In the current retail environment I truly believe that customer service has gotten so bad that our customers have actually learned to expect lousy customer service. I also believe that when a customer gets great service it freaks them out and will actually cause customers to spread the word and to shop at that particular retail outlet over and over again. I have been to all the seminars and done the research on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, newspaper, radio, television, billboards, etc. that make terrific claims on advertising and marketing. However, I will go to the grave believing that there isn’t a more effective, cost efficient form of advertising than one human being telling another human being what a great experience they had at ABC Jewelry Company.
It is the little things that make a world of difference in the customer’s mind about the experience of shopping at one jewelry store over another. The stores that will excel and dominate in the future are those that provide exceptional customer service that causes word of mouth advertising.
There are so many things that a retail jewelry store can do to set themselves apart from the pack. Number one is to have a highly trained staff that understands that the goal of a sales presentation isn’t to make a sale. The goal is to make a friend. The day of the retail jewelry clerk is gone. It is the day of the retail jewelry sales professional. To put it another way, every time you deal with a customer, not only do you want to make a sale, but more importantly you want to make a personal trade customer, one that will ask for you by name on their next visit, a customer that thinks of your store first when they have a jewelry need, and a referral customer, is one that proactively sings the praises of the store to their friends, relatives and acquaintances.
If the salesperson will pay more attention to the head and to the heart than they do the wallet, they will get what’s in the wallet. Great sales professional are great listeners. They listen to the emotional reason why people are buying jewelry and then they share in the emotional excitement. Too often I hear a customer say that they are celebrating an anniversary, then the salesperson immediately starts talking about an anniversary gift. When the customer tells the salesperson they are celebrating an anniversary, let’s talk about the anniversary first and share in the customer’s excitement. People will tell you everything you need to know to close the sale, create a person to person relationship, sell additional merchandise and create a friendship if you simply ask the right questions and listen to the customer responses.
The following are my 13 Customer Service Standards. Standards are things that must be adhered to 100% of the time with all customers, no exceptions.
1. If you say it, do it
2. Satisfy every customer
3. Keep personal problems out of business
4. Use their name
5. Dress for success
6. Give your full attention
7. Never interrupt
8. No fast-talking
9. Sell with enthusiasm
10. Smile, Smile, Smile
11. The Golden Rule
12. Make it fun
13. Go the extra mile
Going the extra mile takes a little explanation. In order to go the extra mile a store should have a refreshment bar set up in the store that serves coffee, ice tea, cookies, candies and even champagne, beer and wine if your state allows. A great store would even have an area set-up for kids to play, or somewhere they could watch movies or cartoons. Salespeople should absolutely send a personalized, handwritten, thank you note after every purchase of a given dollar amount. Every Mother’s Day the store should hand out roses or carnations to every Mother that comes in the store, find something for the father’s on Father’s Day, hand out little American Flags on Memorial Day and the 4th of July, have a trick or treat bag on Halloween, give away candy canes at Christmas time. In other words, do the little things that will make an impression in the customer’s mind. Leave a lasting memory of the fantastic experience the customer had at your store.
Find out when the customer’s birthday and/or anniversary is and send a greeting card. Make follow up phone calls after a couple of weeks to make sure everything is exactly right. Write down and make notes about personal information, where they went on vacation, info about children and grandchildren, how their son or daughter scored on the last play of a sporting event, what kind of work they do, where they are from, etc. No one can possibly remember all of this information, but if you write it down, and refer back to it the next time you call the customer or set up an appointment, this is where friendships are developed.
When a customer comes into a retail jewelry store for the very first time, I don’t think they are looking for jewelry. I think they are looking for a place and a person from whom to buy jewelry. The first time a customer walks into a store I believe they are thinking, get me in and get me out with the path of least resistance, sub-consciously they are thinking I wish I had a friend in this business so I wouldn’t have to deal with these people I don’t know. Be their friend. The most important thing that separates one jewelry store from another is the people that work there. Be the human being, the friend and the professional that your customers hope and expect you to be.
It really doesn’t take that much extra effort to treat your customers exceptionally well. It is all the little things previously mentioned, and more, that make all the difference in the world. I just think that every time a customer leaves the store, whether they bought or not, they should feel like a confetti canyon just went off in their head. Companies make a choice to be average or to be exceptional. I suggest that you chose to be exceptional. The bottom line sales and profits will reflect your efforts.