In today’s highly competitive retail environment, customer experience can be your superpower. In this article, we’ll look at why customer experience matters, and we’ll break down a five-step process to help you design and implement an excellent customer experience in your jewelry store.
Why Is Customer Experience Important?
Fact: In today’s digital economy, it’s possible to buy almost anything online. From groceries to clothes to cars, the modern consumer can order virtually every product under the sun with just a few clicks.
Fact: The majority of consumers still prefer to buy jewelry in-person, according to the Citi Retail Services in 2019. That’s great news for brick-and-mortar jewelers. In order to attract these buyers, you need to create a great website and develop a strong and active online presence. In addition, to set yourself apart from the competition, online and off, you should aim to provide the best customer experience around.
If you provide an outstanding customer experience, there are tons of potential benefits: these customers are more likely to rave about you to friends and family, and because you treated them well, they’re more likely to become repeat customers. You can also ask them to write a glowing review of your store, which can help you attract more business.
The 5-Step Playbook
Whether you’ve done business the same way for decades or like to experiment with new ideas regularly, coming up with a customer experience strategy can seem daunting at first. That’s why we’ve put together a playbook to guide you step by step through the process.
1. Focus on delighting your customers.
If you want to know what is going to appeal to your customers, ask them! This may seem obvious, but many businesses make assumptions about what their customers want, and those imagined scenarios often don’t match up with reality.
One company that successfully focused on what the customer wanted is Airbnb. Airbnb is a hotel alternative that has grown to serve hundreds of millions of travelers, but once upon a time, they were a few guys coming up with ideas and testing them out on users, one at a time. They got to know their users, spent significant time with them, and asked them with openness and genuine curiosity what they wanted so that Airbnb could hit or surpass the mark on their offerings.
The lesson here is to start with some hands-on user research. It doesn’t have to be extremely formal or extensive. You’ll likely find that people are eager to share their opinions with you; all you have to do is ask and listen carefully. If you focus on delivering what your customers want in a way that delights them, you’re well on your way to providing a great customer experience.
2. Dream big, then scale it back.
Airbnb also shows us how to think big. In their 11-star experience concept, they show that if you think small, the results will be small. It is much easier to get in a creative state of mind if you take away all the limits and think step-by-step towards what would truly blow a customer away. The ideas should get more extravagant with each step.
Let’s apply this 11-star experience to the jewelry retail space.
A 5-star experience should be familiar. It might look like this for a customer:
You arrive at the store and there’s someone at the door to greet you warmly. They offer you water and a mint or some candy. Within 30 seconds a friendly salesperson greets you and offers to help. The salesperson gives you the lay of the land and shows you around the store. You feel welcomed and comfortable.
Taking it up a few notches, 7 or 8 stars night look like this:
You arrive at the store and a personal shopper greets you. You’re offered a glass of champagne or a bottle of water. The personal shopper already knew you were on your way over and pulled some pieces aside. The store also reserved a table for you at the best restaurant in town for after you’re done shopping. First drink on the store.
And finally, taking it to the limit, an 11-star customer experience:
They show up at your house in a limo – or maybe a helicopter! – to pick you up. Champagne and your friends are waiting in the limo. The limo drives you to the store. The store is closed to the public, and you have the entire store to yourself. Every piece you’re shown fits your taste and budget exactly.
This is just one idea to get you thinking creatively and broadly, but there are infinite familiar concepts to build out to an 11-star level.
While this 11-star experience is probably not realistic for most jewelers, there is real value in brainstorming on such a grand scale because it helps you discover ideas that are actually within reach. Maybe you won’t send a helicopter to pick up your customer, but what if you auctioned off an after-hours customized shopping party for a great customer and 10 of her friends? Or perhaps if you took appointments through your website, you could have some pieces pulled specifically for a customer so that they can have a personally curated experience when they walk into your store? Aim to think of the best, most extreme version possible, and then pull it back by identifying bits and pieces or variations of it that would be reasonable to try in real life.
3. Dream big, then scale it back.
Here’s some great news. If you’re an independent business, it’s relatively easy to try new things! Larger corporations are often bogged down by bureaucracy and huge, sluggish systems that make it difficult to get things done. If you are an independent retailer, it’ll be easy for you to experiment. All you have to do is come up with a bunch of ideas (you can use the 11-star experience exercise above to get the creative juices flowing) and decide on a few to try out in your business. Some will work brilliantly, and others will fall flat, and that’s okay! Just keep imagining and experimenting until you find what works for your particular business.
4. Measure results.
In order to know if your efforts are working, you need to measure the results. Have you ever heard of SMART goals? They are:
- Specific: linked to one activity or idea
- Measurable: something you can track
- Actionable: there should be clear tasks or actions that will help you make progress towards it
- Realistic: possible to achieve
- Time-bound: falling within a specific time period
Setting goals that fit all of these criteria will make it easy for you to evaluate how you’re doing.
The results of your SMART goals will provide important data on what is working and what isn’t. Depending on your results, you can make small tweaks, or you can pivot in an entirely new direction. You’ll also find that introducing new experiments and ideas over time can keep your customer experience offerings fresh and relevant.
Offering an exceptional customer experience is a key strategy for winning new business and keeping your customers coming back. These steps will help you approach the process in a disciplined, organized way so that you can come up with new ideas, test them, see how they’re working, and make adjustments as needed. Customer experience is an ongoing process of continuous improvement and iteration, and it can become the superpower that sets you apart from all the competition.