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Eileen McClelland

Tips on Training Staff and Polishing Your Customer Service Skills

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Continuing with my holiday theme, here are a few tips to keep in mind when training staff and polishing your customer service skills (while you still have a little time.)

STAY IN TOUCH. If a woman says she’ll have to think about it and walks out of the store, she probably means it, says Bridget Brennan, author of WHY SHE BUYS. Men often believe this is code for “I’m not interested,” but women put a lot of pressure on themselves to get a purchase right. Most likely, they will be impressed if you actually contact them to follow up. Women want to buy from someone who values their business.

CHECK UP ON PHONE MANNERS. Blogger Kare Anderson (www.sayitbetter.com) says the four most frequent complaints Americans have about clerks with whom they speak by phone are that they: Speak too fast, don’t enunciate clearly, don’t sound like they care and don’t propose ways to solve a problem. Agree on the exact greeting and tone of voice for answering your store phone. In a chain of Italian clothing stores, clerks are asked to listen to audiotapes of melodic, rich male and female voices, saying the greetings that the store owner believes most represents the signature style of the store. Practice with each other until you are proud of what you hear.

ADVERTISE EVERY DAY, says Bruce Freshley of Freshley Media, in order to dominate your market. Pick one medium and own it. “To the average customer, all jewelers are pretty much the same,” Freshley says. “Change the way they think, and you can change the way they spend money. If you are not top of mind you are out of the mind. You do not exist.” Local radio is still very viable for young adults ages 25 to 34 years old with music and connection to the local scene being the key factors.

SET UP A GENIUS JEWELER BAR. Daniel Pink, author of DRIVE, suggests a jewelry store version of the Apple Store Genius Bar. “Clueless customers — guys like me who don’t know their amethyst from their elbow — would flock to ask questions of your jewelry genius,” Pink says.

MAKE YOUR WEBSITE WORK. Your website has to be cool enough to keep a 27-year-old engaged for hours but simple enough for a 50 or 60-year-old to use. “Most websites suck,” says sales consultant Shane Decker. “Some of them are five or 10 years old. You get a 27-year-old research junkie online, thinking ‘Moses designed that page! I’m not going into that store.’ Put a virtual diamond inventory and a ring builder on the Web page so a bride can go to your site at 9 p.m., design her own ring and go to the jeweler the next day and say, ‘Can you make this?’ And you can say, ‘Yes, I can!’”

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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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