My wife Debbie and I are celebrating our 25th Anniversary this month and to commemorate the occasion we are replacing her wedding ring with something a little bigger than we could afford in our early twenties. Not having shopped for an expensive piece of jewelry in a very long time, we decided to go to a number of places before making our purchases.
Buyer beware – not all Jewelry stores are alike. There are a ton of them in Roseville and we only managed to go to (listed alphabetically):
- Ben Bridge Jewlers
- Devons Jewelers
- Helzberg Diamonds
- Jared Jewelers
- JC Penney
- Tiffany & Co
While shopping, it became really apparent which jewelers cared about the customer. To be fair, our experience was based on who was in the store at the time, and so I won’t “rate” the jewelers for you (If you want more info – e-mail me) here. I will however break down the extremes we saw.
The Good: I think most of the sales people had been in the business awhile so it was surprising that the best customer service we got, was from someone who normally wasn’t on the floor, but who came out of the back office to help out during the busy holiday season. She took the time to listen to what “we” wanted. She made suggestions within “our” budget. She focused just on us and didn’t leave us to go help someone else when we were talking things over. She cleaned our rings while we looked around. When she didn’t know the answer, she got someone else to help. She took the time to educate us on the different diamond ratings for clarity, color and quality. She was awesome.
The Bad: Most of the other sales persons were disinterested. “Yeah – this diamond is a J”… no explanation, no help. They walked away to help others when someone else walked into the store, which reminded me of a used car salesman. One young lady actually showed us a $26,000 diamond ring which was WAY out of our price range. I thought… ok, thanks for making me feel inadequate!
The Good: The person with the most knowledge, or at least who was willing to share that knowledge, was a young girl in her mid twenties. She was wearing pants and a nice blouse, as compared to the others who were wearing suits and dresses. She wasn’t polished, but boy was she helpful. She is not the same person who I mentioned under customer service, but she came in a close second there too. She was casual, informative and very open. I didn’t feel like I was being lectured or that I was pulling teeth to have her share her “knowledge” with us.
The Bad: After looking at their small collection of diamonds, one salesperson suggested we go look at cubic zirconia, as if I thought those were the same things. Yeah… right. Another salesman told us a story about a competitor who sold a cubic zirconia ring for $5,000 without having told the client it wasn’t a diamond. The poor guy who bought it, found out a year later when he brought it into this other store to be cleaned, only to be told it wasn’t real (I remember reading about this in the news, so know it is a true story).
For those in the jewelry business, this is how my wife and I decided where to spend our money. Regardless of what we liked, we immediately ruled out those stores that didn’t have good customer service. Of the nine stores we visited, we narrowed the list down to three very easily. Of the three, we then came down to reputation of the company, pricing and what we liked. We didn’t end up buying where we got the absolute best customer service, but we did feel comfortable making a purchase where we thought we were getting the best possible combination of customer service and value for our money.
Although I don’t want to rank all the stores, I will tell you the last three we ended up at: Helzberg, Jared and Zales.
Bottom Line for Leadership
I was surprised at the lack of quality customer service. Theses stores are all in business to make money and they invested time and money into their jewelry departments. The leadership at these companies go on retreats, develop strategies, purchase quality jewelry. They research store fronts, consumer behavior and develop marketing campaigns. They all had advertisements out for Christmas. They all want to make the sale….. only to have all this go for nothing due to poor leadership on the sales floor.
All the best!
All the time!