Marketing Fail

Whatever happened to the status quo that the customer is always right?

We had a bad experience at WineBos on Friday evening, where we were holding our DGS tasting event. In coordinating the event, H had arranged a tasting with the folks at WineBos for Saturday, but mistakenly told us to meet on Friday instead. Consequently, the management team was pretty frazzled, having to release a previously made reservation for a couch that someone else had made to make space for our party, as well as get ready our promised servings of finger food and wine.

We did not immediately realize the mix up in the dates, and so were quite frustrated as to the seeming tardiness of the service staff. It did not help matters that the operations manager later tried to make us pay for 11 people, even though only 9 people showed up in the end. To our knowledge, we had not promised to pay for a minimum guaranteed number of people, and we weren’t given the free flow of 4 different kinds of wine as promised – they eventually poured us only 3 different kinds of wine, and seemed pretty reluctant to give us more than 5 bottles. What free flow?!?

We had a long discussion with the operations manager over the payment issue, and in the end she grudgingly agreed to accept our payment for 9 people, with the proviso that we contact her director of sales to explain the situation such that she wouldn’t have to bear the lost cost of the two missing people herself. She said, you have to go email my boss, and tell her that I am only following instructions; the employee who coordinated the event with your friend will have to bear the brunt of the costs.

So unprofessional I thought. Why haggle over the price like that? It was not as if WineBos was making a huge loss accommodating us. No doubt, we screwed up with the dates, and it didn’t help that the people who had promised to turn up played us out. Nonetheless, I was – am still – quite disgruntled with their service. Afterwards, I sent an email to them – quite a reasonable one I thought, and received a totally accusatory and angry email in reply. Yes, we did screw up, but their tone and manner were completely unprofessional. Left a really bitter taste in my mouth; guess it didn’t help that my first impressions of them were bad to begin with: lousy wines – for a wine tasting!?! – and the bar was so stuffy we were sweating like pigs the whole night.

Marketing fail lah. They should really have invested in their operations manager more discretionary power, so she could make snap decisions like, it’s ok, so you don’t have the 11 people and you mixed up on the date, not a big deal, we’ll roll with it, instead of telling us we had to go talk to her boss to make sure that someone else takes the blame and pays the lost cost. And then the sales director should not have blasted us in her reply to my email, and copying my group email at that. As a result, I received a number of concerned emails from the DGS folks, expressing surprise and dismay by the unprofessional attitude of the company. And they still want to set up franchise. How can, like that?

That said, the unpleasant administrative stuff aside, we did have a fun evening out. Good company and much laughter.

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2 thoughts on “Marketing Fail

  1. You may like to try Wine Network. I like the relaxed feel of the place when they were at Dempsey. Staff were always friendly and helpful. They are now at Sentosa. Can’t comment since I have never been there.

    Can also try Wine Garage at Riverside Point. The service manager was quite professional.

    If you are keen, you can check them out online.

    • Thanks for the suggestions! I will keep those places in mind. I think though going forward for my tasting group we will not hold it at a bar. It’s a much better value for money deal to get our wines and hold it at someones place. 🙂

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