Is Data Collection a Priority?

After meeting someone for the first time and enjoying the experience, it’s natural to ask for contact information so that we can keep in touch and hopefully see them again. This is true in our personal lives, so why not in the tasting room?

When guests come to our winery, our intention is to make sure they have a good experience, learn about our brand and our wines, and make a purchase. If we’ve done our job right, they’ve had a great time and want to become a customer, so why wouldn’t we invite them to? From our market research, only 1 in 4 guests are asked by tasting room staff for any contact information. Why is it so hard for us to collect contact data from our guests…especially since so many actually would love to stay in touch?

Based on our experience, wineries either have not made contact data collection a priority and thus collect data from less than 5% of guests, or they have effectively made it a priority and collect more than 60%. It’s pretty binary – it either is working or it’s not.

When It Doesn’t Work: When wineries are not successful at collecting contact data, it is usually one of two reasons:

  1. Understanding. The team doesn’t realize how important collecting information on customers is for the entire direct marketing program. Who goes out on a first date, has a great time, and doesn’t make sure they have contact information to go on another date? Keeping this analogy going, of-course there’s another name for someone who goes out on a lot of one-time dates with no follow-up . . . But you can’t have a second date if you don’t know how to get in touch with the person. Getting the team to understand the big picture – why data collection is such a priority – is the first step in getting acceptance and buy in.
  2. Culture. How often are we asked in our day-to-day lives for our own contact information? We may get irritated if the grocery store and pharmacy asks again and again. But this isn’t that. When someone seeks you out, visits your winery and has a good time, we need to assume they’ll want to stay in touch. They’ll want to know what’s happening at the winery. They’ll want to give their email to us…but we need to ask for it. Our research shows that the reason we are uncomfortable is we remember being irritated at undesired requests so we assume they won’t want to be contacted.  But this is not that.  There needs to be a cultural shift as a team so that we leave our own baggage outside the workplace and embrace that it’s just good manners to invite guests to stay in touch after they’ve had a fabulous guest experience.

When It Works:

  1. Multiple Ways to Collect. Having only one way to collect data sets up a singular way to fail. Instead you should have multiple ways to collect contact data. Create a contest with Tasting Room staff on different ways – fish bowl, ‘guess the corks,’ part of the check-out process, etc. – to get buy-in and creative solutions that work best for your property. Give prizes to the best ideas from your team. Today’s contests are tomorrow’s sales goals.
  2. Plant the Seed. A great way to have staff collect contact data is have them “plant the seed” on the benefits of joining the mailing list.  Use features and benefits selling just like they would with the wine club by sharing the benefits of it (such as notification on events, recipes, new releases, etc.). Letting the guests know what’s in it for them, gives guests a reason to happily provide their contact information.
  3. Appointment Card. We’ve seen wineries that are successful in getting over 90% data capture who make it a part of the ‘housekeeping.’ One way is to have every guest fill out an ‘appointment card.’ Give each person a blank contact card at every setting and ask them to fill it out – whether prior to pouring the wine or at the checkout. If it’s part of the housekeeping, it’s part of the routine for the staff and guests will follow their lead.
  4. Incentive Compensation Program. If staff is truly making an effort to offer all the options to guests (in a brand-appropriate way), then why not build in incentive compensation to the budget? Measure and reward those who are meeting company goals not only with wine club but also wine sales and data collection incentive. It doesn’t have to be monetary, but people will respect what you inspect. And, people really just want to do a good job – so show them how well they’re doing with a leader board and post the results.

Is data collection a priority for your team? If not, what’s holding them back?