Sonoma Partners brews up a Windows 8 mobile app for New Belgium’s field staff.

Ensuring the perfect pint

A peek into the life of a New Belgium Beer Ranger

What is a Beer Ranger?

A rugged man or woman clad all in tan, with a wide-brim hat and a red kerchief, patrolling the local watering holes for the perfect pint?

Not exactly. The uniform may vary, but the goal of a Beer Ranger is to be an ambassador of good beer, good cheer, and champion quality assurance in the marketplace. Grab a seat at the bar next to Ranger Austin Whitaker, and you’ll find his enthusiasm for New Belgium beers is second to none. His face lights up as he walks the locals through tastings of the newest varieties, identifying the subtle complexities of each flavor.

His office? A mobile work space. His terrain? Bars and retailers. Often, he faces less-than-ideal environments, working in back rooms, basements, and beer coolers to ensure temperatures are perfect for optimum freshness. But Austin’s craft requires doing whatever it takes to sell more beer.

These men and women are so much more than sales associates. They are Rangers, protecting the values of New Belgium beers.

Hopping onto a new system.

Back in the day, Beer Rangers took notes on whatever they could get their hands on: paper, notebooks, even cocktail napkins. It wasn’t exactly a modern system of customer relationship management (CRM). That’s why in 2012, New Belgium debuted a new, digital way to keep things organized.

It was a great start, but Rangers still faced difficulties entering data in their mobile devices. The time it took to input data was simply too long. In response, New Belgium called up Sonoma Partners to brew up a new touch-based app: Rangerland. Running on the Windows 8 system, the app can access New Belgium’s CRM account information with a touch interface that’s easy for nomadic Beer Rangers to use.

When it burst onto the scene in August 2013, the app had immediate impact, changing the way Beer Rangers worked with customers. With just a tap of the finger, they could take care of appointments, notes, surveys, and sales histories.

The app works offline too because “there’s often no mobile signal, let alone Wi-Fi, in a beer cooler.”

- Jessica Schlieger, CRM Administrator and Ranger Relationship Counselor, New Belgium

Sonoma Partner’s app delivers big data to pint-sized devices

Delicious results.

Data entry time is down and sales are up since New Belgium implemented Rangerland.

Has Rangerland brewed stronger customer relationships? You bet it has, says Jess Askey, IT Business Analyst for New Belgium: “One restaurant wasn’t selling much New Belgium and was about to cut its order when the Ranger used Rangerland to pull up sales data from other restaurants in the chain and show him how well they were doing with our beer. The restaurant kept its order volume the same and asked for selling tips.

"Customers have also appreciated that a brewery our size has access to this kind of data. It lets Beer Rangers have authentic conversations in the field.” – Travis Morrison, IT Director, New Belgium

To keep Rangers up to date with the latest versions of the app, New Belgium sends updates automatically using Microsoft System Center 2012. This way, every Beer Ranger has the same tools in his pocket.

Bottoms up for top customer service.

Like an ice-cold beer, fresh off the line, the Rangerland app is a prime example of a constant drive for improvement. Now Beer Rangers like Austin can really focus on protecting their product’s quality, partaking in great relationships with clients and pouring more beers.

A Beer Ranger’s job may not always be glamorous, but to the company and customers they serve, they are invaluable. The craft is so respected New Belgium even named a beer after them: the Ranger IPA.

Partner Spotlight

Sonoma Partners

Chicago-based Sonoma Partners provides technology and business process consulting to enterprise and mid-sized firms.

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It’s all about giving customers the most amazing experience and sharing the fun at New Belgium Brewing. Learn how New Belgium uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM to make it happen.

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