Managing Customer Expectations During the Holidays

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

With the year everyone has had, it is more important than ever to make sure you are communicating well and often with your customers about their holiday orders. While this seems daunting during this busy shopping and shipping season, take a little extra time to make sure each and every order is getting to your customers in a timely, safe fashion. Here are few tips to help you:

Establish your holiday deadlines for all shipping states.

It is important to know the shipping cut-off dates for your holiday shipping. You don’t want your customers expecting wine that will not get there in time for a special occasion or holiday dinner. For instance, I had a customer who wanted to order a few bottles, try them and then place an order for Christmas. Since I knew her first order for the few bottles would not arrive until AFTER the holiday shipping deadline for her state (and therefore any reorder would not make it in time for Christmas), I made sure to let her know NOW and not after the deadline had passed. Anticipate your customers’ needs and communicate directly with them, even if you think they won’t like the answer. In this case, she was delighted that I cared enough to let her know and we found a compromise that worked for her.

Holiday shipping this year will experience delays.

Make sure your customers are aware of potential delays and let them know that these delays can be beyond your control. The carriers this holiday season are stretched thin, so normal delivery times may not hold (and build in a cushion for these potential delays into your deadlines!). If you have a customer with a delay, explain the situation, double-check with your shipper to make sure it is just a normal delay and not some other issue and encourage the customer to monitor their shipment online. Do not ignore their concerns – their concerns are your concerns and you need to be on their side.

Do whatever you need to do to make it right.

There are going to be errors and problems this holiday season and all you can do is try to make them right as quickly as possible. Make sure you are communicating well with your shipper (if applicable) about any special orders, gift cards, special packaging, etc. Taking a few extra minutes on the front end to make sure the wine will be delivered as ordered – and that includes double-checking the addresses. Many of CRM/eCommerce systems have an automatic address check but if you need to make a change or add a company to the delivery address, do it BEFORE it ships. Trying to resolve address issues while the package is in transit can be problematic and will cause delays, if not returned shipments.

We love the excitement our customers have for sharing wine this time of year and we want to make sure we make it easy, accurate and timely.

Need help managing your customer service? Contact us at or 707-738-1301. Happy Holidays!

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