What Led to a Customer Service Overhaul at Mazza Vineyards

After nearly 50 years, it was time for an updated customer service model at Mazza Vineyards, Creative Director Vanessa Mazza said.

It just took a pandemic to push them over the edge.

Mazza is a large producer in Pennsylvania with multiple locations and, for decades, it had been practicing a taste-and-purchase customer service format it had been comfortable with.

But because of the pandemic, Mazza had to shift to outdoor service as well as satisfy a state requirement that customers remain seated as they consumed food and alcohol on site, meaning its tasting counter model was required to shift to a relaxed table service model.

“We’d been practicing a more traditional tasting and retail approach at our main winery location,” Mazza said. “Visitors could stop in, grab a spot at the tasting counter, and pick and choose some wines to sample. If they liked something, they could grab a bottle (or a case) to take home with them. 

“This pandemic experience gave us the impetus to shake up this long-standing customer service model in a way that we’d been considering doing for some time, but just hadn’t taken the jump.”

Mazza drew on their experience with a format they’d utilized in their New York location.

It led to across the board changes, including an expanded menu.

“We’d been practicing this by-the-glass, ‘stay a while’ model for some time at our sister winery/distillery/brewery in New York, Mazza Chautauqua Cellars/Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing, and had seen how people enjoyed the craft brewery atmosphere,” she said. “We transitioned here, too, to a table service model, and used this as an excuse to kick off expanded cocktail offerings in addition to our wines and beers by the glass.”

Widespread changes are also evident at their other locations.

“We added wines by the glass to our offerings, changed our sample pours to tasting flights (custom flights or curated “featured” flights), and encouraged customers to sit, sip, and enjoy at our main location, Mazza Vineyards, and at our historical sister winery, the South Shore Wine Company,” Mazza said. “Our tasting room associates transitioned to servers, offering suggestions and information about our products just as they would in the tasting room.”

Mazza’s outdoor spaces received a facelift. The pandemic led to permanent improvements at each of their locations.

“We’d already had a significant outdoor patio at our Westfield location for customers to enjoy, but we used this time as an opportunity to expand and improve our outdoor spaces at Mazza Vineyards and the South Shore Wine Company. Utilizing our green spaces at Mazza Vineyards to appreciate the Mediterranean architecture and proximity to Lake Erie, and our covered patio space at the South Shore Wine Company, we were able to accommodate our guests safely outdoors. We’re continuing to utilize and improve these spaces this year and beyond.”

Indoor and outdoor spaces weren’t the only areas Mazza has prioritized improving. Cyberspace is also getting some updates.

“Not only did we improve our service on site for customers to continue to be able to taste, enjoy, and purchase our products, we also maintained our online shopping presence for our wines and whiskeys, and offered ongoing shipping specials and more to accommodate those who weren’t yet comfortable coming out to visit us.” she said. “We continue to work to improve our online shopping experience, and we’re proud to announce that we’ll be launching a new and improved Mazza online shopping center in the coming weeks.”

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