At Your Service: How Do You Help Intimidated Customers Feel More Comfortable?

Every week we ask retailers how they handle client requests, questions, and conundrums. This week we asked: “How do you help customers intimidated by the jewelry buying experience (and your store) feel more comfortable?”

“It’s really easy—just talk to them like a human. Don’t necessarily try to sell them something, but just ask them the questions that need to be asked as far as, ‘Is this the style you like? Is this the price range you like? Do you like us?’ We have enough variety and personalities of employees that one of us can pair up with about anyone walking through the door and be successful.”
—Randy Mitchum, Mitchum Jewelers, Ozark, Mo.

“We have hot mulled cider all winter and cold water or coffee and tea the rest of the time. It’s my job to help customers realize they’re not being taken advantage of. We don’t work on commission because that sometimes makes sales staff think of a customer as a dollar sign. If a customer is looking at a special piece, I teach my staff to immediately take the piece out of the case and let them hold it in their hands. It’s a really cool thing to try on an emerald necklace or some other expensive piece of jewelry. I say, ‘Why don’t you try this on? How often do you get to hold a $10,000 necklace in your hands?’ Women get all giddy.”
—Diane Garmendia, owner, 33 Jewels, Santa Barbara, Calif.

“Through small talk. Welcome them. Ask if this is their first time looking. We don’t want them to be nervous. We’ll take pictures of things they like with our camera and email or text them to people. We’ll get an idea of what they want and then keep in contact with them. We are competing with all the things they see on the Internet, as well as in other stores. We have to make them trust us and feel comfortable with us.”
—Linda Bowman O’Dell, owner, Bowman Jewelers, Johnson City, Tenn.

JCK Magazine Editor