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An Innovative Job Change for a Sales Associate Adds Revenue Source to Jewelry Store

Old-fashioned clienteling is taken to new heights.

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Alan and Josh Perry of Perry’s Emporium in Wilmington, NC.

ALAN PERRY, owner of Perry’s Emporium in Wilmington, NC, had a personnel dilemma that he turned into a lucrative business booster.

His son, Josh, had hired Dawn Conaway, whom they both really liked; but despite sales training, the job just wasn’t a good fit and everyone realized it, including Conaway.

“We didn’t want to let her go,” Perry says. “So we got a great idea from above. I say God did it, but Josh thinks he thought of it. We ‘fired’ her, then told her before you leave, we have a new position that involves calling all of our customers and getting updated phone numbers, emails, etc.”

They offered her $1 more per hour than her previous job and thought it would be a perfect fit because she had handled customer complaint calls for Verizon.

Customers were identified through the store’s database on The Edge. If the customer agreed to update their information, they would automatically receive a $50 gift certificate, good until Christmas Eve 2017. 

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Response was — and still is — incredible, Perry says. If Conaway leaves a message, she has a 40 percent call back rate. 

She started the new job in February 2017 and by August, sales were $90,000 over the same period in 2016. So they hired two more people temporarily to staff the new call center. Within eight months, they had generated more than $400,000 in sales.

“One couple came in and spent $14,000 on their granddaughter and they said they wanted to make sure they got their $50 off. On that same day in August, two other customers came in as a result of the calls and made another $6,000 in combined purchases.

“It’s one of the best things we have done in a while,” Perry says. “It’s amazing. Some people come in the same day.”

Prior to the call center idea, they had also required sales staff to make five calls to customers per day for any reason. But since they had a customer list of 21,000 people whose information needed to be updated, those calls weren’t making much of a dent. 

Perry estimates they have about 9,000 current customers after 26 years in business.

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After the team called all of the potential clients on the list — a project that was completed in April 2018 — Conaway continued in the job to make calls for birthdays and anniversaries and special events, which frees up the sales staff. 

Perry also reinstated a front door greeter position, realizing the importance of both staying in touch with customers and offering them hospitality when they do come in, eager to spend their $50 gift certificate.

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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