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How to Implement an 80/20 Customer Service Program and More of Your Questions for January

Plus creating quality signage, dealing with late employees and more.




How to Implement an 80/20 Customer Service Program and More of Your Questions for January

You guys regularly mention the 80/20 rule. But how do you actually put it into practice when it comes to your customers? My policy is to treat everyone equally.

In the Big Survey 2010 we asked jewelers what share of sales their top 5 percent of customers contributed, and well over half said it was between 20-30 percent. That doesn’t validate the 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto Principle) in the jewelry industry, but it goes close. “Jewelers should know who those top 5 to 10 percent of their customers are, and they should be constantly in touch with them,” industry analyst Ken Gassman says. Betsy Kruger, who owns marketing consultancy Strategic Power, urges an even more aggressive approach: Ignore the bottom 80 percent of your customers. “They cause more problems than they’re worth,” she says. Her approach, outlined in her book, Top Marketing Strategy: Applying The 80/20 Rule, is to identify the most profitable 20 percent of your customers and then allocate one day a week to serving them, based on your research into what they really want from a jewelry store (from surveys, chats, your sales data) and what makes them tick. The rest of your time, she says, you should be targeting similar prospects with tailored marketing campaigns. “Anticipate that your profits will quadruple.”


Where can I get quality signs made?

If your display vendor doesn’t have what you need, go ahead and make your own, recommends Larry Johnson, senior VP of Pacific Northern and author of The Complete Guide To Effective Jewelry Display. “Keep your signs simple and informative,” he says, adding they should serve one of two main aims: Direct clients to your goods, or reinforce your selling points.


If an employee is consistently late for work (usually 30 minutes at a time), can I dock his pay?

From a legal standpoint, it typically depends whether he is a salaried or an hourly employee. If it’s the latter, he should be punching a clock, which will automatically deduct his time. If he is a salaried employee, you have to pay him, late or not, says Suzanne DeVries, president of Diamond Staffing Solutions, adding that you should, however, have the issue — and the consequences (such as three strikes and you’re out) — covered in your employee manual. “It’s never a good idea to let any one employee get away with such behavior. It sets a bad example for those who are always on time — and you are setting yourself up to be accused of favoritism,” says DeVries.


My gemologist is a great diamond grader, but he isn’t able to identify some of the colored gemstone materials that come in my store for appraising. Do I need a new gemologist?

Probably not. Indeed, your gemologist should be commended for not signing off on a guess. While there are few new gem materials coming out of the earth, there are far more in use as gemstones than there once were, says Cara Williams, senior gemologist at Stone Group Labs in Jefferson City, MO. “We regularly see materials that challenge a lab with advanced equipment; sometimes we have to use every piece of advanced equipment at our disposal,” she says. Many of these materials may be opaque or cabbed or set in jewelry, limiting the number of tests a traditional gemologist can perform. And in an era where many stones can be made to imitate other stones — or treated to look more valuable — it is important to know when to say, “I don’t know.” It is often a sign of a seasoned and experienced gemologist, Williams says.

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Wilkerson Testimonials | Sollberger’s

Going Out of Business Is an Emotional Journey. Wilkerson Is There to Make It Easier.

Jaki Cowan, the owner of Sollberger’s in Ridgeland, MS, decided the time was right to close up shop. The experience, she says, was like going into the great unknown. There were so many questions about the way to handle the store’s going-out-of-business sale. Luckily for Cowan, Wilkerson made the transition easier and managed everything, from marketing to markdowns.

“They think of everything that you don’t have the time to think of,” she says of the Wilkerson team that was assigned to manage the sale. And it was a total success, with financial goals met by Christmas with another sale month left to go.

Wilkerson even had a plan to manage things while Covid-19 restrictions were still in place. This included limiting the number of shoppers, masking and taking temperatures upon entrance. “We did everything we could to make the staff and public feel as safe as possible.”

Does she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers thinking of retiring, liquidating or selling excess merchandise? Absolutely. “If you are considering going out of business, it’s obviously an emotional journey. But truly rest assured that you’re in good hands with Wilkerson.”

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