The Grapevine

Good Wine Shop Service – Give The People What They Want

May 14th, 2013

Must be something in the air: twice this past week we’ve had similar stories come across our desks about the importance of reading your customers. Remember that the difference between just scraping by and enjoying real success can be as small as getting a reasonable percentage of your visitors to pick up that 2nd or 3rd bottle. Reading them well will make that difference easier to achieve.  [level-members]

Our colleague Peter Levinson reminded us in his email newsletter about paying attention. He was dreading a series of very early trips from his home in Brooklyn to a printing facility in New Jersey where he’d oversee the print run for a client. The client was thoughtful enough to provide a car service for this hour-plus trip.

That eased the dread, but Peter’s experience was quite different on different mornings of the project. See, Peter’s not a morning person. So his first trip was pure torture, as the driver did his best to be friendly. Way before an hour of the day that Peter is ready to be friendly.

His second driver picked up on Peter’s mood and gave him exactly what he wanted – blessed silence.

Do you pay attention to your clients and why they’re in the shop? It can take some doing. A client may be in a rush because she’s late to a dinner party – for which she’s forgotten the wine. A client with a small child may be anxious because he doesn’t want to pay for that bottle of ’82 Bordeaux his child might knock over.

For the first, brisk and business like is probably the order of the day. An acknowledgement of how harried our schedules can get these days might go a long way toward getting a smile.

Proud papa, though, may be interested in getting in and getting out. Or he may be thrilled to have you distract his young charge long enough to linger and find what he’s looking for and a little bit more.

With enough time in the shop you probably pick up on these cues without even thinking about them. But they’re worth thinking about for the times when you’re training new staff. (And of course, any new hire who you observe with an innate ability to connect with people this way should be hung onto!)