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Do You Or Don't You?

Do You Use Messaging Apps to Contact Customers?

4 out of 5 Brain Squad members say no.

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Yes: 19%

  • Facebook Messenger: we embedded a “message us” button on our website that is linked to Facebook Messenger so customers can ask questions online without having to use email. — Chris Wattsson, Wattsson & Wattsson Jewelers, Marquette, MI
  • We use it to get responses immediately following a sale and reviews. — Joe Thacker, Thacker Jewelry, Lubbock, TX
  • Sending photos and replying to inquiries. I don’t have email sent to my phone in a failing attempt at having some privacy. I actively stay after sales via email. I use WhatsApp mostly when communicating with suppliers as I chase merchandise that I no longer can afford to stock in my cases. — Eric Ohanian, Leon Ohanian & Sons, Boston, MA
  • We send texts through The Edge software for completed custom and repairs. Our customers seem to prefer this for notifications. — Russell Criswell, Vulcan’s Forge, Kansas City, MO
  • I use ManyChat, which is a “messenger bot.” The bots are the hot thing this year on Facebook. It has helped create a series of questions that can communicate with customers and send the customer interaction through my sales funnel. — Rita Wade, Wade Designs Jewelry, Rocky Mount, NC
  • We’ve been using Podium since the fall of 2017. We text most of our repair customers now and they love it. Plus our Google reviews went from 4 to over 50 since using the app. — Travis Piper, Piper Diamond Co., Vincennes, IN
  • My 14 year-old son uses Snapchat to show jewelry he makes. — James Stinson, Diamond Classics, McMinnville, TN
  • I use Podium almost daily to correspond with my clients. From the request for an online review to sending images, quoting custom and/or repairs, setting up appointments or just a quick congratulations on an engagement, Podium allows us to communicate in one of the easiest platforms available: text messages. We have closed sales through Podium because of the ease and convenience of texting. I could talk forever about my satisfaction with Podium. — Erika Godfrey, Hawthorne Jewelry, Kearney, NE
  • We just use a texting app that has a different phone number so we don’t have to give out our personal numbers. Everyone can access it and it looks like a regular text to a customer. — Gabi Mecherkany, Bernard Jewelers, Tewksbury, MA
  • LiveChat on our website; it’s a great way to connect with people. Giving my cell number and texting customers personally (not autobot), we’ve turned into a sought-after concierge service while our store has been closed to move to a safer, more convenient location. — Jill Keith, Enchanted Jewelry, Danielson, CT

No: 81%

  • I do email marketing and social media but no texts. I hate when I get them from random stores, so I don’t want to do this to my customers. I do use my cellphone to text customers more and more. — Michael Kanoff, Michael’s Jewelers, Yardley, PA
  • One more thing I don’t have time to learn how to use. And I personally HATE being contacted by text or Messenger for business purposes, especially unsolicited. — Janne Etz, Contemporary Concepts, Cocoa, FL
  • I do not want to be buried in the never-ending deluge of digital crap that is ongoing. — Mark Thomas Ruby, SunSpirit Designs, Loveland, CO
  • We use Podium. It is a great multifunctional tool that allows us to ask for reviews as well as communicate directly with our customers. — Erica Lorenz, Michael & Sons, Reno, NV
  • We’ve been using Podium since the fall of 2017. We text most of our repair customers now and they love it. Plus our Google reviews went from 4 to over 50 since using the app. — Travis Piper, Piper Diamond Co., Vincennes, IN
  • Text. Especially our male clients love texts. It’s very efficient. — Valerie Naifeh, Naifeh Fine Jewelry, Oklahoma City, OK

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 76 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Do You Or Don't You?

Discounts For Cash Payments? 6 Out of 10 Brain Squad Members Say Yes

Most jewelers will offer at least a small discount for dollars.

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Yes: 60%

  • If cash, the discount can be 4 percent, but usually only offered if the customer keeps insisting on a discount. — Spencer K., Sheridan, WY
  • 3 percent. It’s what I would pay to run a credit card. — Kelly J., Sammamish, WA
  • No matter how low I go on a sale, I always leave 2-4 percent for a credit card. If a client offers cash (or a check), I will give them 1-3 percent off, depending on the item. The credit card companies have created a truly dependent society. Everyone uses them for every purchase. Clients do not even KNOW that there is a fee to the vendor! We receive our 1099 every year from Mastercard/Visa and we could pay another employee a full salary with what we pay them just to accept cards. It’s crazy and nobody even knows! — Mark S., Weymouth, MA
  • Courtesy 10 percent if asked for. — Gordon L., Santa Fe, NM
  • With repeat customers, I like to offer them a discount as an incentive to keep coming back. — James S., McMinnville, TN
  • Usually 10-15 percent, if at all. Not too often, but some customers are insistent, and it’s not usually the millennials. — Cathy M., Austin, TX
  • If they ask, I’ll give them up to 20 percent off of in-case items, never any discount for custom or repairs. — David P., Durham, NC
  • Depends on how often the customer buys from me and how long I’ve had the piece. Maybe 30 percent off. I have a month-long clearance in September, which most of my customers wait for. — Laura P., St. Robert, MO
  • 2-5 percent. I’d rather give it to my customers than the credit card company. — David E., Tacoma, WA
  • I offer my credit card discount if someone is haggling and only for dollars. A check will not do. — Paula D., Asheville, NC
  • When someone negotiates in cash, I am happy to offer them the 3 percent discount for what it would cost me in credit card fees. However, I always respond to them by saying, “I look terrible in orange” (meaning going to jail in an orange jumpsuit), and we pause and chuckle a moment, and then I further explain that I will still be giving you a receipt for this purchase, on which I will need to include sales tax. Reminding them that sales tax is “collected” for our state … and I am obligated to collect it. It is NOT my money. Most of the time, they understand and are grateful for the additional 3 percent. — Rita W., Rocky Mount, NC
  • 20-30 percent. No choice. Everything is available everywhere for cheaper. — Christopher S., Plainview, NY
  • The discount depends when I purchased the item and at what gold market I paid. Some items will get a 30-35 percent savings. — Anonymous

No: 40%

  • The customers who are offering cash are usually expecting big discounts for cash, and that is not our business model. It all goes in the register and on the books, so our savings are less than 2 percent, so they usually plunk down a card. — Alan L., Cape May, NJ
  • We stick with one price for everyone … cash, charge, rich or poor, frequent flier or new customer. Our egalitarian mindset may cost us a sale every so often, but in the long run, our clients have learned that we are not desperate and that they receive the best value. “You can get money anywhere, but this one-of-a-kind piece … only here. Sorry, we don’t discount.” — Steven W., Chatham, MA
  • In order to offer a discount, you need to add dollars to the price up front. When you do this, where do you stop and who do you offer this to? It is kinda like a stripper: they have to put on the garments before they can remove them. I know that this comparison is crude, but think about it and determine what kind of business person you want to be. My pricing scheme is to charge all customers the same and not play favorites. I know that I lose some customers because I don’t give discounts, but I have very loyal customers that would abandon me if I were to offer discounts. If you explain that you price your product correctly to start with, most customers understand. — Ed M., Brainerd, MN
  • Never. Our credit card merchant agreements state that it is against the contracts to offer a discount for a payment that is other than having the customer use the respective credit card. Additionally, our bank charges our company a cash handling charge and we have to fill out a lot of paperwork when people pay with cash. Bottom line: the price is what it is. — Andrea R., El Dorado Hills, CA

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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Do You Or Don't You?

7 Out Of 10 Jewelers Surveyed Will Do House Calls

Those that won’t cite security concerns.

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Yes: 70%

  • I will go see my existing clients with whom I have a relationship or have them come to my home office. I recently moved from one suburb to another. I feel it’s not fair making my old clients drive an extra half-hour to my new location, so I give them the option of having me come to them or coming to my home, which is near my old location. — Shahraz Kassam, Shamin Diamonds, Surrey, BC
  • My most recent was a trip to a doctor’s office to adjust eight watches that were purchased for Christmas for all the nurses. — Jim Wolf, James Wolf Jewelers, Mason, OH
  • Limited occasions, rarely for the sake of financial gain but more of a “do into others” good karma situation. Usually, it’s delivery of a completed item to an overwhelmed, homebound or otherwise in-need person. Recently, we delivered a chain repair to a woman whose homebound hospice patient husband broke his cross chain. We fixed and delivered it for free because it was right. I’d never her seen her before, but I couldn’t take her money. — Heather Wahl, R.C. Wahl Jewelers, Des Plaines, IL
  • If the sale calls for it and is going to close but requires something extra. If delivering a ring means the engagement is going to happen on time and we’re going to get the sale, I am going to do it. I don’t mind taking a ride to make sure my customers are happy! — Evan Silbert, Thurber Jewelers, Elk River, MN
  • I’m a private jeweler, so this is the norm for me. Businesspeople and people in the country music business that have very full schedules. Disclaimer, though, is I do have to know them or have vetted them very well. — Ben Brantley, Ben Brantley & Co., Shelbyville, TN
  • We have gone to people’s homes to deliver a gift as a surprise. We have gone to people’s care homes to cut a ring off because they won’t come off naturally. We’ve even delivered reports to people at work if they cannot leave during their work day! — Mary Jo Chanski, Hannoush Jewelers, Rutland, VT
  • All the time. Home, office, golf course or bar — delivering something nice or bringing a few options for someone to choose from is thrilling to me. It’s something my good customers love and tell people about; sometimes I end up serving the whole office. — Ray Lantz, The Diamond Center, Claremont, CA
  • We will make house calls anytime. I just did one last diamond ring for one of my favorite and best clients. He was deteriorating rapidly and needed me to come to his house. What a privilege to help someone’s legacy live on through a token of love! — Natasha Henderson, Saxon’s Fine Jewelers, Bend, OR
  • I have a customer waiting for me to come over and go through her jewelry so she and her husband can decide who to leave pieces for between her nieces and nephews. She is not in shape to come in. I have taken loose diamonds and complete rings and wedding sets to ladies in the hospital before and made sales on them all! — Cindy Fuller, Fuller Designs, Poplar Bluff, MO
  • I do a lot of probate work, and it is much easier on the families to have the sorting and appraisal prep work done in a more comfortable setting. It also saves time and return trips. Quite often, people become emotional when handling the deceased’s jewelry, and it helps if they are at home. — Jim Doggett, Doggett Jewelry, Kingston, NH
  • I have a customer who has ALS. He has been with us since we opened 14 years ago. He is not able to make it to the store since he is confined to a wheelchair. It’s easy because his wife and I have the same taste in jewelry. I bring 4-5 things and he picks one. I wrap it in our fancy bags. She calls every time and thanks me, and it makes my whole month just to see her happy for that brief moment. That’s what it is all about for me. — Karen Hollis, K. Hollis Jewelers, Batavia, IL
  • To make personal custom design appointments using a laptop and Countersketch. To assess a client’s jewelry inventory for storage options, which provides a great way to see their entire collection of jewelry and wardrobe so you’ll know their style preferences in the future. — Jessica Rossomme, Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry, Peachtree City, GA

No: 30%

  • Never requested. We have been open for 62 years and have an aging customer base that may need assistance. I’m sure if requested by a repeat customer for some very important reason, we would make that call. — Toni Kinder, Farr’s Jewelry, Ogden, UT
  • Rarely and only if customer is physically challenged. — Sam F. Edwards, Sam Edwards Jewelers, Chattanooga, TN
  • If we were really sucking wind, I would start to do so. Fortunately, we have not had to do so. — Joseph Villarreal, Villarreal Fine Jewelers, Austin, TX
  • I used to, way back, but have no time now. Also, my store has a special ambiance, which sustains our image as creative designers; showing jewelry elsewhere robs it of the magic. — Eve J. Alfille, Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, Evanston, IL
  • Afraid of robbery. — Alexander Rysman, Romm Diamonds, Brockton, MA
  • Too high a risk factor. What’s the point of having a store if you make house calls? The store is a much more secure and comfortable environment. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA
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Do You Or Don't You?

Only 31% of Surveyed Jewelers Have a Structured Onboarding Program for New Employees

Most feel they are too small to bother with it.

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Yes: 31%

  • I’ve had a general manager for the first time the last two years and I also have a sales manager. They now take all new staff through a training program, but I don’t think it’s what it needs to be. It doesn’t include the history of our company, our philosophy, values, or the “why” we do what we do — it’s more nuts and bolts, like, “Here’s how you write up a repair, enter a sale, here’s where the bathrooms are, here’s how you read up on the brands we carry, etc.” — Valerie Naifeh, Naifeh Fine Jewelry, Oklahoma City, OK
  • The first couple of days are spent reading and learning our policies and procedures. From there, a lot of shadowing and online training; we need to break bad habits. — Tom Schowalter, Miner’s Den Jewelers, Royal Oak, MI
  • I wrote two booklets to help new employees. One was a day-by-day training (to be conducted with an existing staff member). The other is about a hundred questions that I want them to learn (what’s the difference between 14K and 18K gold, pros and cons of platinum heads, what the danger code word is and what to do, etc.). — Peter Tims, White Mountain Jewelers, Show Low, AZ
  • We have a training manual and I ask each existing staff member to choose areas of expertise to train the new staffer. I include my entire staff in training a new member. This gives each of them time to get to know the new person and creates a sense of community. — Kristin Cornwell, Cornwell Jewelers, Athens, OH
  • My daughter manages one-on-one training and is good at recognizing and promoting specific talents. She has created a manual and chore lists, and empowered new hires to improve them. — Eve J. Alfille, Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, Evanston, IL
  • We use 10-day training checklists followed over time by multiple two-hour courses on different topics. — Robert Borneman, Diamond Jewelers, Centereach, NY
  • New hires are to work behind the scenes and shadow for one month. During that time, we drill on how we gather information, make wish list entries, take in guidelines, layaway, etc. Then on weeks five and six, they are allowed to engage customers. Time flies and everyone bemoans the first month, and THEN I hear: “Wow! This system take so long to learn. There are so many rules. We have a lot of customers; how can you remember everyone’s name? How am I supposed to do a complicated return and smile?” — Denise Oros, Linnea Jewelers, La Grange, IL
  • New staff participate in our morning meeting every day for 30 minutes, going over new product, new policies, new pricing, role play and the daily challenge. New staff are not allowed on the floor for two weeks, then we place them on a staged pricing routine starting with showing products under $500. When we see how this is handled, we increase to $ 1,000, and so on. — Ragnar Bertelsen, Ragnar Jewellers, Vancouver, BC
  • The store manual covers everything. It’s great reading for insomniacs. — Bill Elliott, Ross Elliott Jewelers, Terre Haute, IN

No: 47%

  • There is never enough time to structure and enforce it properly. — Dorothy Vodicka, The Gem Collection, Tallahassee, FL
  • Our turnover has been low, but now that is changing. I will need to develop one for the new people I have to find and hire. — John Hayes, Goodman’s Jewelers, Madison, WI
  • We’re family run, so it’s more “trial by fire” when we have someone come in. — Wadeana Beveridge, Community Jewelry, Brandon, FL
  • Working on one. Just brought on new employee this week. Some protocol but not written in stone, let alone on paper. — Michael Cook, Walter J. Cook Jeweler, Paoli, PA
  • I’m not a corporation, nor do I want my new employees to feel that way. We train the way we want to train and it’s different every single time. It really just depends on the person and how they learn best. — Marcus Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

Continue Reading

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