Monday, July 31, 2006

Customer Dis' Service

I had an interesting discussion about wine stores with some friends the other night. It seems that the general consensus concerning wine stores in New York City is that customer service has gone out the window right along with dusty bottles of Blue Nun and Riunite. (Ok, ok, I am dating myself but just because I remember the so-called “wines of the ‘70s” doesn’t mean I was old enough to drink them — thank god!)

The conversation started with a simple enough question regarding favorite neighborhood wine stores. For starters, everyone, including myself, had a difficult time coming up with a definitive answer on the spot. What followed was not a cheery list of recommendations but a litany of complaints. Although there were a few stray “the store is unorganized” and “the prices are too high” the vast majority of grievances centered on the lack of customer service.

This is not to say that there are no good wines stores in this city because there certainly are. It is just a shame that more retailers don’t get it right when the key to success seems to be as simple as making their customers happy. It is easy to lose a customer for life if you leave them feeling helpless and ignored as soon as they amble through your door — particularly if they announce to you that they have money to spend, which was the case in more than a few tales of woe.

Our neighborhood wine stores may be catering to a sophisticated New York clientele but they shouldn’t waste their time touting their eclectic selections, namesake proprietors or sleek new locations if they are going to finish short.

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