By Nick Miller, Podium
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How your jewelry store interacts with its customers often determines how—and if—you succeed in the industry. This customer-centric approach keeps today’s customers satisfied while helping build loyalty for tomorrow. The quality of your customer service should be a top priority and serve as a barometer of your store’s success.
Why is Customer Service so Important?
Why care so much about good customer service? For any business in the retail industry, it matters. Big time. Data shows that 71% of consumers have ended their relationship with a business due to poor customer service. Some more eye-opening numbers?
- 61% of customers will take their business to a competitor after a poor customer service experience.
- 58% of consumers are willing to spend more on those companies that provide excellent customer service.
- By 2020—less than two years from now—customer service is expected to become more important than price or product when customers decide who gets their business.
By providing customers with a killer customer service experience, you’re setting your store up for success: more sales, repeat customers, strong relationships, a distinguished brand reputation, and those coveted five-star reviews. If you’re not regarding customer service as the greatest to-do as a jeweler, you’re going to lose out in some pretty significant ways.
Three Key Customer Service Skills
What constitutes excellent customer experience? The how and what of customer interactions may differ across industries, but jewelry stores with killer customer service generally have these three skills in common:
It may be tempting to respond harshly to a customer who leaves a negative review, or spar with a disgruntled customer who unloads a heated concern. But obviously, it isn’t the best way to reflect your store. Distance yourself from the negativity for a time to cool your emotions. Recognize that more often than not, those negative expressions are a plea to be heard and valued.
Ensure that your interactions with customers demonstrate that you hear—and care about—their concerns. Before you respond, listen to understand. Ask clarifying questions about their inquiry or comments if necessary, and validate their viewpoints.
Nothing is more frustrating to customers than interacting with employees who know nothing about the store they represent. In fact, 78% of customers appreciate competent customer service representatives. This may require training, role-playing, and hands-on experience. Couple customer feedback with analytic research to know your customers intimately. The better you know your business and your customers, the more success you’ll have.
Examples of Good Customer Service
If you’ve already committed to great customer service, kudos. If not, it’s easy to improve. Start with small, simple changes that prioritize and value customer relationships, and continue working on providing excellent customer experiences.
When interacting with customers—like responding to a review, question, or comment—use the person’s name. By identifying the person and referring to the details of their comment or question, you’re showing that you value the customer and care about their needs.
Review Policies and Operations
Are there hindrances to positive customer experiences because of outdated or incorrect information? Are customer experiences responsive across devices? Make your customer journey as clear, easy, and pleasant a path as possible.
Establish Channels of Communication
Does your business or website make it difficult for customers to get in touch with you? Are inquiring customers digging through your website for a contact email or stuck in an endless thread of automated phone messages? Invest in a modern customer communication platform like Webchat that makes it easy and convenient to talk to both existing and potential customers in real-time on any device.
Okay, you don’t have to be glued to your keyboard 24/7, but you—or someone on your team—should be monitoring communication channels, and be prompt in answering questions from your customers. According to our Customer Loyalty Survey, 1 in 5 customers expects a business to respond within five minutes.
Give Actionable Solutions
“We’re sorry” usually isn’t good enough for disgruntled customers, nor is “we’ll look into it” for inquiring potential customers. If your customers have questions, provide them with clear, useful answers. If they are expressing a complaint, lead them directly to a solution (like where to get a refund), or take the conversation offline.
Customers want to know that you value their opinions about your store. Regularly reach out to them to get feedback about various aspects of your store (shopping, check-out, employee helpfulness, etc.). Use customer surveys or net promoter scores, ask questions, and solicit reviews. Then, pay attention to that feedback and work on implementing their suggestions. After all, their satisfaction and support are crucial to your success.
Showcase Your Voice
Just because you value professionalism doesn’t mean your customer service interactions have to look like robo-responses. Avoid canned responses and instead engage online customers exactly how you would in real life. Your customer service should match the unique voice of your business and help positively distinguish your store’s brand.
Establish Customer Touchpoints
Don’t let a sale be the end-all, be-all for customer interactions. Follow up with customers, express your gratitude for their business, respond to their reviews, and offer additional valuable offers or information. This type of above-and-beyond outreach helps build loyalty by nurturing precious customer touchpoints.
Customer service matters for your business and your bottom line. Bad customer service comes at a great cost—financial and otherwise. Create positive customer services experiences and customers will do their part in helping your business flourish with increased sales, loyalty, positive word of mouth, and social sharing. Essentially, you can’t afford not to care about great customer service.
Podium is an Interaction Management platform that makes it simple for jewelers to conveniently connect with leads, customers, and their team. Podium’s work streamlining this process for local business has awarded them recognition on top industry lists, such as Forbes’ Next Billion Dollar Startups, Forbes’ Cloud 100, the Inc. 5000 (#13), and Fast Company’s World’s Most Innovative Companies.