Selling Your Jewelry: Common Sense Customer Service

by Susanne Kathol, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

The art of customer service is key in developing customer relationships and a successful business. Delivering good customer service is not rocket science; although it does require a good dose of common sense and practice, practice, practice! Since so many businesses don't get it right, delivering common sense customer service gives you a competitive advantage and helps you retain the customers you earn.

Why is customer service so important? Consider this ... on average, one customer will tell three people about a good customer service experience, but 14 people will hear about a bad experience. And unfortunately, we all know how fast bad news travels. Also consider that it will cost you five times as much to attract new customers as it costs to keep your current customers.

So whether you are selling your jewelry online, in a store or hosting home parties, here are some common sense customer service tips to keep your customers coming back for more.

The First Impression
The first few seconds really count! And this holds true each and every time you meet a new or returning customer. Instantly greet and make them feel special, as if they are the only person in the room.

Delight Them with Your Smile
It's all in the smile ... let them know you are delighted to see them and give a warm and friendly welcome. We connect with people through our eyes, so remember to also make eye contact and look them in the eyes when talking to them.

Practice Good Manners
This seems like common sense, although there is example after example of people not practicing good manners in sales. It's always a good idea to keep the ''golden rule'' in mind and treat customers how you would like to be treated yourself. Here are some simple things to remember:
  • Be punctual
  • Warmly greet every customer as they arrive and leave
  • Say ''please'' and ''thank you''
  • Open doors for your customers and offer to help carry their bags if needed
  • Give genuine compliments whenever possible
  • Offer refreshments if appropriate such as water, mints, etc.
  • Turn off your cell phone
  • Anticipate their needs
Get to Know Your Customers
Think about the different relationships you have in your life, how they were formed, how you maintain them and how you help them grow. Why should customers be treated any different than friends? It's important to think in terms of building a relationship with every customer you interact with.

It is impossible to build a relationship without being ''present.'' Make sure you completely engage with the customer and give them your undivided attention. This means asking them how they are doing (and really wanting to hear their reply), actively listening and being in the moment with them. Keep in mind this is not possible if you are talking on your cell phone, texting someone or thinking about something else. If you are distracted, your customer will know.

Remember customer names and use them to personalize your interaction and help build your relationship. Keep a note card on each customer with their name and other information they have shared, so you can reference it next time you see them to jog your memory and show you care.

Celebrate with Your Customers
It's OK to laugh and have fun with your customers. Take advantage of getting to know special occasions in your customers' lives and celebrate them. For example, send out birthday cards to your customers, wish them happy holidays or ask about how a recent occasion went.

Deliver as Agreed
A key component in building a customer relationship is earning their trust. Trust is established by delivering upon promises made, such as when something will be available, shipped, etc. It's always a good idea to under-promise and over-deliver. If you commit to something, make sure you follow through and deliver on-time.

Be Generous with Customers
Going the extra mile for your customers will help you earn their repeat business. Whether it's giving a free gift with each purchase, graciously accepting a return or offering a complimentary repair or replacement, generosity goes a long way in building customer relationships.

Follow-up After the Sale
The sale doesn't end when the customer leaves your store. Solicit feedback from your customers after the sale to continue to build your relationship. Contact them to ask how their event was, how the gift went over or if there is anything else you can help them with.

And remember, it's important to give each and every customer (regardless of how much they spend with you) great customer service. Each customer represents an unlimited amount of business through word-of-mouth advertising, and giving good customer service will ensure that what they pass along to their family and friends will be positive.

But then again, this is common sense--right?

Customer Comments

We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article, ''Selling Your Jewelry: Common Sense Customer Service,'' featured in a newsletter. Please keep in mind that the comments expressed below are those of our customers and do not reflect the views of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.

"I am in customer service and you give some great TIPS.Thanks,"
- Pierre

"In ''Get to Know Your Customers'' - that paragraph, then should be changed to than. I'm sorry, but good spelling and correct English tells me a lot about people. Other than that, the article was very nice."
- Kris

"Yes this info is very helpful would like to hear more examples about how to attract and keep customers. I will be implementing some of these suggestions.Thanks,"
- Janet

"That's good. It's seems like simple and common, but they are easy to forget. Thanks for the reminding."
- Eva

"Thanks, your tips on customer service are good advice; I hope others pick up on them. It is pleasing to read the same principles I have lived by for my customers, these principles were taught to me by my mum and dad over 45 years ago. These principles should be part of everyone's normal approach to family, workmates, friends and people we meet wherever we are.Please enjoy your day,"
- Graeme

"Hi, I have been doing business with customers for ever, and it is true ... bad news travels fast. Remember the customer is always right (even if they're not). These rules wouldn't have been around for ever if they weren't true. Thanks for the refresh. Happy beading."
- Kathy

"It was a good article and I/we fully agree. We attempt to provide good customer service. It's good to be reminded,"
- Kathy and Dona

"Excellent article / column."

"I would love to read more focused, practical advice like this about how to be effective as a self-employed person and as someone who makes handcrafted products."

"Customer service is extremely important. And although many businesses seem to have abandoned it during the recession, it is more important than ever. As consumers, we don't have time to endure bad customer service. We will find other sources of goods or services that offer a more pleasant and rewarding experience."
- Kara

"The resource is very good and motivating. I try to follow most of the advice. One of my customers wanted to buy a particular item but it was already sold. So when I made a similar item, by chance, I met her and found that it was her birthday. I gave it to her as a birthday gift. She was surprised and was very happy. I earned a customer for life and she also recommended me to her friends which increased my sales!!!"
"Thank you for the wonderful service you provide."
- Virajita

"This is a great reminder. I feel this should be a way of life in general wherever we go and whatever we are doing.Thanks. And do have a great day."
- Faith

"I thought the article on customer appreciation was very good and helpful.Thank you, remaining a loyal customer,"
- Michael

"Very good info, even though it is common sense, we sometimes need to be reminded. Thank you ..."
- Wanda

"I like the article, simple, direct, but all very essential. I specially like the idea of giving a little something extra, and following up after the sale. Will try it at my next bead fair. Thank you."
- Jeannine

"Thought this article was great. I sell my wire wrapping jewelry in a small shop on consignment and a ''welcome'' smile is always good!!! You are so right about how a satisfied customer will tell their friends. Thanks for the information,"
- Donna

"I would like to compliment the article by Susanne Kathol ''Selling your jewelry'' Common Sense Customer Service. Her approach is wonderful and I am going to try some of the suggestions and apply them to my next sales."
- Kathy

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