JCK Show: Chatelain says treating customers well is your best advertisement

The most important factor in determining whether a customer buys a piece of jewelry is the treatment he received in the store, said MVI Marketing CEO Elizabeth Chatelain in an educational session called “Ask Ms. Liz.”

According to a survey done by her company, 57% of males and females over the age of 18 say the jewelry retailer influenced their purchase. “Consumers look to you for guidance in buying their diamond jewelry,” Chatelain said. “Consumers are most concerned about trust, honesty, and integrity. You must give the information that is accurate and useful in a manner that reinforces your image as a diamond expert.”

She said that the in-store experience is far more important than advertising. A second survey found that only 4% of respondents use ads to assist their purchase decision. “Everybody wants to run out and do advertising,” she said. “I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m saying look at what the customer sees as more important, and give it the importance it deserves. You should use consumer advertising only to create awareness, but even this can be weakened by poor follow-through. Spending $10,000 on training sales associates will deliver much better value than $10,000 in advertising.”

Chatelain noted that a third survey revealed that 32% of respondents were influenced in their selection of a retailer by the recommendations of family and friends. “There is nothing greater than word of mouth,” she said. “Your best advertising is strong consumer advocates. If you have them, you will have a year-in, year-out, exponential growth. Without positive customer good will, your advertising will count for little in the long run.”

The research underscores the need for retailers to treat their associates well. “Take care of your personnel, they’ll take of your customers,” Chatelain said.