and I wondered, What is that? Then it dawned on me: Somebody just strummed me…
Have you ever been strummed? You’re probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about. I’m referring to a new Strum app that launched on the App Store last week, and I think it’s pretty darn cool. It’s a way for customers to speak directly with local businesses about the experiences they’re having at establishments – in real time. I know what you’re thinking… already exists. Urbanspoon, Yelp, TripAdvisor – they all allow us to post our opinions on various businesses. That was my first reaction as well. But no, Strum’s not like them at all.
Strum was designed with one thing in mind: customers communicating directly with business owners and being rewarded for it. The Strum app is all about the customer – it’s not about posting nasty reviews, not about getting a good deal, not about taking food shots. When a person “strums” a business, they have to be logged in, select where they are (the app is location based) and then they have the option to “strum” (meaning make a comment or favourite a place) either publicly or privately to the owner. This gives the owner the opportunity to take the customer service experience to another level by, 1) rewarding certain patrons that frequent a place several times a week; 2) resolve an issue that they may not want made public; and 3) have a tool that enables them to appreciate and recognize their regulars. I can understand this – I have been in the restaurant business for over 20 years and I can see the advantages of this type of app for both a restaurateur and a customer. This would make them feel special, appreciated and the owner could in turn reward the customer with a discount, or free dessert – or just a simple thank you.
To be honest, Strum combines a lot of apps that we already use. You have to follow and be followed like Twitter. You have to “check in” like Foursquare. You post pictures and comments like Facebook. But Strum’s aptitude does not stop here. There’s also the Strum Auction, which allows users to bid and win great prizes – this is where the app gets interactive and quite addictive. The more you strum, the more points you accumulate, in turn the more points you have to gamble with and the more bidding interaction you have with your followers. It almost turns into a game, which is where I think this app stands out.
So will this app do well? Who knows? There are so many that are released daily that I do feel it’s all about how it is marketed and how much users like it. Is it a great tool for a restaurant? I say yes, but only if the restaurant uses it. If a business owner doesn’t care about the customer’s experience, they won’t use it. If they care but don’t have time to respond, then they won’t use it. But, if a business owner cares and takes the time to use Strum, then this is a fantastic tool, assuming the app is able to build a strong user base.
The Strum app is available on the Apple App Store. Give it a go and let us know what you think!