Home Wine Business Editorial Creating a People-Centric Wine Business

Creating a People-Centric Wine Business


By Barbara Barrielle

Geoff Ables
Geoff Ables

“The future isn’t about technology,” says Geoff Ables, managing partner at C5 Insight. “It’s about people – and it’s about how technology will aid businesses in delivering better experiences to customers and employees that result in more loyalty and profit, lower turnover, and more innovation.”

For the wine industry in particular, the experience and the brand culture exemplified by the employees is becoming more important as a differentiator to the consumer than price and product. And fostering a people-centric culture can enhance not only the customer’s, but also the employee’s experience.

C5 Insight has worked with dozens of companies, including notable wine industry companies like Silver Oak Cellars and Nomacorc, to enhance they employee management and, as a result, the customer experience. Their mission statement is bold; “to forever change how organizations collaborate with colleagues, customers, prospects and partners…. resulting in improved profitability for customers and improved value for customers.”

It is well-known that Silver Oak employees never seem to leave. Even in this environment where quality employees are hard to find and even harder to retain they have managed to build a people-centric culture with the help of Ables and C5 Insights.

“Geoff’s thinking on creating better customer and employee experiences is something that executives in technology, operations, sales and marketing should listen to,” says John O’Connell, Chief Information Officer of Silver Oak Cellars.

“Delivering great customer and employee experiences isn’t a new,” says Ables. “But, the engine for delivering these experiences is changing. Digital workplace tools are playing an increasingly important role from operations to the tasting room. According to a study by Walker Information – the customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020 – just next year!”

The power of new digital tools as a business disruptor has become very evident in recent years, and it is incumbent in businesses to find ways to integrate the innovations and benefit from them or suffer from their disruption.

“Digital is changing how we attract and retain the best talent. Companies that haven’t kept up are losing ground. In fact, in 2017 fewer than 1% of CEO’s thought that digital would further disrupt their businesses, but in 2019 – after seeing the disruption in the taxi, retail, hospitality, farming, manufacturing industries – over 75% of CEO’s say that digital will play a disruptive role in their industry. Some wineries are already finding that the proper use of digital can bring together the best elements of high-tech with the human-touch to win and retain the best employees,” says Ables.

Ables will be speaking at WIN Expo on December 5th, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. The conference session “Disrupt or be Disrupted: 5 Principles for a People-Centric Workplace” is an inspirational session for wine industry leaders focused on case studies of 5 principles that organizations across many industries use to create more people-centric, disruption-proof workplaces. For more information and conference registration information, go to wineindustryexpo.com.

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