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E Column 300x200I went down to Monterey, CA for a couple of days earlier this week as a quick getaway to celebrate my birthday. While there I spent a day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The exhibits were amazing but the thing I was most impressed with was the customer service. While there I spoke to at least seven different employees and volunteers and every one of them was helpful, informative, pleasant and interacted with us on a personal as well as a professional level.

During each interaction we were given interesting information about the fish and birds that made up that particular exhibit. The person speaking with us, whether they were volunteers or paid employees were cheerful, friendly and obviously loved what they were doing.

In contrast I was at a winery a few days before with a friend who had gone to pick up a quarterly wine club shipment. As we walked in the front door to the tasting room there was a woman behind the desk who was looking through some papers. She did not raise her head from the papers, when we came in or acknowledge us in any way.

We continued over to the tasting bar and the young woman behind the bar who was pleasant but not at all engaged with us began to tell us how the tasting worked. My friend mentioned being a part of the wine club and she pointed to the other room and said that we could pick up the shipment over there. We stayed at the tasting bar to taste some wine. The tasting was free for anyone who came to the winery and there was nothing special for wine club members to taste. We were asked no questions, nor was any attempt made to form a connection with us by either of the two employees who served us. They just came over, asked what we wanted, poured and left. There was also no attempt to sell us on anything, asked how we liked the wine club. The tasting room was not busy yet there was no personal interaction at all.

When we went over to pick up the shipment, the employees put it in to a bag, asked to to sign the sheet and said goodbye. No suggestion that we might want to purchase something else was made. My friend will be cancelling the wine club membership at this winery before the next shipment.

The two experiences were polar opposites. If I had to choose where to spend my money based on how I was treated, I would be back at the Monterey Bay Aquarium tomorrow.

A tip of the glass from me to you

Elizabeth SlaterE column
by Elizabeth “E” Slater, In Short Direct Marketing

A recognized expert in the fields of direct marketing and sales in the wine marketplace. Slater has taught more wineries and winery associations how to create and improve the effectiveness of their direct marketing programs and to make the most of each customer’s potential than anyone in the wine industry today.

Follow E on twitter @esavant and facebook.

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