The wine industry is constantly faced with new trends, challenges, and the pressure to stay ahead of the competition. With that, comes the opportunity to innovate.
Each year Wine Industry Advisor recognizes five wine industry innovators—not just for their impressive ingenuity or technical advances—but because of how their product and/or service betters the North American wine industry.
Texting is an effective way for businesses to communicate with customers. RedChirp, one of Wine Industry Network’s 2021 WINnovation Awards winners, makes it easy for employees to quickly text customers from their own phone, without customers having access to anyone’s personal cellphone number.
“RedChirp specializes in business texting for heavily regulated industries, like medical practices, financial service providers, and businesses like wineries selling alcohol,” says Jennie Gilbert who founded the company with Scott Gilbert and Jim Kane in 2020. “RedChirp has really exciting momentum in the wine industry right now; the familiarity and friendliness of text messaging is a natural fit for an industry so focused on hospitality and relationship building.”
Wineries use RedChirp to enhance customer service and increase sales in a variety of ways.
Web Chat: RedChirp connects to the web chat on the winery’s site. It texts a designated person when someone connects to web chat, sending a text to that person’s phone and a link with all the details. The designated employee can reply from their phone wherever they are, while their private cell number is never compromised.
Thirty percent of wineries that use RedChirp respond to web chat requests within 3 minutes. Within 90 minutes, that percentage goes up to 98.
No Phone Tag: Very few people pick up their phone if they don’t recognize an incoming number, but people do read their text messages. RedChirp can send out text messages about reservations, sales, collecting payment information, wine club pickups, and more.
Almost 92 percent of customers contacted through the app’s text messaging respond within 5 minutes. When RedChirp surveyed users, they found that using the app saves 5 hours each week of playing phone tag with customers.
Faster Payments: Wineries can request credit card information securely through text messages. This is particularly helpful for expired credit cards of wine club members or others whose cards are on file.
“This has been wildly effective,” says Gilbert. “Forty-two percent of customers respond in less than 10 minutes.” And, 98 percent of customers respond within one day.
Faster Wine Club Pickups: Wine sitting around waiting for club members to it pick up takes up valuable space.
RedChirp user Sokol Blosser sent two separate bulk text messages to 66 club members who were over 100 days late with pickups. Those two text messages resolved 88 people of the late pickups. People finally came for their wine.
Text Promotions: Email open rates can vary when wineries send out promotions. When McKahn Family Cellars held a summer 6-pack sale and sent emails to wine club members, no one responded. However, with a bulk text message about the same sale, they had 10 sales in two days.
“The wineries using Red Chirp really love it. And, it’s not difficult to adopt,” says Gilbert. “Sometimes non-tech companies are nervous about another technology product. One of the very exciting things about Red Chirp is that it’s [easy] to get started, and you start getting the return right away. If you throw it up on your website—and you have decent traffic on your website—you’re going to start getting web chat requests immediately. It’s so intuitive. If you know how to text, you’re going to be fine using RedChirp.”
All WINnovation Award winners will be exhibited at Wine Industry Network’s WINExpo at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds on December 2, 2021, where they will also receive their official award and highlighted in the program guide. Register here.