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Outstanding customer service

It’s hard not to take it to the internet when you receive bad service. But sometimes you need to spread the word when people get it right, too. Today, I salute Odd Bins.


A while ago I purchased a mixed case of wine from Odd Bins to practice blind tasting. One night I had the misfortune of opening two bottles of spoiled wine. The first had a severe case of cork taint. Yep, cork taint strikes bottles at random and is an ever present bummer in the wine industry. In fact, some pros say that up to 5% of bottles are affected. If you spot it, normally, you’ll be able to exchange it.


The second wine of the night was just really dull. I suspected that it could be due to mild cork taint, but I thought I picked up on that due to odour residue in my glass from not rinsing it sufficiently. At the time I thought it was just of a low quality that past the best time to drink it.


When I peeked at the wine label my blood started to boil. It was a Beaujolais-Village from 2009. Beaujolais is a wine that you want to drink while it’s very young for the most part. Getting bland Beaujolais that was more than three years old led me to believe that yucky old warehouse stock was being cleared out in mixed cases at the customer’s expense. Imagine it!


An email with a disappointed overtone was in order. I told Odd Bins my story and said that I was unpleasantly surprised that they chose to include a Beaujolais that was clearly past its best. A reply from customer service arrived promptly apologizing for my bad experience and telling me that I could replace my two gnarly bottles at my local Odd Bins. Result! I was happy, but Odd Bins was just getting started with me.

Odd bins signShortly after that I get another email, this time from their head of buying, apologizing and informing me that the wine would be reviewed by their tasting panel and that my comments had been passed onto the supplier. I was so impressed by how seriously they were taking me, if, now, a little sheepish about my snarky email.


Next though, I got an email from the managing director of the agency representing the wine in question. He too apologized, then offered to send a bottle to try again…and then invited me to taste their entire portfolio! My socks were officially knocked off, my tail well and truly between my legs.


Several days later a box arrived. In it was one bottle of the same Beaujolais-Village along with a bottle of Beaujolais Cru Morgon; which they thought would be more to my tastes.


I exchanged several more emails with the wine buyer, and when I apologized again for my initial catty email she said that they appreciate honest commentary from their customers. She said that the feedback I gave was useful as it potentially red flagged an issue with the type of bottle closure used.


Several weeks have passed, and I’ve blind tasted the Beaujolais-Village again. My tasting notes from the two bottles of Beaujolais Village couldn’t be more different.  The second bottle was bursting with cherry and strawberry aromas. It was vibrant and light, not very complex, but enjoyable nonetheless; the way Beaujolais is supposed to be. I think it’s fair to say that the first bottle was suffering from cork taint. As I said earlier, it’s something that happens quite regularly unfortunately.


It is also fair to say that Odd Bins is thoughtful in their wine selection, genuinely want customers to enjoy their products, and that they are a company that take discrepancies seriously. This rare and awesome example of great customer service has certainly made a loyal customer out of me.


If you're interested in trying Beaujolais after reading this article, why not go to Japan and swim in it on Beaujolais day. More info of that here: http://www.wineangel.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Beaujolais-Japan.jpg

If you’re interested in trying Beaujolais after reading this article, why not celebrate Beaujolais Day in Japan, where you can swim in it. More info on that at http://www.wineangel.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Beaujolais-Japan.jpg


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