The Grapevine

Wine Shop Business – Is the Customer Always Right?

September 26th, 2017

Last week, we posted about the worst behavior seen in wine shops. This week, we’ll pivot over to finding the balance between being taken advantage of and creating an adversarial relationship. [level-members]

If you think of the liquor stores in bad neighborhoods you’ve seen in the movies, they’re not exactly warm and welcoming. Bulletproof glass, everything under lock and key, wary glances … Clearly, most of us are luck enough not to have to run our businesses that way. But we do ahve to confront bad behavior, as evidenced by this recent article about the pinch some tasting rooms are feeling because of light-fingered customers.

Do you content with behavior like this on a regular basis? Or even on an occasional basis? How do you handle it?

There are always some folks in a community who you would prefer not to have a customers at all, but remember that all but the crankiest of crackpots have friends and family who they’ll tell stories to.

So your own attitude and actions have to balance the desire to snarl at someone and bar the door with the need to, well, grin and bear it.

One suggestion we’ve heard is rather interesting in its psychological underpinnings and it comes from traffic enforcement. The fact is, people speed. Very little the police do is effective in stopping us – with the notable exception of those electronic signs that flash how fast you’re going under a sign that says, Your Speed. I’ve seen one recently that says, “Slow Down” in red if you’re going even 1 mph over the limit and, “Thank You” in green if you’re at or below the speed limit.

It stands to reason that a low-key sign saying something like, “Shoplifting has an enormous impact on our margins. Please consider our business before you steal.”

You probably won’t eliminate the problem, but you may minimize it. And without having to snarl at anyone.