Providing customer service through any medium is a challenge. Whether it is a face-to-face interaction or explaining methods and policies through phone or email, customers expect and deserve a high level of service that meets their needs. After all, without your customers, wine would remain in the cellar. Be thankful for their questions, comments and concerns and make it apparent that you are.


1. Answer your phone

Make sure that a representative from your winery or ecommerce site is readily available to answer all incoming phone calls. While the customer service representative (CSR) should be able to answer a vast array of questions, ensure they are aware where a call should be forwarded. Additionally, a CSR should know how they can get information should they be unsure of the correct answer.

Understandably, a call will be missed here and there. In such instances, a professional recorded message should greet and welcome the customer to leave a message.  Your representative should never leave a business day without returning and clearing all voicemail messages.

2. Focus on emails

There are roughly 294 billion emails sent per day worldwide, making it the most used and effective communication method. Make your customer service email easy to find on your webpage so that all customers can send inquiries to a central location. Use an address that coordinates with your winery or company such as ‘’ Avoid using ‘,’ as every other business does. Be unique, just like your wine.

Zendesk is an excellent outlet for customer service emails. The easy online sign up manages all incoming emails allowing you to assign messages to specific staff members and mark solved problems.



Some suggestions when managing customer service emails:

–       Connect personally by using a conversational but professional tone.

–       Use proper grammar and punctuation.

–       Keep customers informed about inquiry status and news.

All emails should be replied to by end of day. If you do not have a definite answer or detailed information, let your customer know that their question has captured your attention and you are looking into it.

3. Listen to client concerns once and don’t have them repeat the problem

During a client conversation it is extremely significant to listen attentively to the individual’s comment. If your customer has to repeat the issue they will more than likely think that you are not listening to their comment or find it unimportant. This can and should be easily avoided.

While on the phone take notes on why the customer is calling. If the shipment was missed record when they were supposed to receive their wine, determine whether payment was successfully completed and check that the address is correct. Having all necessary information will prevent you from needing to return to the client with the same questions.

This is especially important if you need to pass the question or inquiry onto another staff member. Handing over the customer information will allow the staffer to immediately fulfill the request without having to ask the client to explain the concern. This will make the client feel as though they were listened to and valued.

4. Track all client interactions

Similar to the last point, noting all client interactions is very helpful to ensure diligence. Blackboxx software organizes each client into an individual profile that highlights his or her membership length and includes an administrative comments section.  After responding to an issue, record details in the client’s profile that are only visible to your staff. Note how the issue was addressed, include need to know details and outline how the matter was solved.



Having quick access to a client’s basic profile information can help illuminate client needs. A member of two years will not be looking for start-up information and may deserve additional help or compensation for their loyalty. Tracking both positive and negative interactions in Blackboxx will provide client history to staff. This information can help to deal accordingly with the present situation or issues in the future.

For example, if a client were to receive a bad bottle of wine, tracking the details may help if the client were to frequently report the same issue for personal gain.

5. Have an extensive FAQ page online

Dedicating a page on your website to frequently asked questions will not only help your client find the information they are looking for, it will also reduce the amount of calls and emails you receive.

Some questions may include:

  1. How do I sign up?
  2. Can I delay a package shipment?
  3. How do I suspend my wine club membership?

Make sure each question is clear and includes as much information as possible. Keep a copy to send out to customers should they miss the page on your site and have a lot of questions. Further, keep a copy for staff members to have a quick reference when answering common questions.

6. Do not make promises you cannot keep

Choose your words carefully when answering any customer concern. Promising a shipment will arrive on a specific day or guaranteeing that you will get back to them tomorrow can at times lead to a sticky situation.

Instead of saying, “Your wine will arrive on Tuesday,” say, “Your wine will arrive the week of August 12th.” Unfortunately not all issues lie within your hands. If you are dependant on an outside source, like a shipping company, then do not promise a time frame that is out of your control.

7. Master social media

After setting up your winery or wine club on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, be sure to stay attentive to customer interactions.

The June 2013 Social Customer Service Performance Report found that “Of the top 100 internet retailers, 80% are responding to customer feedback on Facebook and 81% are responding on Twitter.”


* Social Customer Service Performance Report

Even more, for retailers using Twitter, 62% of public interactions are customer service related as the majority of customers have shifted to social media when they have an issue.

Supplying multiple channels, like social media, for customers to contact you is essential, especially with an online ecommerce solution where a personal relationship may be lacking. Like phone messages and emails, checking for and responding to all social media comments should be completed by end of day.

8. Say “I’m Sorry.”

As we have all heard, working in customer service comes down to, “The client is always right.” If an error was made on your part or if you understand why the client may be frustrated then apologize. Saying, “I’m sorry,” “I understand,” or “Thank you for letting us know,” will reduce client stress and initiate the process of solving whatever issue is addressed.

Twitter Response

* Social Customer Service Performance Report

Managing your clients with Blackboxx is very simple. Each customer profile includes shipments, transactions, addresses and more. Additionally, staff is able to sign in as any client to view a membership profile exactly as the customer sees it. Answering a question or concern for your individual customers with the Blackboxx solution is clear and easy to navigate.

Any position that requires customer service is a difficult one to fulfill. While you are trying to please your customer there are rules and policies to remember not to mention some things are just out of your control. Be positive and calm when talking to clients to continue a positive relationship between your winery and its fans.