Who hasn’t heard of the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have others do unto you? Most companies try to provide good customer service by encouraging their employees to model the Golden Rule – to treat others as you would like to be treated. But in a luxury industry like wine, we’ve got to go beyond that and look to high-end retailers and service providers like Nordstrom’s, Tiffany’s, Ritz-Carlton, etc. for examples of truly phenomenal service.
Successful wineries have learned that it isn’t enough to just be polite or helpful. With so many wineries for customers to choose from, how will your brand stand out in a market that offers a plethora of seemingly similar choices? The key is sell the experience, not just the wine, and make the service exceptional, the interaction unique, and the experience memorable!
For an extraordinary customer experience, go further than the Golden Rule to the Platinum Rule – treat customers as they want to be treated. How do you know how a specific customer wants to be treated? We have to find out because each customer is not the same. One size does not fit all.
Find out how they want to be treated and do it. It’s about their wants and needs, so find out what they are. It’s as easy as 1, 2 3!
- Be observant. Ask open-ended questions to engage customers in order to determine their needs and wants. If you don’t ask them questions, how can you know what their interests are?
- Listen. Pay attention to their responses, both verbal and non-verbal, and be sure to create dialogue around their answers. Build the discussion around their interests but try to relate it back to your brand, wines, or products. A discussion about a favorite sports team may be interesting, but it probably won’t lend itself to creating a memorable experience with your brand.
- Respond appropriately. When you ask questions, listen to the replies and build a relationship with the person in front of you. This rapport building creates a feeling of trust, and trust leads to sales.
Building that connection and tailoring the discussion to their needs, creates a unique experience and makes it memorable. For example, if you’ve found out that your customer is a red-only wine drinker, then offering them the sale on the Chardonnay isn’t the best way to cater to their needs. Find something enticing to them based on what you’ve learned by having a dialog with them.
By doing this well, you not only can exceed their expectations, but also successfully make an easier, more natural sale. You’ve already sold the experience, now they are ready to take it home with them to enjoy again later.
One size does not fit all. Get to know your customers individually and deliver a platinum experience they deserve. Why not try the Platinum Rule on for size?