• Small town, I will always take the hit. I don’t want them to tell their friends. — Diana Smires, Diana Smires Jewelry, Columbus, NJ

  • I’ve grown a stronger spine in the last 20 years and have learned how to smile sweetly and not give the store away and still make the customer feel appreciated (but: we don’t remove watch links for free anymore, we don’t discount at the first demand anymore, we don’t let people walk out of the store with merchandise in hand and not pay up front anymore).— Erika Godfrey, Hawthorne Jewelry, Kearney, NE
  • In my youth, I let fear guide me and I always gave in to the customer. As I’ve aged and have less debt, I let the situation and temperament of the customer dictate how I respond. — Steve Floyd, Floyd & Green, Aiken, SC
  • I will always do my best for my client. But there is a line you have to draw very gently in the sand. Years ago, a client refused to pay for a very large appraisal assignment. I held my ground, got sued and countersued for payment. I was the first appraiser to file a lien in the state of Hawaii (and the USA) and it set a precedent for other personal property appraisers. I am still glad I dug my heels in and was eventually paid. Pick your battles and know when you are right. — Brenda Reichel, Carats & Karats Fine Jewelry, Honolulu, HI
  • I feel that the long-term relationship is more important, but not to the extent that we ever go below cost plus 10 percent. — John Hayes, Goodman’s Jewelers, Madison, WI
  • With Google reviews the way they are, we go out of our way to keep people happy. — Mike Doland, Doland Jewelers, Dubuque, IA
  • Really far. I do this to a fault, arguably (and what I’ve found is that, unfortunately, it’s usually the customers that you bend over backwards for who bite you in the ass. “No good deed goes unpunished” and all that jazz.) — Jennifer Hornik Johnson, Miller’s Jewelry, Bozeman, MT
  • What will always distinguish us from the many businesses competing for the dollar is that most of the staff is empowered to do what they feel is right with a particular customer at that moment in time, regardless of the bottom line. Since approximately 1955, we have outlasted nine different competitors. — Dale Thompson, Ken K. Thompson Jewelry, Bemidji, MN
  • To the point of being rational. — Annette Kinzie, Leonard Jewelry, Stillwater, OK
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  • It’s OK to make money. It’s OK to fire a customer. It’s OK that someone “threatens” to leave you as a customer. Let them. — Jonathan McCoy, McCoy Jewelers, Dubuque, IA
  • We have built our reputation on customer satisfaction. We go the distance. What is the value of your reputation? — Tonia Ulsh, Mountz Jewelers, Camp Hill, PA
  • I have taken severe hits when it was not the customer’s fault. I now have a written agreement for suppliers that backs their product as I back it. No agreement, no business. — Newton Starnes, Newtons Fine Jewelry, Flowood, MS
  • My preference is to keep them happy and let them come back for something else in the future. Sugar is repeated to five people, sour is repeated to 50. — Garry Zimmerman, Windy City Diamonds, Chicago, IL
  • The customer is always right! Usually. — Charles Hood, C.B. Hood Diamond Co., Santa Maria, CA

This article originally appeared in the March 2018 edition of INSTORE.

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