Buying a Ring – Customer Service in the Jewelry Industry

Greetings Leaders!ring

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
  • Macy’s
  • Nordstrom
  • Tiffany & Co
  • Zales

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.

Customer Service

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!

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6 thoughts on “Buying a Ring – Customer Service in the Jewelry Industry”

  1. First of all: congratulations for your 25th Anniversary!!! That’s a huge achievement!

    Customer experience has been one of the topics that I’m really interested in, because I believe that it’s the differentiator in a crowed market.

    Currently, the supply of products & services is greater than the demand. With this in mind, a customer that is willing to do business should be treated with the greatest respect.

    Your experience is really shocking because it’s clear that those businesses will have a hard time in this global market competition!

    I think that a possible solution for this issue is to have every employee in the company focused on the customer instead of focusing on pleasing the upper hierarchies. It’s amazing how companies forget that the reason they exist is because someone is willing to pay in exchange for a product or a service.

    In this digital era, with all the digital communication tools, is easy to forget that we’re still thinking and interacting in analog mode.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and once again, congratulations!!!

    Best regards,
    Bruno Coelho

    1. Thanks again for your comments Bruno! I liked what you said about the digital era and analog thinking. I’ll have to remember that when I teach my next Change Management class.

      Have an awesome day!

  2. I do a lot of jewelry shopping and can comment on 2 of the stores you mentioned. On the good side, the folks at Jared’s were very helpful and went out of their way to educate us and get us a stone that met our needs.

    On the bad side, Tiffany has the absolute worst customer service. Sure they fawn over customers in the store, or rather fawn over their wallets. But… ask them for any modification on a product and it’ll cost you big bucks, not to mention the laughable prices to begin with. Somehow that company has succeeded in convincing many people that their products are exclusive and better than other diamonds on the market. Wrong on both counts. I stay away from Tiffany as I’d feel like a sucker if I bought from them.

    1. Hi Laura!

      Thanks for stopping by. I shared your experience with Tiffany. Not that they have bad quality, but… if I wanted to see something that they didn’t have out, I had to make an appointment to come back. Also, I felt that since I wasn’t going to spend a lot of money, that I somehow didn’t matter. They were… cordial… but I wouldn’t say friendly.

      Thanks again for your comments!

  3. Congratulations to you and your wife on your 25th anniversary!

    You’re absolutely right; the inventory, display and advertisements mean nothing if the customer service falls short. I’m glad you found a jeweler with whom you felt comfortable and made a purchase for your special occasion. Here’s to many more blessed years!

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