Customer expectations are at an all-time high. It is extremely important for jewelry managers to know and understand the level of service and type of services targeted customers demand. Since many customers are not capable of evaluating the gemological qualities of jewelry they often put more emphasis in evaluating the quality of services they are provided.
Services provide unique challenges to jewelry managers. Consider the following approaches to improving service quality:
- Intangibility: Jewelry customers will look for signs that the service is what they desire. Store graphics with images of models wearing jewelry can send powerful messages to shoppers. How is your store using social media to promote word of mouth marketing? Referrals are very valuable and are often highly believable.
- Inseparability: Services are produced and consumed simultaneously—unlike products, which can be produced, stored, sold, and used at a later date. The provider of the service is considered to be a part of the service so one of the marketing strategies is focused on the provider-customer relationship. Jewelry managers must manage relationships with third parties that may influence their customers’ perception of services provided. Examples: Working with suppliers who provide quick turnaround on reordering and special orders.
- Variability: Jewelry services depend on the employee providing the service and when they are available to provide the service, which makes it highly variable. Hiring more part-time employees who are well trained and willing to work longer hours during holidays can improve shopper experiences during peak sales seasons. Employee satisfaction can have a direct effect on the level of service employees provide. How does your company motivate employees to provide superior customer service?
- Functionality: Jewelry managers must be process oriented and identify ways to control the quality of services provided. Start with recruiting and training employees with an emphasis on service. Develop business rules as a foundation to standardizing each service performance process. Do conduct customer satisfaction surveys. Companies like SurveyMonkey make surveys easy and very affordable using digital media.
- Perishability: Jewelry services cannot be stored and the industry is challenged with peak selling periods. Jewelers should be tracking store traffic flow by day and by hour to identify trends to support better staffing. Store managers can chart the four previous weeks to project store traffic for the upcoming four weeks (the exception being holidays). Investing in employees to provide services is a costly consideration. Matching staffing to best meet customer traffic flow just makes good sense.