‘Give every member thy ear’

'Give every member thy ear'Chief executive Robin McMillan explains why your feedback is so important (with apologies to Shakespeare)

I am delighted to report that The Society continued to prosper in 2013: the support of members has remained strong and a key measure of how we are doing, member satisfaction, is at very healthy levels. But we never take your support for granted, there is always more to do and the team here at Stevenage continue to look at ways of improving what we do and the services we provide to you.

One crucial driver that informs our thinking and actions is of course your feedback, whether through our formal and extensive member research programme, informally at tastings or events, through your comments to Member Services or directly to me.

In the January 2013 edition of SocietyNewsI encouraged members to 'keep your feedback and letters coming' and I am pleased to say you did not disappoint!

Reviewing my 2013 'post bag' from members some common themes emerge that I thought might be informative to the wider membership:

  • Paper-based offers and mailings versus the web/digital – we seek to refine what you receive so it is relevant to you, enhance the web/digital experience, but continue to provide you with a choice of channels
  • Our policy on the countries from which we buy eg. Argentina – we do not believe that The Society is best placed to make decisions regarding the acceptability of trading with countries where there may be political sensitivities and therefore take Foreign Office guidance in such matters. Our policy can be viewed here.
  • Alcohol levels in wine – balance is key; the interaction of a wine's main components of sugar, acidity, tannin, alcohol and flavour matter more than alcohol by volume. Find out more.
  • Delivery of wines in heatwaves – even in the extreme conditions we experienced last year, temperatures in our vans remained within acceptable limits (we tested them). Find out more.
  • Lack of wines under £5 on our list – 57% of a £4.95 bottle of wine goes on duty and tax and after other fixed costs such as the bottle itself, capsule, cork and packaging very little of what you pay is for the wine itself. There is an exponential rise in the value of the wine as you spend more. Read more about this in our Value Charter.
  • Keeping you informed if something goes wrong – we aim to be proactive rather than reactive and if we say we will get back to you we should!

In responding to each of these queries and many others I do of course have to consider individual comments and opinions in the context of the whole membership experience and prioritise accordingly, but they remain an important barometer of how you are feeling about your Society and what matters to you most.

Please do keep them coming.
Robin McMillan

Please address any feedback to Robin via our online enquiry form or write to him at our usual address.

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