What is the customer experience and why does it matter so much? We often find ourselves reflecting on why wineries don’t focus more on the customer experience at their wineries. Of course, we all think that our product is the product otherwise why would we even be doing what we are doing. We believe that our software is the best out there and no doubt you believe that your Chardonnay is second to none.
However, when it comes down to it, the customers are what make a business successful. You could produce the best Chardonnay in the Hunter but no one is going to care if it’s next to impossible to try the wine or purchase it or the cellar door experience is sub-par.
Here’s our take on why the customer experience is so important. As well as some tips on how to foster lifelong relationships with loyal customers therefore increasing your direct-to-consumer sales.
In today’s world, word of mouth recommendations is key to growing a business. From their best friend to their favourite wine influencer, the right person giving your business a positive review at the right time can result in new customers. The flip side of this is of course that a bad experience can result in a bad review and less potential customers. If the wrong review gets put out by a person with a massive audience, the results can be detrimental, to say the least.
Punters planning a trip to a wine region research wineries online before they go. That means looking at Trip Advisor, Google Business reviews, Facebook reviews and wherever else. If you see a complaint of a time where you or your cellar door staff messed up, own up.
Address complaints about the customer experience head-on. People will respect you for it. Never delete genuine bad reviews - no matter how annoying it can be - instead engage with them. If they are lying are inflating an issue, lay that out but don’t be overly defensive. Stay cool and calm and people who read the review will more likely be on your side. There are two types of people that leave a complaint on an online review platform:
This one might seem a bit too obvious but although your winery’s business is making wine, it’s also about selling it. And you sell it by talking to people and getting to know the people who come to your cellar door. They will no doubt share their experience with their friends when they leave.
“When my mates ask me which wineries they should visit in a region my mind instantly goes not to the wineries with the best wines, but to the ones where I had the best experience,” says our WithWine Brand Manager, Orlaith Costello.
“I’ve visited wineries big and small and the ones where I had a bit of banter with the cellar door staff are the ones that stand out in a positive light and that I recommend.
“The ones where I visited and was ignored or barely had any interactions with the staff are the ones that I advise not to visit.”
The wrong review at the wrong time could result in the right customer, not visiting your cellar door.
You should treat every customer who walks into your cellar door and the most influential wine person out there. For all you know they could be planning a wedding and are searching for the person wine to serve on the day. They could be related to James Halliday or be an actual Master of Wine with a platform that people listen to. Or they could be social media influencer with over 10K followers that could stream a bad experience from your bathroom in under a minute.
The most obvious benefit of chatting to your customer is finding out what they like and tailoring the experience to them.
“I went to a winery outside Orange and the first thing I was asked after being settled was what kinds of wines I like. There was the standard tasting but the cellar door staff switched out a white wine for a Merlot I was more likely to enjoy. I went on to purchase that Merlot because 1. It was great and 2. I felt a genuine connection to the wine and the cellar door,” shares Orlaith.
And if she had been sent an email a few months later after the wine was long gone with an offer on that particular Merlot, would she be more inclined to purchase it?
This is a clear benefit of capturing customers’ likes and dislikes in the cellar door and taking note of it. When the customer purchases the wine, you can make a note in our system that they liked a particular wine, have a dog, love having their sparkling wine with chips whatever and tailor email campaigns to customers which similar interests. Customers are more likely to engage with an email from a winery they had a fantastic experience with than one where they were ignored.
Running a cellar door is tough work and we know it gets busy. But making time to provide a great customer experience will be worth it in the long run.
Want to discover how to use data to sell better to your customers? Call us for a demo today.