Having just completed the questionnaire for our next tasting room staff quiz, I got an update from our tasting room manager, Neil du Plessis, on our ongoing training and service development at the farm.

Fairview is fortunate to have a large number of visitors to the farm each year, who spend time in our cheese and wine tasting room or at the Goatshed restaurant. This growth has been steady over the years; primarily as result of word-of-mouth promotion and guest referrals. This is a great reflection on the offering at the cellar door, and with the increased numbers we have done our best to continually raise our standards of service.

The assessment quiz that is mentioned above is part of the ongoing product training that our managers undertake, working closely with the winemakers and cheesemakers to equip our staff with understanding and interest in the products, and not simply a list of facts. This is partnered with the external training on service standards and etiquette. Fairview aims to offer a truly world class cellar door, without the pretension and snobbery that can make wine seem inaccessible.  Neil emphasized that an important part of Fairview’s appeal is that the staff members are encouraged to have opinions and let their personality be part of the experience. “The people pouring wine are the touch-point with the visitor. If they aren’t encouraged to be themselves and interact with the guests we may as well just have machines dispensing the wine.”

Many of the Fairview front of house staff have been with the farm for a many years, which bears testament to the environment in which they work.

One of the more recent additions to our service development has been the introduction of mystery guests or ghost shoppers. We have had a number of visits to the tasting room and Goatshed restaurant over the last 6 months by guests from a service consultancy and this has provided some great insights into how consistent our levels of service are.

These visits have highlighted positives as well as areas that need work and our managers have been actively taking the consultants suggestions on board. Over the period of the visits we have seen a marked improvement in the areas that were of concern and the most recent visits have given excellent feedback.

It is so important for us to hear about the experience of guests to the farm. It allows us to work on weaker areas and to give credit to staff members who are doing us proud. It’s always great to have feedback and if you have visited the farm recently we’d love to hear your comments. Please drop a comment below, or if you would prefer you can email Neil directly. Or head over to Spit or Swallow and add your rating to our entry and read about some of South Africa’s great cellar door experiences.

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2 Comments on Of ghosts, guests and multiple choice

  1. Colleen says:

    I think its great that you have the mystery guests/shopper thing going. It is so important to hear the constructive criticism if any and to work on weak areas. Everyone should be doing it so cudos to Fairview. We have had nothing but wonderful experiences there. Took our French guest, the food blogger Jamie from Lifes A Feast, there in February and it was great once more. We even caught sight of the lady with the goat tower tattooed on her shoulders :) Only complaint if it is really one is that those wonderful t-shirts are off the market and Jamie would have liked to buy for her guys. Keep up the good work at Fairview.

  2. Thanks for your comment Colleen, and for your support!
    Regarding the t-shirts – They used the old label designs, so when the packaging shifted to the new look we needed to change tack. Gotta have something fresh though, we agree, but our main focus at the cellar door is on the main Fairview brand itself and the endorsed La Capra label.

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