Columnists Chuck Koehler The Retailer’s Perspective: It’s a brand new year...

The Retailer’s Perspective: It’s a brand new year...

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Surely it can’t be, can it?  Why, it seems like only yesterday I was cussing about not keeping last year’s New Year’s resolutions.  Below is the list of what I am going to resolve to do better, resolve to not do at all, and resolve to actually start doing?  Let’s take a look;

Consolidate my communications

This is something I’ve been struggling with for some time.  Like so many of you out there, I grew up in a home where the entire family shared a single phone that was attached by a wire to a little decorative box thingy built into the wall.  Back then it was cool when the phone rang.  When the phone rang, all of us kids would race down the hallway to be the first one to answer it.  Now, I have three phone numbers, 6 websites, 13 e-mail addresses, 7 Facebook pages, an eBay store, an Etsy store, an online store, an online business, 4 Twitter accounts, a store address, a home address, and a pager (still). 

I find it funny how we still use the term “I talked to Kim today,” when in actuality, I haven’t literally talked to Kim in about a year.  Yes, I know what Kim did last night because she tweeted it.  Yes, I know that Kim took a trip last weekend because she posted about it on Facebook.  And yes, I know Kim has a new boyfriend because I saw the pictures on Instagram.  But, that’s just the way the world works nowadays, and I need to be better at roping all of these things into one place so I don’t miss out on important matters (like when Kim breaks up with said new boyfriend - a guy needs to know these things). 

So, for the last year or so, I’ve no longer been saying, “I talked to Kim.”  Instead I say, “I was in touch with Kim,” or “Kim and I communicated today.”  But, with sooo many different ways to communicate today, a lot gets lost in the translation.  I know for a fact that I’ve had readers and customers send me e-mails, or responded to one of my websites, and then, ‘Poof,’ the communication disappears.  Whoever the young lady that sent me the nice letter about wanting to become a jeweler and told me how I’d inspired you, I swear I tried to write you back but you disappeared in this small little black box with a screen and a keyboard, and I’ll be damned if I can find you again. 

I try hard to respond to all of my readers that write to me.  And for the last year or so, the communication is coming in from so many different ways, I’m certain I’m missing a lot.  If you wrote to me, and I didn’t respond, it’s not because I’m a stuck up jerk.  It’s because I lost it.  But, I’ll tell everyone a secret; the one e-mail I always check and pay attention to is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Hit me up there and I promise I’ll see it.  And, to the young lady who wanted my advice about becoming a jeweler, write me again at the above e-mail and I’ll help you in any way I can.

So, I’m asking myself and I’m asking everybody out there reading this, do we really need a unique e-mail address for every single different thing we do?  In my case it’s:

• AnthonyJewelersNashville.com, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

• TouchedImpressions.com, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

       CMKCompany.com, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

And that’s just three out of like a hundred.  If I just sent every single piece of communication to one e-mail address or one phone number, would it be more confusing or less?  I like having the e-mail account and the company or product name match, but is it really necessary?  Thoughts?

Expand my online presence

So, how exactly do I expand my online presence, and consolidate all of my communications at the same time?  Beats me.  But, I do know that almost every new phone call and every new customer I get is a direct result of my efforts to get my company out front and center in cyberspace.  I guess the one consolation in trying to increase one thing, yet reduce another thing, is this won’t be the first New Year’s Resolution I’ve failed at!

Invest in new equipment and my new venture

Yep, it’s time to get out of ‘hunker down’ mode.  Really!  It’s time to get back out there in the world and grow my business and look towards the future instead of just getting through to tomorrow.  I started a new company about a year and a half ago and have been slowly growing it.  I think I’m good to go, ready to launch.  It’s time to do it.  We’re going to be adding new accounts in 2014.  Check it out, it’s www.TouchedImpressions.com.

Be nicer to customers

Really.  And I’m talking about all of them; the ones that e-mail me, tweet me, message me, text me, IM me, call me, and even the ones that actually come in my store and talk to me face to face.  I’m usually pretty nice to people in general, but some people just stretch my limits, I swear.  I’m gonna try harder with these people.

Case in point: A guy I’ve never seen before comes in and drops off 5 watches needing batteries.  When I finished the work, four of them worked fine, and one of them was broken and needed more work than just a battery.  When he came back to pick them up, he took the news hard.

“I just don’t understand?  It’s always worked fine.  It just needed a new battery and now you tell me it’s broken.  I just don’t understand?  How could it be broken now when it was working just fine when I brought it to you?  It just needed a new battery and now it’s broken.  I just don’t understand.  I’m new to the area and I was really looking for a jeweler.”

To which I replied, “Well, Gossage Jewelers is right down the street and they’re very good.  You should try them out.”  (Sorry Chuck and Kym Gossage, he mentioned that he’d seen your store and my store and he chose me… damn!)

In 2014, I’m going to be more sympathetic and I’m gonna handle these situations much differently from now on.  How you ask?  Hell if I know, but I’m gonna try.  More on this later.

Listen better

I have to admit, I’m the worst at listening to customers.  I don’t know why, but jewelers and hairdressers get the brunt of the personal stories on every visit.  To me, it’s just a wedding ring that’s out of round.  I’m going to put it on my mandrel, hit it with a hammer a few times, and hand it back to you… 30 seconds tops. 

To my customer, it’s the ring that her grandfather gave his first wife who died somehow or the other a long time ago, and then he married her grandmother who didn’t want this ring because it belonged to his ex-wife, so her grandfather hid it away and gave it to her but made her promise not to tell anyone because he was still secretly in love with his late wife and never really loved her grandmother.  But since her grandmother passed away last year, she’s wondering if she should tell her family that this is the ring... STOP IT!!!

Oh wait, I just made a New Year’s Resolution that I’m going to listen better.

“Well, how do you think your family will handle this news?  And please be specific.  I’d love to hear all about it…”  And yes, that is a true story, ha ha.

Change my attitude about the economy

This one is getting easier all the time.  Its 2014, not 2008 through 2012.  To quote the Beatles; “It’s getting better all the time.”

Look further ahead

See above.

Buy a sports car and order a Russian bride

Oops, mid-life crisis.  I’ll probably see what each one costs and decide against both by January 15th.

Go on a diet and lose 20 lbs.

Truth be told, I’m actually planning on failing at all of the above in the exact reverse order that I wrote them… now pass me another slice of that pecan pie… with extra whipped cream… I’ve got some failing to do!!!

And, for everyone going to the RJO show in Savannah at the end of January, I’m speaking on Saturday morning and then manning the ‘quiz me’ booth on Sunday.  Come buy me a Bud Light!!!!


Chuck is the owner of Anthony Jewelers in Nashville, TN. Chuck also owns CMK Co., a wholesale trade shop that specializes in custom jewelry and repair services to the jewelry industry nationwide. If you would like to contact Chuck or need a speaker or instructor for your next conference/event he can be reached at 615-354-6361, www.CMKcompany.com or send e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
 
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