The Grapevine

Better Wine Shop Business: Improved Customer Contact

January 21st, 2014

Is there a better way to greet your wine shop customers, one that neither sounds like an empty phrase nor comes off as creepily over-familiar? There is. [level-members]

“Hi! Can I help you?”

It’s not quite as bad as, “Hi, I’m Justin and I’ll be your server tonight” but it’s up there. It’s conversational white noise which does nothing to create any real interaction between you and your customer. It may also cause your customer to erect “the invisible wall of disengagement,” making further contact even more difficult. (And that’s without getting into the whole grammar issue: it should be, “May I help you?” Shout out to my grandmother and my high school English teacher, Mr. T.)

So is there a better alternative? How about something that gets closer to the reason your customer walked in to your shop to begin with or something that also gives a hint of your shop’s personality. So, “What kind of wine are you looking for?” or, better, “Are you looking for a wine to pair with anything in particular?”

Yes, these kinds of questions make all sorts of assumptions – the customer could be looking for vodka in the wrong aisle, after all – but the goal here isn’t to be “right.” The goal is to be human and to interact with the customer on a human level. Leave the automaton thing to the computers. You’ll find your customers much more willing to engage with you if you set a more thoughtful tone from the start. And that means more sales per visit.