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R O T I S I V Y R E L L I T DIS  E C N E I R E P EX PART 3

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This is the third installment of a four-story series on designing superior visitor services experiences at your distillery. Once your distillery has grown large enough to have a dedicated visitor services staff — even if it’s just one part-time employee — you’ll need to develop an entirely new element of management. Distillery visitor services staff perform important functions including educating consumers about your brand and products, leading tours and tastings, managing the gift shop, answering the phone and email, keeping the facility clean, and other miscellaneous tasks. However, distillers often ignore or minimize visitor services. To someone steeped in the technical difficulties of spirits production and distribution, the ”soft” guest services tasks might seem obvious and easy — but they are neither. Visitor services is as much a production environment as traditional manufacturing.

For visitor services, the product is delivery of a quality guest experience that accomplishes specific business objectives. Because tasks associated with visitors are less tangible than manufacturing a physical product, they’re more difficult to learn, clarify, and manage. Guest services isn’t sexy, or glamorous, but left unmanaged, it can be an expense without a return. A distiller who leaves visitors services employees to their own devices can expect a disregard of both guests and business objectives, mangled (and potentially brand damaging) outward communication, and constant difficulty executing visitor experiences.

CONSIDER THIS: If you aren’t training your staff, they are training each other without you

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BE INTENTIONAL The foundation of staff training is making explicit how you want your staff to behave and what you want them to accomplish. There’s no substitute for writing it down; writing clarifies and formalizes the vision of success. So, in addition to clear, written branding and messaging for both your house and your individual products, you will need clear written cultural guidelines and visitor services operations systems. Together, these two components answer the question, “What does success look like?” Both replies should include textual descriptions and key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are metrics which provide the ability to monitor and evaluate the success of your visitor services program. Some easy KPIs are a number of tours, ratings on Yelp and other review platforms, social media sign-ups, and bottle sales. KPIs must always be clearly defined and communicated between management and staff. Nothing will drive your staff to frustration more than not understanding how they’re being evaluated. (Part 4 of this series will provide an in-depth treatment of metrics and analysis for your visitors program.)

HOSPITALITY AND THE CULTURE THAT CREATES IT Every company has its own unique culture, and if your culture isn’t intentionally created by you, it will be created de facto by your employees. As onehalf of the answer to “What does success look like?”, culture should explicitly include how your employees are expected to behave to each other, to you, and to

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Artisan Spirit: Fall 2017  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.