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Monitor Yourself to Improve Performance and More Tips for June

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Are Your KPIs Helping or Hurting?

It’s pretty much impossible to manage a business without key performance indicators (KPIs). You need do to be sure, however, these numerical targets aren’t hurting your business. Contrarian shoe retailer Zappos rewards employees for spending more time with customers who phone in with questions, as opposed to hailing service agents churn who through a high number of calls. “For Zappos, customer experience on a call trumps any simple metric that may actually detract from profitability,” notes a column on the BBC’s business site (bbc.com/capital).

The importance of saying 'I don't know'

Sometimes you just gotta say, “I don’t know”.

Try Ignorance

Want to make better business decisions? Learn to say “I don’t know” more often, recommends Freakonomics author Stephen Dubner in his latest book, Retrain Your Brain. “I understand the need for ego preservation but it’s hard to learn anything if you pretend you already know the answer,” he says. Once you admit you don’t know the solution to a problem, you can start testing new ideas and gathering feedback, he says.

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Mission Control

Most mission statements aren’t written to inspire, they’re written to remove an item from a to-do list. End result? They all sound the same: bland and cliché-ridden. “A powerful statement forces the reader to choose between two sides of a line drawn in the sand,” says advertising guru Roy Williams. “Rare is that business owner who has the courage to craft a mission statement that effectively asks the reader, ‘So are you in, or are you out?’”

Hometown Jeweler

Think of yourself as a hometown jeweler? A good litmus test is if you accept repair jobs while shopping at your local grocery store. Karen Burke of Burkes Fine Jewelers of Kilmarnock, VA does. “In the Northern Neck, everyone knows everyone. We know everyone and they know us.” Sounds like a great community jeweler.

The danger of diamond grade inflation

Diamond grade inflation can put a jeweler at risk.

Appraiser Beware

Perhaps the real curse of diamond grade inflation is that it can come back to bite an innocent jeweler at anytime. Jeff Bong, of Bong’s Jewelers in Corning, NY, noted that a customer recently brought in a 2.02-carat princess cut diamond for an appraisal that had been certified by a non-American lab as an E-F color, SI-1 clarity with a value of $18,000. Bong rated the stone no better than a poor I-2 with an I-J color and put the value at closer to $5,000. He declined to accept the appraisal job. “If I had taken the stone, I could have been accused of stone switching,” he said. “It seems that more and more we retailers need to be on guard to protect ourselves.”

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In the Name of Personalization

Stars, ships, great diamonds … Rock Hard Designs, Pensacola, FL, follows a fine tradition by naming each of its custom pieces after the person for whom it was designed. The store encourages clients to write their names or initials in their actual script, so they can incorporate it into the design, such as under the gallery of a ring, to further personalize it.

Gem Club Layaway

The holiday season can make or break a jeweler’s year so it makes sense to prime customers long before Christmas arrives. Chisholm’s Jewelry in Lander, WY, does that with its innovative Gem Club, which owner Eric Olsen describes as “like a Christmas account at the bank only we don’t pay any interest.” Customers who sign up make $5 weekly payments to the fund, which can be used to buy goods at Chisholm’s when the holidays arrive. To build excitement, the store holds weekly drawings for a chance to win $95 of in-store credit, as well as offering exclusive savings to Club members.

Event-Driven SEO

Updates to Google’s search algorithm in recent years have forced marketers to “earn” better rankings through legitimate local activities, and one of the best ways to do this is hosting — and aggressively publicizing — an event, says Casey Meraz, founder of Ethical SEO Consulting. In a post (instr.us/3152) on his Moz Blog, he noted events allow you to earn “a ton of high quality links, get news mentions, as well as citations on locally relevant websites such as review and calendar sites that will dramatically boost your organic rankings.”

No Mere Ultrasonic

Look at your ultrasonic and see a rather dreary utilitarian device? Perhaps you’re not looking hard enough. Forest Beach Designer-Goldsmiths in Chatham, MA, created the Jewelry Spa, a designated cleaning and steaming station with a partition to catch the associated splatter. “It is the only Jewelry Spa I have heard of,” says owner Steve Wardle.

 

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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Wilkerson Helped This Jeweler to Navigate His Retirement Sale Despite a Pandemic

Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

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