It’s easy to get so focused on your business that you become company-centric rather than customer-centric. There are many types of businesses that start off that way (medical businesses – doctors’ offices and hospitals, airlines and cable television providers come to mind). However it happens quite a bit in the beverage industry too, especially in wineries.
It’s not so much that winery procedures go out of their way to penalize customers or are punitive to them; with wineries it’s more that they tend to be product-centric rather than customer-centric. That is, we talk about the products and learn nothing about our visitors or customers. There is a lot of talk about customer relationship management, but in the tasting rooms, with retailers and restaurants, and at events the winery people many times do the most talking, and it’s all about the product rather than getting to know the needs, wants, desires and behavior of the customers.
Customer Relationship Management has evolved over the years from the thought that CRM is software that tracks customers to a philosophical approach to how you relate to your visitors and customers through your tasting room, website, emails, social media, advertising, events, etc.
Customer Relationship Management should be a strategy that is followed company-wide to increase profitability and reduce costs by solidifying customer loyalty.
As you have a few months before the busiest part of the season, it’s a great time to start switching from a product-centric to a customer-centric model at your winery. Create a balance between finding out what your customers want from you and how your products fit into their lives to presenting your products to them.
Create a new baseline for customer service at your business that includes asking at least three questions of each set of visitors that come into the business (you can bring that down to one question during events or on very busy weekends – as long as the only question is not “So, where are you from?”).
Changing to a customer-centric model will have its challenges. Change never comes easily, but it is well worth the effort.
A tip of the glass from me to you!