In Good Taste + Zendesk: Going from zero to a million bottles sold online
Online wine retailer In Good Taste leaned into Zendesk to support a move to e-commerce as the events of 2020 drove changes and innovation in its business. In Good Taste trains its agents as Wine Experts, turning the customer experience into a way to connect and celebrate with digital events and great wine.
“Zendesk allows a kind of seamless, overall communication platform between agents, as well as interaction with operations up in, say, Sonoma County in California.”
“From a software and systems perspective, Zendesk was simple to set up. We did it without any engineers on our team.”
Sonoma County, CA
Zendesk start date
Retail/Food & Beverage
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In a world that was lonely and isolated, stuck at home and glued to the news, wine startup In Good Taste found a way to create connection and memorable experiences by bringing the tasting rooms of the world into people’s houses.
Encouraging the discovery of new wine and expanding palates, In Good Taste curates its signature wine flights from top winemakers around the world and delivers them to homes and businesses, facilitating virtual tasting experiences.
But it wasn’t always this way. What started as a quest to make wine exploration accessible to people through B2B channels—hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, trains— became a full-blown online retail when the events of 2020 drastically changed the travel and hospitality industry, essentially shutting down all of its distribution channels overnight.
The move to online retail calls for Zendesk
On March 26th, 2020, In Good Taste made the decision to transfer its B2B wholesale business to direct-to-consumer online retail. “Initially, in 2020, we thought ecommerce would just help us stay alive,” said Zach Feinberg, co-founder and CRO at In Good Taste, “But we have now seen massive opportunity with, essentially designing a marketplace of wine discovery. And since we launched last year, we’ve now sold over 1,000,000 bottles of wine.”
The move to ecommerce drove the addition of Zendesk. “From a software and systems perspective,” Feinberg recalled, it was relatively simple to set up, as well. We did it without any hardcore engineer or software person on our team. The implementation, the overall rapport and response times with all of your customer support team has been absolutely fantastic, Feinerg said. “You guys have the best-in-class knowledge for small businesses like ours, and you can partner with us to build out support teams from scratch,” he said.
With a B2B wholesale business, the sales team managed customer interactions, and they had an email address, but no real program to support it. Since the switch to direct-to-consumer, In Good Taste relies on email and chat through Zendesk to connect with customers, where 65% of their tickets come in through chat.
In the first month of e-commerce, they went from zero tickets to more than 3,000 a month, and they boast a 97 percent CSAT, in spite of that initial flood of order-based queries. “I think that our team’s core competency is rolling with the punches, and Zendesk has allowed us to do that,” said Feinberg.
As a small but rapidly growing business, In Good Taste leverages Zendesk for better communication for their remote workforce and vendors scattered across global wine regions. “All of our customer support people are away from the actual production of the product, but that’s the nature of what we do,” Feinberg explained. “Zendesk allows a kind of seamless, overall communication platform between agents, as well as interaction with operations up in, say, Sonoma County in California.”
The power of Zendesk data has enabled In Good Taste to strategically optimize its business. “Being able to kind of take a birds-eye view of all the different potential tickets coming in has been super helpful, because that then drives our overall operations team to kind of figure out what they need to focus on next,” Feinberg said.
Beyond customer service: Agents who create meaningful experiences
The customer interaction that comes in through chat for In Good Taste is unique. Because In Good Taste is a platform for discovery, its agents are trained in wine pairing and recommendation, but in a way that makes wine discovery feel approachable to everyone. Chat is a big part of the customer experience, where customers can get wine advice and recommendations in real time.
“Our wine experts are not necessarily people with 20 years of wine experience, because we want them to represent the true voice of the customer—people who are passionate about wine, and curious about it. We’re there to guide them on their own personal journey of discovery,” explained Fienberg.
In the explosive growth of In Good Taste, investing in wine experts has been top-priority. Not only are they planning to invest in more customer support wine experts, but they also hired over 50 tasting hosts. The aim is to bring that winery experience with the tasting rooms and hospitality to people virtually, carefully matching the right host to the right customer or corporate client. Hosts work events from team-building at places like Apple and Google to remote bachelorette and birthday parties. “It’s really part of our mission to make wine more social and bring people together from all different backgrounds into a unique kind of virtual experience,” Feinberg said.
Ultimately, In Good Taste seeks to create meaningful moments and experiences in a remote world, and the first touch point with the customer is Zendesk. “If we can have just even a little bit of impact of joy and love and connectivity in the world over Zoom, that’s what we’re happy to do,” said Feinberg.