Survey Says

Survey Says… Top 10 Tips for Customer Survey Design Do you know what is really important to your customers?  Surveys can be an important tool for gauging satisfaction with your brand, and for finding out what your customers truly value.  They can be used to test loyalty and evaluate existing benefits, and the results can be used to drive program changes. A study by SurveyMonkey offers some insights for creating surveys.  Here are the Top 10 Tips: 1. KISS – Keep It Short and Segmented Overall survey length remains important for keeping abandon rates low. Are you excited about answering… Read more »

Holiday Experiences

The Importance of Immersive Holiday Experiences With a successful harvest now behind us, it’s time to focus on our customers’ needs and wants for the holiday season.  While most retailers have been planning for months for this all-important period, it’s not too late for us to come up with the kinds of experiences we offer in our tasting rooms that will create and cement customer loyalty. In 2015, US retail sales saw a moderate growth of 3%, despite unforeseen weather events and a soft retail environment. But the biggest spike was during the holiday season, where sales grew by 9%. … Read more »

Outsourcing Telesales

Outsourcing Telesales How to Succeed in 5 WISE Steps Telesales is the fastest growing channel in winery consumer-direct-sales.  Whether you choose to do this in-house or outsource it, we encourage you to take advantage of this sales channel – but be smart about it. Staffing for it requires special skills and training.  As a result, many wineries have chosen to outsource this to a professional organization that deals specifically with winery telesales. If you outsource, here are five WISE points to remember to achieve the greatest success in this channel. 1. Start Off Right Your telesales partner needs just as… Read more »

Wine Club & Tasting Room Staff

3 Big Beefs, 3 Big Tenderizers If ever there were two teams who should be BFFs, it’s the Tasting Room and Wine Club staffs.  Yet, far more often than we would like, we hear about the difficulties they have in communicating and working together to achieve common goals.  These relationships seem to be Frenemies at best.  As we head into our high season, let’s see if we can come up with some solutions to the big issues we hear about time and time again, so that these teams can work in harmony.   Here are the Top 3 Beefs we… Read more »


Atmospherics One one-thousand, two one-thousand… it takes 7 to 10 seconds after walking through the door to positively impact a guest’s decision to buy. Everything they see, hear, touch, smell, and taste is a form of communication, creating tangible and intangible impressions of your brand. The cumulative effect of how their five senses are engaged say: “Here is what we have to offer. What do you think?” Over 40 years ago Philip Kotler, Professor of Marketing at Northwestern University Graduate School of Management, coined the term “Atmospherics.” In tasting rooms, where the complexities of mapping a guest’s journey through their… Read more »

Saying “No”

Saying ‘No’ with Grace According to a recent study of guests at 5-Star Resorts in Europe, the three most significant, positive employee behaviors that impact the guest experience are: Being polite and cheerful Making the customer feel special by anticipating needs and providing relevant surprise and delight, which is tapping into their unidentified desires Being knowledgeable enough to answer questions confidently The two most significant negative behaviors are: Being sulky or moody Giving negative answers to requests The good news for us is that delivering on the positive behaviors, while avoiding the negative behaviors, costs us exactly $0.  So let’s… Read more »

Good Enough Never Is

Good Enough Never Is Debbi Fields of Mrs. Fields Cookies has this motto: Good Enough Never Is.  From this philosophy, she built a cookie business empire.  Making people feel special and cared for, giving customers her very best, was a key ingredient in her recipe for success. In our world, great winery guest experiences are a well-orchestrated dance between performing the acts of service, and creating the feelings of hospitality.  Customers want magic in the tasting room: the magic of wine, winemaking, the beauty of the wine country, the beauty of the tasting room, the joy of people coming together. … Read more »

Seed Planting

Seed Planting Now that the weather is getting warmer in most of the country, it’s time to plant seeds in our gardens that will grow food and flowers in the months ahead.  This annual ritual of spring renewal is a happy time for gardeners. For those of us who manage Tasting Rooms, it’s time to look forward to the coming busy season when many guests will visit.  Just like the gardeners among us, we need to plant the seeds with our customers and staff that will bear fruit in the coming months.  To reap the benefits of a bountiful harvest… Read more »


Teamwork Turns out, there is an “I” in Team after all… In our WISE Academy Tasting Room Professional class, one of the exercises we do is to have attendees list all the roles they play in their tasting room jobs besides server/host.  The ones we hear most frequently are educator, storyteller, and concierge, followed by bouncer, therapist, babysitter, and dishwasher.  What we usually DON’T hear is team member.  This is a critical role that we play every day and yet we don’t give it much thought.  It’s what we each bring to the job – the “I” we bring to… Read more »

Qualified Traffic

Driving “Qualified” Traffic When we think about increasing our tasting room sales, we often think about increasing the number of individuals coming through our winery doors. But does more traffic equal more sales? Surprisingly, more traffic can actually decrease sales – if we are not properly staffed and / or if they not the right kind of visitors. So how do we actually ensure qualified visitor traffic? Visitor qualification is actually a process.  It means earmarking those visitors with a propensity to buy, buy again, and become loyal ambassadors for the winery. It also earmarks visitors who will likely be… Read more »