Winter is a great time to come to your Consumer Direct Experience senses
The vines are becoming dormant, but your visitor experiences should still be vibrant. The quieter winter months of December through February are often the best time to reevaluate your customer sensory touch points and to make improvements where needed or possible.
Sight: Curb appeal is your guests’ first impression and sets anticipation and expectations for their visit to your winery. Intentionally drive by your entrance from both directions and take pictures for future reference. Is your entrance way inviting? Is the landscaping attractive and well kept or do you need new plantings or weeds removed? Are your signs or buildings in need of an upgrade, touch up or complete makeover? Walk your guest spaces with the staff, asking them to note anything that could be fixed, improved or changed to better enhance the appearance both inside and out. Don’t forget the bathrooms – they need ambiance as well. A daily and weekly checklist can be helpful to make sure any issues are addressed on a timely basis.
Sound: Do you have an identified range of music that best supports your overall winery identity? There are great resources for music options on line, such as Pandora . Is your staff well trained on the importance of immediate eye-contact and greetings for arriving guests? It may be time to refresh, update and add to the winery story to help the team stay engaged and enthusiastic when presenting your wines.
Smell: Sometimes the aromas of a working winery attached to the tasting room can be great – such as fermentation, and sometimes not so much. Does your tasting room have a ventilation system that can address those times or if a guest whose perfume has filled the room? Sometimes it means turning on fans and opening doors, but making sure the guest’s olfactory experience is pleasant is important for the full enjoyment of wine.
Touch: If you are only providing the ‘belly up to the bar’ tasting, it is probably time to reinvent your customer experience. Many wineries have learned that ‘less is more’, and seated tastings with more direct time with winery hosts can dramatically improve sales. Do you have an area that can be devoted for reserved seated tastings? Your goal is to engage with and delight your guests so that they become customers and wine club members. Making them feel welcomed, unrushed and special builds long term brand loyalty and referrals.
Taste: Does your tasting room staff ask guests what wines they like most before launching into a pre-set tasting sequence that starts with a dry white? That can be a turnoff for potential buyers who only like full-bodied red wines. Work with your team to develop questions and options for guests to assure they enjoy their tasting experience.
Just like our human senses can dull to habitual sights and sounds, changing the decorations, displays and other elements of your guest experiences on a regular basis will inspire your team and improve sales for your bottom line, and that makes good sense!