Providing Customer Care
Article provided for The Plumb Club by Kate Peterson, PC Performance Concepts
If you really want to succeed in today’s retail jewelry industry, you need a clear vision of what you’re doing.
Selling gems and jewelry is certainly part of that picture. After all, sales generate the revenue your store depends on for growth, and they serve as an overall measure of your personal business performance. But much like a prize-winning photo, a beautiful painting, or some other artistic achievement, a successful sale is only the visible end result of a much larger creative process. For jewelry professionals, that process is providing customer care.
Quality care begins with respecting other people, and treating them as you wish to be treated. It means recognizing that each person who enters your store is a unique individual, with a distinct set of needs and desires. Then you’ve got to respond appropriately to that one-of-a-kind combination. Customer care also requires taking all of the steps that are necessary to become and remain a true professional in every sense of the word.
When you provide quality customer care, you create a buying experience that’s deeply and completely satisfying. By getting to know the customer and giving honest, expert guidance throughout the buying process, you do your best to ensure that the right choice is made in the first place. You also furnish the information that’s needed for lasting appreciation and enjoyment. But your attentiveness doesn’t end when you close the sale. You stand ready to help in case there are questions or concerns in the future, and you make sure the customer knows it.
What’s more, you actively involve the customer in an ongoing process of ownership. This includes partnering with the customer to maintain the beauty, quality, and value of jewelry that has been purchased or received. It can encompass a number of other details, like friendly reminders of buying occasions and news of upcoming store events. Whatever the specifics, however, the ultimate goal is crafting a genuine person-to-person bond.
If you provide exceptional customer care, you satisfy the customer’s needs and desires with each and every encounter. The immediate results are likely to be surprise and delight. In the long run, you build trust and loyalty. Most important, you establish a special relationship and earn a rightful place as the customer’s friend and advisor in the jewelry business.
Of course, you receive some tangible benefits along the way. The customer will probably make repeat purchases, and become an advocate for you and your business. But that’s just the “icing on the cake,” so to speak. What really counts is the satisfaction that comes from being a meaningful part of your customer’s world, and having him or her become part of your world, too.
Unfortunately, the flipside of exceptional customer care is epidemic these days, and you’ve undoubtedly seen—or experienced—lots of examples. Extreme cases leave customers so angry they sound off to family, friends, and anybody else who’ll listen. But these really aren’t the most damaging. That’s because sooner or later someone will chew out the right person, so there’s at least a chance for the problem to be corrected.
A much bigger danger—in fact, the number one reason for customer loss—is perceived indifference. Customers quickly take their money elsewhere when they’re not convinced a business and its team truly care about them. This is why it’s important to reach out to customers you haven’t heard from in a while, to discover and resolve past issues, and try to build a future with them.
In the final analysis, customer care should be the golden thread that runs through everything you do as a jewelry professional. Placing a top priority on each customer’s needs, wants, wishes, and desires must begin with very first encounter, and continue unbroken for as long as the relationship lasts—even if it’s 20 years. Admittedly that takes a tremendous amount of commitment and consistent effort. But if you succeed at providing exceptional customer care, you’ll succeed at selling jewelry, too.