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Marlborough’s Top Cellar Doors

Mystery Shopping Finds Marlborough’s Top Cellar Doors

· Over the summer a dozen mystery shoppers have been out and about carefully measuring the customer experience received from each of the 41 local winery cellar doors.
· The top ten cellar doors have been identified with Highfield Estate taking out the top spot.

In 2006 the Ministry of Economic Development announced that international wine tourists visiting New Zealand had increased to 185,784 from 30,998 in 1998. Wine Marlborough Marketing Manager Tom Trolove said that about 290,000 international visitors spend a night in Marlborough each year and a good proportion were expected to visit the local cellar doors. “As a premium wine region we need to provide visitors with a truly memorable experience” says Tom.

In order to develop the cellar door customer experience and reach world class standards, Wine Marlborough commissioned Customer Care, a specialist market research company, to rollout a mystery shopping program, providing an evaluation of the current service levels and visitor experience offered by the local cellar doors. Over the months of February and March each cellar door was visited twice, once during the week and again in the weekend.

The results are in and are extremely positive. Tom said it has been a very successful exercise, “The mystery shopper program assesses everything from telephone and service experience to information, merchandise and developing loyalty; and across the board results are very favourable”.

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Customer Care Managing Director Richard Lake said that Customer Care has been in the mystery shopping business for fifteen years and quite frankly it is an anomaly to see such superior results on the first round of mystery shopping, “The 41 cellar doors scored an overall of 86% across all the customer service categories. The highest scoring category was Cellar Door and Staff Presentation with a result of 92% followed by Service Experience of 88%. This is not typical. The Marlborough wine region should be very proud of their result. The statistics prove the regions commitment to providing excellent customer service for its visitors”.

Wine Marlborough is pleased to report that Highfield Estate was ranked 1st out of the 41 cellar doors. Naomi Galvin, Marketing Assistant at Highfield said the team are very excited about the outcome and believes the positive results can be attributed to the staff at Highfield. “We aim to provide a personalised service for each visitor that comes through the door, so they walk away feeling like they have been treated to a unique and wonderful experience”. Highfield have recently implemented full customer service training for their front of house people which includes input from both their winemaker and chef.

However it’s not all good news. Although the overall result appears to be a good one, particularly in telephone experience; there is still plenty of room for improvement, notably in developing loyalty. Wine Marlborough has also seen areas for improvement, “Feedback that we are taking on board is the frustration expressed by the mystery shoppers over the local road signage and the importance of the wine trail map” said Tom.

It is Wine Marlborough’s intention to implement cellar door training this winter and carry out the same mystery shopping program again next summer.


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