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Jewelers Hone Clienteling Skills in Challenging Times

Here’s how to stay in touch with your best customers.

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IT’S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE to reach out and give clients a hug or even a handshake this summer. But jewelers have found a variety of ways to show their best customers how much they care while also letting them know they’re still around.

“The more you can take exquisite care of existing clients, the more successful you will be,” says branding expert Kathleen Cutler. “People are buying from people they have a previous relationship with, so commit to your best clients. Connect with the top 20 percent. Remember, your best clients are the ones you have.”

Start with a text or an email, says Cutler, with a gentle, “How are you? Loved the last piece you bought.” Use that as a point of connection. If clients respond to your email, you can glean some information about what their personal situation is and what they might need from you. If they do respond positively, invite them in for an appointment or a virtual meeting to show them a few selected pieces. Let them know you are thinking of them as an individual.

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Whatever you do, make an impression. ”Most jewelers tell me that their social media when combined with direct mail gets a much better response if the message/offer is compelling,” says James Porte of Porte Marketing Group. “The fact that there is less mail today than 10 years ago means the impact of the direct mail piece is greater, not to mention more people are working from home. Jewelers need to combine a variety of media to ensure their message and story resonates.”

Here are a few ways retail jewelers have reached out to clients in recent months.

deBoulle Care Package

Personal Delivery

Denis and Karen Boulle and family, who own de Boulle jewelry stores in Houston and Dallas, took reaching out a step further by delivering gift bags to clients while the store was closed for six weeks in the spring. “We pulled together some of what our clients enjoy the most,” says Karen Boulle. Baskets were packed with branded pens, baseball caps and bandanas, as well as a de Boulle Motorsport racing bracelet, jewelry cleaner, a handwritten note and cookies made by a local baker. It was all prettily pulled together in a de Boulle gift bag, and delivered while adhering to social-distancing practices. ”There was a lot of driving and dropping off; it was mostly a family effort,” Karen says.

Alara Jelwery card

First-Aid for the Soul

During the spring COVID-19 shutdown, Babs Noelle, owner of Alara Jewelry in Bozeman, MT, reached out to her customers with a card expressing a general “feel better” sentiment, signed by her team. “Real Band-Aids, by the way! For that nice, kitschy, home-made touch,” she says. They sent out about 100 to customers considered friends of the store (regardless of how much they had spent). “A good number of them interacted pretty regularly with us on social media during the shutdown after that, and we did have a few people that came in soon after we opened up and commented on them,” Noelle says.

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Romantique Jewelers marketing

Need Your Hair Done?

Romantique Jewelers in Bridgeton, MO, worked with marketing expert James Porte and teamed up with a local hair salon for a marketing effort focused on a common COVID-19-era dilemma: The delayed haircut. Romantique wanted to let their customers know they were open for business and buying gold. The call to action with this mailing was multifaceted. First: trade your gold for much-needed cash. Second: Use a $50 gift card AND choose a free service from Romantique Jewelers. Third: Spend some of your cash on a cut and color service at the salon and receive a product at half price.

staff of Linnea Jewelers in La Grange,IL

Staying Connected

Denise Oros of Linnea Jewelers in La Grange, IL., wrote emails, posted on Facebook, called individuals, and reached out through postcards and the occasional Constant Contact email blast. One Facebook post congratulated 2020 graduates. “All of this was to inform customers of our current status, any updates that are relevant to that individual, and trying diligently to stay connected on that intimate level we built over the years,” she says.

Vaughan’s Jewelry in Edenton, NC

Everyday Heroes

Valerie Goodwin of Vaughan’s Jewelry in Edenton, NC., set up personal appointments, called about upcoming anniversaries and birthdays, and sent personalized thank-you cards to everyone who shopped with them since they opened back up. She also ran an Everyday Heroes contest to award a teacher and a healthcare professional $50 gift certificates.

Roxbury Jewelry in Los Angeles

Changing the Subject

Jeremy Auslander of Roxbury Jewelry in Los Angeles created and sent emails that had nothing to do with jewelry. “Health and fitness are very important things not to forget and can help physically and mentality during stressful times,” he says. “My home gym created free YouTube videos (www.pro-fit3.com). In addition, my business insurance broker agreed to help my clients with insurance quotes for their personal jewelry.” Roxbury also stayed active on social media, balancing the response with both encouraging and humorous posts.

Barry’s Estate Jewelry in Bardonia, NY

Free Lawn Signs

Barry Fixler of Barry’s Estate Jewelry in Bardonia, NY, whose store is in a small community, kept in touch with the whole community by giving away free lawn signs to honor essential and healthcare workers.

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survival kits from J. Rankin Jewellers in Edmonds, WA

Survival Kit

“We sent out jewelry cleaning pens and notes to tell customers we miss them, and here is something to clean your jewelry at home,” says Meg Rankin of J. Rankin Jewellers in Edmonds, WA. “Also, we are active on social media, chatting with people.” They also included the branded jewelry cleaner in a survival kit project to support a group of small, local businesses.

Thom Duma Fine Jewelers, Warren, OHThom Duma Fine Jewelers lunch for the police

Care Calls

Tom Duma and the team at Thom Duma Fine Jewelers, Warren, OH, called their top 10,000 customers during a seven-week shutdown and also reached out with a reassuring video on Facebook. The calls led to the donations of 1,000 rubber gloves to an ambulance service and deliveries of lunch to some 50 clients. They even paid one customer’s rent. Others asked for prayers. Each caller started out by saying, “This is not a sales call. Just wanted to reach out and see how you are doing during these trying times.” After that, they would allow the customer to drive the conversation. Some were very short conversations and others lasted over 30 minutes. The team was instructed not to bring up jewelry or sales unless the customer drove the question. “Out of the calls we generated over 300 leads that we have been following up since going back to work,” Duma says.

 Krombholz Jewelers in Cincinnati, OH

Joy Bombs

Lee Krombholz of Krombholz Jewelers in Cincinnati, OH, dropped off “joy bombs,” to their top 60 clients. The white box, tied with a ribbon in the store’s bright pink brand color, contained a small bag of cookies from a local bakery, a bottle of Krombholz branded jewelry cleaner and a $25 gift card. “We had a very warm response from all of the clients saying how thoughtful they thought that gesture was,” Krombholz says. The social-media team also effectively narrated what was going on in the store, from shutdown, when they encouraged followers to send in photos of themselves wearing “jewels and jammies,” to an announcement they were offering appointments and curbside pickup, to the full opening, showing staff members all wearing masks.

Sami Fine Jewelry in Fountain Hills, AZ

Toilet Paper Bonus

“During the first month of the crisis, we sent our top 500 clients a longer, handwritten note about appreciating them, along with sending them two toilet paper squares,” says Stephenie Bjorkman of Sami Fine Jewelry in Fountain Hills, AZ. The team also gave away rolls of toilet paper with online orders. When they reopened, Facebook posts showed team members practicing social distancing.

 

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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