When doing a customer’s bottle, you have no choice but to deal with what you’re given to engrave. Always remember, the customer usually has NO idea what to put on the bottle. YOU must take the lead and assure the customer you know what you’re doing. Clarify your pricing structure for engraving and color and be sure that’s understood up front. Make suggestions and have it all on your order form before the customer leaves. If you don’t have an order form for all the details, create one. Make copies. Have it handy for every new customer. Vitally important you get the customer’s phone number and email address so you can contact them if you have a question while engraving.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE CUSTOMER LEAVES
CHECK CONDITION OF THE BOTTLE. If there are torn or soiled places on the label, point that out to the customer so you won’t be blamed later.
LOCATE THE SEAMS. If deep and craggy, they will soak up color after engraving and be hard to clean. Point that out to the customer. If the position of one seam is directly on the area you’ll be engraving, and if you feel it’s too rough to engrave over, suggest the customer return the bottle to the store for a better one. The customer will have to choose the new bottle at the store and get one free of the seam where you mutually decide the engraving is to appear. This is a rare occurrence but can save tons of problems in your engraving process.
LOOK AT THE CUSTOMER’S MESSAGE. Question any spelling you notice to be strange. Question capitalization and be sure it’s where they want it. Question punctuation. Question quotation marks. Often, people will put quotation marks around words or the whole message when they should not be there. Quotation marks should be for an attributable quote from someone, not just to decorate the message. If the customer has no idea how to express the message for a birthday, anniversary, congratulations, do what you can to help them. If you’re just as lost, suggest the customer go to the greeting card section of some store and look for the sentiments that closely match their needs. Suggest they find the right wording and email it back to you. The pressure of creating something as you talk to the customer often produces a blank stare. If you’re good with words, jot down a suggestion or two. You’ll be surprised how often they’ll go with what you suggest just to get that worry our of their head.
POSITION FOR ENGRAVING. I much prefer to engrave EVERYTHING up the side of the bottle. Faster. Easier. Bolder. Larger. It’s like engraving on a flat surface, only with the slight curve above and below the engraving. Suggest you do it on the side and get that permission. If you do it on the front, it’s better to do it at an angle so you don’t have to worry about keeping your lines perfectly square with the label and the bottom of the bottle. Of course, engraving on the front means lines must be shorter. More time is required to get spacing between lines just right and you must determine how many words can go in a particular line. It takes me twice the time…or more…to work on the front of the bottle with any given message.
CLARIFY AND INCLUDE DATES. It’s amazing how many people forget to include a date on their message. Most engraved bottles are never opened. They’re saved as mementos and placed in a prominent place on their bar or in their office. In years to come a date is significant, although it’s often not considered at the time of the engraving and presentation. If you get a message that reads, Happy 50th Anniversary, June 1, 1960, they have the date wrong. That is the WEDDING date, not the anniversary date. That would say the couple was married in 1910! The anniversary date is the CURRENT YEAR. Some people ‘get it,’ some don’t. At least point it out and go with their request.
That’s but a sprinkling of the details for dealing with customers’ wine bottles. It may look daunting and complicated but it isn’t. Wine bottle engraving is a piece of cake when you get some under your belt. Wine bottle engraving. Not the cake. Good luck.
Thanks for the great information Ken. It’s always good to hear you speak out. Hope all is well with you and your family.