One of the most important ways a business can stand out these days is to provide the best possible customer experience. In fact, a recent study found that by 2020, customer experience will overtake both price and product as the key brand differentiator.
For wineries, this is great news. It’s virtually impossible to compete on price and consumers don’t always have the best understanding of what makes one wine different from another. What they do understand is the experience they have with you, whether it be in person or online.
So, how do you think you’re doing with your customers? Do you think you’re going above and beyond every day with every interaction you have with them? Of course not – it’s hard to do that and it’s even harder when you don’t have data to help you understand what’s really important.
Just like customer experience, data is becoming a key factor in how a business can stand out. Organisations that use data are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 6 times more likely to retain customers and 19 times more likely to be profitable
Want to find how data can help your winery? Here are our top 8 ways to improve your customer experience now.1. Don’t just trust your gut
For many business owners, it is easy to assume that you know what your customers want and that you are meeting their expectations. This can be from your cellar door atmosphere to the wine you’re making and even who these customers are. The problem is, do you know your gut is correct? And if it’s not, are you really providing the experience your customers want?
This is something you can easily act on right now. Go and look at the insights offered on your social media pages. Is the average age and gender of your followers what you were expecting? Does this match up with who visited your cellar door this week? Our guess is that for many wineries, your gut instinct might be a little off.
Data is tangible and it allows you to understand exactly what it is going on. Most businesses have a number of different types of customers and simple things like knowing the difference between what customers shop online compared to who visits your cellar door can offer you opportunities to create the experience that these specific customers wants. And giving your customers what they want? That's a good experience.
2. Find out what your customers want and give them more
Once you’ve identified your customers, you can go deeper. Different customer types are likely to have different preferences and you can use trends in your data to see which group customers are likely to fall into.
For example, say that you find out a large portion of couples who purchase only one or two bottles of wine at the cellar door frequently visit your website in the weeks after to order more? What can you do to make it easier for the next couple who walks through the door to also purchase again? Perhaps you could send an email, thanking them for visiting you and reminding them of your website address and that shipping is free for all purchases. Or say that you realise many groups who choose to eat with you are ordering dishes to share? Does your menu allow for this? Could you work to create more items that are easily shareable?
Both of these are examples of understanding your customer and creating procedures in your business that support what they want. By doing so, you’re easily able to adapt and provide the best experience to anyone who interacts with you, no matter who they are.
3. Make it personal
While data can help you understand what type of customer every person is, it can also help you identify individuals more effectively and if there is one piece of advice we’d offer to anyone it's this - get and use a CRM.
CRM (or Customer Relationship Management) software is all about managing the relationships you have with people. It covers everyone who has bought from you before right down to people who have only signed up for an account. It will often track their interactions with the brand as well as purchases and can also store personal information about them.
While the benefits of a CRM are extensive, for now we’ll keep it simple. Use your CRM to keep track of information about your customers. Imagine if you walked into a store and the sales person knew exactly what you’d bought the last four times you’d visited and that you were planning a summer holiday to Europe. Whether it’s purchases, their partner’s name or even their dog’s name, “remembering” these details is bound to make any customer feel important.
4. Make recommendations that matter
The grown up version of “would you like fries with that?”, the power of upselling and cross selling is clear from a business point of view, but it can also improve your customers’ experience with you. Customers like receiving recommendations, particularly when they're based on past purchases or items they’re currently looking at. It validates their decisions, keeps them informed of other items they might not have found by themselves and may give them the confidence to go ahead and buy something new.
Recommendations generally work in two ways, but both are dependent on having the data. Whether you choose to recommend something based on a customer’s previous purchase history or look at what other customers have purchased to create trends, this recommendation can be trusted and that trust can only grow your relationship and improve their experience.
5. Reward your most valuable customers
Ask yourself this right now. How do you identify an important customer for your winery? Is it the person who comes into your cellar door regularly but only buys one bottle? Is it the person who orders once a year but spends thousands? Is it someone who has been in your wine club for ten years? Someone who visits twice a year and always brings new people with them?
Chances are, all of these people have a significant impact on your business. And data can help you identify them. Whether it’s tracking longevity, order size and frequency or even word of mouth, you can easily see who you should be paying attention to and focus on providing the best possible experience for these customers.
After all, it can still just take one bad experience to end a customer relationship. So, find these people and go and above and beyond for them. After all, they deserve it.
6. Find and address problems
With this at risk, it’s essential that businesses find a way to address problems as quickly as possible. By the time you know it’s happening, you’ve probably damaged the relationship with some of your customers and the sad fact is, you can’t rely on them to let you know what’s going on.
So where does data come in? Trends within data can reveal potential areas of concern long before they reach breaking point. For example, if you see that your online sales have dramatically dropped, it might be an indication that there’s something wrong with the e-commerce section of your website. You can immediately look into it, resolve any issues and even email customers to let them know the problem has been fixed.
Without data, it’s difficult to be proactive about problems and that can go a long way to ensuring customers always have a good experience with you.
7. Identify new customers
It’s not only your existing customers that can benefit from your focus on data. It can actually help you find new customers and make them happy too.
The principle behind this is simple. When you understand who your customers are, you can find more people just like them. Whether it’s demographic information like age, gender and location or more personal information like what sites they visit online and their interests, you can quickly identify areas of growth.
You can also tailor what you’re doing to these new customers. Include details that matter to your existing customers in ads or when a new customer visits you for a tasting, start with the wine that most people enjoy. Doing this gives you the best chance to get off on the right foot and who knows where that may lead.
8. Get them drinking more wine!
After all, when you’re doing everything right, they’re buying more of your wine. And wouldn’t that make everyone happier?