Here’s how (not) to treat your customers: We looked at the issues that really irk jewelry store shoppers and do the most damage to your retail reputation. Use them as a cautionary tale!
Whether jewelry retailers like it or not, online reviews remain valuable currency in today’s marketplace.
According to PowerReviews’ Ever-Growing Power of Reviews report released in 2021, online ratings and reviews have overtaken price as the most important factor impacting purchasing decisions. A whopping 98% of consumers consider reviews an essential resource when evaluating a purchase, a nine-point jump from 2018.
Given the increasing weight consumers assign to online reviews, JCK analyzed hundreds of missives about U.S.–based jewelry stores on popular review platforms such as Yelp, Google, and Facebook. While four- and five-star reviews dominate, a credit to the industry’s customer-centric ethos and get-it-right mentality, one-star reviews are out there.
Per PowerReviews’ data, 52% of consumers specifically seek out one-star reviews, often to set expectations and gauge a business’ credibility. Their presence can therefore send a potential customer elsewhere and weaken a jewelry store’s reputation in the marketplace.
Online critiques, of course, deliver only one side of the story. Your store’s negative review may have been posted by a customer who’s incapable of being satisfied, has the proverbial axe to grind, or relies on selective memory. And some thumbs-down comments can be inauthentic, submitted by a cutthroat competitor or disgruntled employee. But reasonable customers who felt taken advantage of or minimized during a visit also post one-star reviews.
Understandably, it can be frustrating for a jewelry retailer to see a negative online review. Yet, such recaps can prove valuable. These digital rumblings, after all, provide a window into the experiences, situations, and behaviors that irk customers, thereby helping jewelry shops design an operational playbook to consciously prevent negative interactions, respond to bad reviews when they do occur, and ensure customer-pleasing service prevails.
So, what issues breed one-star reviews?
★ Customers feeling ignored
“Terrible service.… No one acknowledged us (except for the police officer at the front, who was nice). We walked throughout the entire store and browsed for several minutes. Multiple employees looked right at us.”
In the reviews JCK analyzed, front-facing staff were the most frequent source of customer angst. Specifically, customers didn’t like feeling ignored.
Many one-star reviewers spoke of walking into a jewelry store and never being acknowledged—a simple “Hello” or “We’ll be right with you” as they entered and wandered the showroom would have allayed their frustration. Some of these reviewers directed their ire at apathetic associates more interested in their phones, a cleaning task, or chatter with coworkers than servicing a customer. A number of commentators, meanwhile, spoke of jewelry stores that seemingly shunned them because they did not appear to be serious customers.
★ Repair problems
“My husband picked up my wedding band that we had dropped off to get fixed a few weeks ago. The platinum band is shredded!!! That was certainly not the condition we dropped it off in.”
Beyond customer relations, poor workmanship was the other most significant driver of one-star reviews. Customers told stories—and sometimes even shared images—of jewelry sent in for service only to be returned with new problems as well as substandard repair jobs that brought no resolution to the original issue. These experiences required the customer to invest additional time and money, a surefire way to ignite criticism.
★ Indifferent service
“She never offered to show me other rings, maybe by other designers that were similar. She didn’t walk me around the store to share other things [the business] had to offer.”
Numerous one-star reviews scrutinized by JCK cited examples of sales associates anchored to their place on the floor, content to fulfill their job’s basic responsibilities. In particular, reviewers expressed frustration when staff neglected to present alternatives that might better fit a client’s budget or style or when associates offered abrupt answers or boilerplate responses to earnest inquiries.
Others said they visited a particular jewelry store—often inspired by positive online reviews—seeking expert guidance, but instead found a take-it-or-leave-it attitude among the staff, who failed to provide context or insight to help facilitate their purchase. Such indifference routinely spurred frustration and weakened customer confidence in the operation.
★ Broken promises
“It took more than three weeks for them to return my watch. Every time I called or stopped by, they said their watch repair person was not in and they did not have the watch. Each time they said it would be there the following Monday. Each time it was not.”
Promises set expectations. And if those promises go unfulfilled, disappointment and sometimes anger follow. While many, though certainly not all, customers exercise empathy, understanding, and patience, such goodwill is not infinite.
Many one-star reviewers relayed stories of being promised something, often a repaired item, within a particular time frame. When that didn’t come to fruition the first time, many sucked it up. When the business failed again, though, some used the megaphone in their pocket to voice their discontent.
For example, one jewelry customer wrote on Yelp that on Aug. 3 she returned a ring to the store she had purchased it from because a stone had fallen out. At least twice, the store promised to return the repaired ring within two weeks. On Sept. 27, with no ring in hand, she was again told the repair would take another two weeks. That’s when she let loose online.
“Beautiful jewelry, but HORRIBLE service and communication,” she wrote, cautioning others to “stay away!”
★ Misleading websites
“What they portray they have on their website is not what they have in their store.”
It’s no surprise that many customers use a retailer’s website to pre-shop their visit to a physical storefront. The pre-shopping process provides a glimpse of a store’s merchandise and price points and previews what customers might expect during their visit.
When customers encounter something different in-store than what was communicated online, however, they grow wary. One-star reviewers shared examples of stores broadcasting they had specific products, touting sales, or championing the ability to handle particular work. Once in the store, though, customers discovered the store’s online boasts didn’t match reality. The perceived deceit destroyed the store’s credibility and, in many cases, prompted online warnings to others.
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While it is certainly in retail jewelers’ interests to avoid one-star reviews, there’s an upside to being pilloried online: Think of it as a wake-up call. Knowing the common reasons customers turn to digital platforms such as Yelp and Google to voice their displeasure can help retailers anticipate problems before they transform into full-blown crises—and maybe even rack up some extra stars.
(All photos: Getty Images)