Innovative Retailer: Diamond Design’s Pat Thompson

Designing a letter-perfect approach to customer relationsLong before CRM (customer relationship management) became the buzzword it is today, Pat Thompson was using the basic tenets of this approach to create his own brand of jewelry retailing. On some innate level, he understood that to build relationships with customers, he needed to rely on a no-pressure marketing style that valued the personal interaction over the sale. Using these principles as his cornerstone, in 1990, Thompson, a third-generation ­jeweler trained as a goldsmith, left the family business after working with his father for 15 years to open a 300-square-foot office/showroom. With little startup capital and barely enough inventory to fill his briefcase, Thompson had an idea: He’d write letters—or “communications”—to customers letting them know he could be their personal jeweler. Numerous jewelry design and ma

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