Traditionally wine producers have been focused on production rather than marketing or branding. According to a study that was published recently on superb service is the indispensable ingredient of successful high-end brands. This is food for thought for premium and icon wine producers as well as wine tourism marketers, who should be looking to add value to their product offerings. Here’s a short extract from the report:

“The relationship between quality of service and the luxury touch is often noticed, but its significance is rarely understood. A recent Booz Allen Hamilton study suggests that with luxury brands, the excellence of the underlying product is merely a starting point. Interviews with 40 executives at a broad spectrum of high-performing luxury brand companies confirm that what makes these luxury products truly stand apart is the superb level of service in which they are wrapped. Indeed, the services surrounding each of these brands can be viewed not only as an intrinsic part of the products themselves, but as an important differentiator of the brand.

Although there’s no single process for achieving high levels of customer satisfaction, four principles are common to nearly all top-performing luxury brand companies:

  1. They create a customer-centered culture that identifies, nurtures, and reinforces service as a primary value. When it comes to sales and service excellence, the leading luxury brands do not take shortcuts. High-performance luxury brands maintain their commitment to service in good times and bad, emphasizing long-term vision over short-term expediency.

  2. They use a rigorous selection process to populate the organization with superior sales and support staff. The impulse to care about accommodating customers cannot be taught to people who are not predisposed to it - “The smile has to come naturally.”

  3. They constantly retrain employees to perpetuate organizational values and to help them attain greater mastery of products and procedures. This continuous training includes training in new products and sales procedures as well as constant reinforcement of the company values and heritage. The average Ritz-Carlton employee receives 232 hours of training per year, almost four times the average of their counterparts at peer hospitality companies.

  4. They systematically measure and reward customer-centric behavior and excellence in sales and service to enforce high standards and reinforce expectations. When employees recognize that they are valued and share in the rewards, they can commit themselves wholeheartedly to the company’s mission. That, in turn, will demonstrate to outsiders that the company not only has set strong values but also lives by them, and that these values make possible a growing reputation for premium products and service.

When these four principles are at work, the result is a highly integrated business model that combines a superior product line with outstanding sales and service quality, driving strong growth and profitability in the process”.

By Mike Carter.

Read the entire report:…


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