We’ve all heard the “It’s not you, it’s me” break up speech.And whether you’re delivering or receiving the speech, it’s an uncomfortable conversation. And it’s especially personal when it’s with a wine club member and a cancellation may be affecting your goals or your monthly bonus. We know not everyone can be saved, but here are some tips for keeping club members in the fold.
Be EmpatheticThe truth is that any relationship is hard to end, even if it is a business one on the phone. We know sometimes calls catch you in a rush or on an off day, but a club member cancellation call is not the time to come off robotic, annoyed or bored. Clearly this customer enjoyed your wines and for some reason is not feeling the love anymore. It’s ok to ask why and be disappointed. Asking questions and being genuinely interested gives you a chance to learn more about the situation and possibly improve for current and future club members.
Health IssuesIf it is a health issue, you don’t want to pry. Express concern and maybe even send a “Thank You & Thinking of You” card as a follow up from the tasting room staff, expressing they’re always welcome. Sometimes the health issue is happy news, like a pregnancy. This is a wonderful opportunity to offer to put the club on hold for nine months, send a “Congrats” card, and then set up an alert in your system to follow up with a new birth present in the first shipment back.
Logistical IssuesSometimes friends move away and many times in our wacky DTC state system, this is in a state you can’t ship to. After you express enthusiasm and congratulations for the move, perhaps ask them if they have a relative or mailing address in a nearby friendly shipping state. Often times this isn’t the case, but you can always note in your CRM system to reconnect with this customer should that state open its borders. The club member’s logistical issue could be frustration with shipping. If this is the case, it should be taken extremely seriously. Shipping frustration is often one of the top reasons people leave wine clubs. You might try letting the customer vent allowing them to tell all the stories about annoying notes on the door or cooked wine after a weekend in storage. Then, if possible, try to solve the customer’s issue on the spot. Perhaps they can switch to a business address? If it isn’t easy, then ask them if you can have the option to talk to your team about the issue and get back to them. Hold a meeting to discuss because if one person is having a problem, then others are most likely also experiencing the same issues. Maybe you need different communication about shipping times or there need to be phone calls to a small segment of club members. There are many ways to “skin a cat” and while the customer can still choose to leave, at least you have demonstrated you care and were willing to provide options.
Wine ProblemsThe hardest reason to hear is they have too much wine or they are “cutting back”. This really means your value isn’t a pparent to them. While it is very true that most of us cut back occasionally, we usually hold onto the things we care about the most until the bitter end -- like manicures or weekend golf games. Try to see if your club was the only one to go or if they have recently cancelled others. This will not only get you valuable information to report back on trends to the team, but it will give you clues on how to save them. Perhaps there is a better club tier for them (less money, reds only, less frequency). Sometimes if shipping costs are the issue, higher volume wine per shipment and less frequent shipments makes more sense when you do the math per bottle. If it’s not about the shipments, ask if a manager could call them back and discuss club benefits, events or activities that could have made it a better choice for them. Develop a survey to identify trends and develop solutions.
The key to all of these questions is to be conversational and authentic. For example, if a friend told you their dog got out and ran away, you’d stop and say “Oh no! Did you look here? Did you try this?” It’s a genuine conversation to better understand your customer and your value to them as well as potentially create solutions to better satisfy your customers. Zig Ziglar, the American author and speaker said, "If you learn from defeat, you haven't really lost".