LINDA MOORE: Client Connection Not Enough

LCT Magazine
Posted on August 26, 2009
THE JEWELER SHOULD BE A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND: As many of you know, I will be getting married soon to the most wonderful person I know. As part of our wedding plans, we have been searching for wedding rings. We decided that we wanted matching wedding rings and we looked first on the Internet to see what style appealed to us.
As this is truly a luxury buy for us, I thought I would share our experience with four different jewelers. I believe our experience with these jewelers can translate directly to our industry. 
Bad manners
Jeweler No. 1 is near my office so I ran in at lunch to see if there was anything there that appealed to me. When I walked in, I liked the size of the store and all of the display cases. It took a little while though before a nice young man in his 20s came over and talked to me. The store was busy. I explained what I was looking for and he brought me over to the rings that would meet my requirements. But the problem was that he had a difficult time telling me what things cost. He didn’t understand the system and had a hard time looking up prices in these huge books. I did see styles that I liked and explained that I would be back with my fiancé. As I was leaving, another man approached and asked if I found everything I was looking for. I explained that I did, but I was a little disappointed at the matching band selection. He told me that matching bands were passé and that no one does that anymore. He was the first young man’s father and if I guessed properly, he probably owned the store. He turned me off.  Despite the younger man’s struggle with pricing, I would have gone back if the conversation had ended with him. When Dad came on the scene, I was turned off. I did not go back there. 
Nice service, scary price
Jeweler No. 2 is an impressive looking place with a chain feel. We were driving by on the way back from Home Depot. We were not dressed up but instead ready to go home and do yard work. When we entered, we were immediately greeted by a saleswoman who offered us her hand and introduced herself as Mary. We explained what we wanted and she said, “Let’s see if we can find what you are looking for.” Another salesperson brought us over a bottle of ice water each. Wow, they had exactly what we wanted. The problem was that the price was three times what we had budgeted. I felt great about the service and knew if we bought there that we would be taken care of but at what price? We did not go back to Jeweler No. 2.
Never again
Jeweler No. 3 my fiancé went to alone. He had used them throughout his life to buy gifts for his daughters, and he likes to buy from mom-and-pop operations like his own. The woman who waited on him was truly clueless and he vowed after years of patronage never to go back there again. She was pushy and didn’t understand our needs.
The closer
Jeweler No. 4 is the jeweler we are using. They have a billboard at the end of the street where my fiancé has his business. The billboard is always changing, but it is great. One showed a woman getting a toaster as a gift and the line under it said “Bad husband” with the name of the jeweler. I have always seen the billboards and giggled. My fiancé went alone the first time. He had never been to the store. When he walked in, it was busy, but he was greeted and told that someone would be right with him. The woman who waited on him was someone who grew up on the same street as him and they quickly struck up a conversation. She was very helpful and had exactly what we wanted. He brought me back to the shop this past weekend. Again, the store was very busy. Many of the clients were greeted by name. Everyone was treated with respect. One man was a painter and came from work. There was no doubt what he did for living.  He walked out with an anniversary gift for his wife. Many people just wanted to get jewelry repaired or resized, and they were treated as if they were spending a fortune. The owner of the store struck up a conversation with us. We explained that we liked the rings in jeweler No. 2 but they were too expensive and he said he would find it at a more reasonable rate or at least something comparable. We left feeling good and comfortable with the decisions we made. For us, this was a big purchase and we didn’t walk away with buyer’s remorse. 
I relay this story for a lot of different reasons. First, connecting with your client is not enough if you don’t have what they are looking for at the price they are willing to pay. I love everything about Jeweler No. 2 but they didn’t have what I wanted at a price I was willing to pay. But the service level was impeccable.  Jeweler No. 2 was so afraid that the salesman hadn’t done his job that he wound up screwing it up for him by butting in and voicing an opinion. Jeweler No. 3 had the client but let their guard down and didn’t keep the client. Jeweler No. 4 got it all the way around. I heard someone in there say this has been my jeweler for over 30 years. I believe that if you can make your customer feel like they own you as theirs, you have got “it.” 
We should all strive to have clients say, “This is my transportation company.  I don’t use anyone but them.” 
For this, we can’t let down our guard ever. It’s way too easy to lose a client. I will pay more for better service. Who wants to buy from someone who just doesn’t care about you? Price doesn’t have to be the determining factor. I am sure that if the second jeweler had asked me my budget that we would have found something there that was to our liking but she didn’t listen and didn’t ask the right questions.   
People just leave and you will never know you lost them. My fiancé’s past jeweler didn’t show that they cared about their clients. They will never know that he isn’t coming back or why. Most customers don’t call you up and tell you what you did wrong. They just go away.
— Linda Moore, LCT East Coast Editor
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