A customer in need is Nate Morgan’s customer, indeed
1. Can you describe your most memorable sale?
Last year, close to Valentine’s Day, a customer called to let me know that someone broke into his car and stole all of the Valentine’s Day gifts he bought for his girlfriend, including a diamond necklace he purchased from one of our stores. I let him know that we could sell him a replacement at half the retail cost of the original. He was thrilled and made an appointment to see me a day or two later. When I arrived to meet the gentleman, I was greeted by a TV crew. The reporter told me that the customer had contacted the local news channel and told them about his unfortunate incident. The story was on the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. broadcasts, and we received a lot of good feedback from people in our market.
2. How do you differentiate your store from the competition?
We hire people who can support and live our mission…people [who] are upbeat, have a positive outlook, and aren’t prone to high-pressure selling. We have teammates that have been with us for 30-plus years and many more with 20-plus years of service. There’s no list of magic questions; it’s simply the hiring manager’s knowledge of our core values and a gut instinct that the person not only meets our criteria, but also is a person our customers would want to form a relationship with. Most important, we have a good internal support system for our employees. If they have issues at home, we can give them extra time off. If an employee or a family member has a medical condition, we try to offer advice in finding doctors. If we treat our employees right, they’ll treat our customers right.
3. What is your single best money-saving initiative?
A few years ago we started a 10-year plan, with one-, three-, and five-year steps of accountability to ensure our success: a “Vision Mission.” We defined sales, profit, and expense management goals based on actual sales and profit results. We continue to develop new models to control expenses and stay within budgets based on break-even points, inventory turn, and GMROI goals all contributing to bottom-line savings.
4. What’s the best idea you’ve come up with for your store?
To really take our biannual customer appreciation events up a notch or two, we’re working with a first-class group of cross-promotional partners to offer better giveaways, such as an autographed basketball from the Utah Jazz. Response has been phenomenal. Last spring we had one of our highest single-day sales figures in recent history. The only day that outdid [that] event was the Saturday before Christmas five years ago, long before the recession.
5. What nightmare scenario did you turn around to save the day?
Last December a couple was getting married around Christmas. The wife’s jewelry came in on time, but the husband’s gold band didn’t. Just when we were all ready to give up hope, the ring arrived the evening before the wedding. I wrapped up the ring, put it in a bag, and delivered it personally. Having the ring delivered by the owner of the company—just in the nick of time—blew her away. I must have received 10 referrals from this woman. The people mentioned the reason they came to my store was the story of me personally delivering the ring.