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3 Things to Do When You’re About to Disappoint a Jewelry Customer

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It was 9:45 a.m. on a Monday. The large order I had placed for an excellent customer was still at the plant. A shipping error had potentially cost me many thousands of dollars. Worse still, I’d have to sheepishly break the news to our customer, whose celebration was that day.

How many of us have been in a situation like this, one where we felt utterly helpless? Facing the customer – and his or her disappointment – may be the worst part.

Thankfully, these situations don’t happen often. But when they do, here are three key steps to take for the best possible outcome:

  • Expect an objection from the customer. The customer trusted you to take care of things and for whatever reason – your fault or not – it didn’t get done. When we get defensive, it actually makes us more rooted in our opinion and less likely to see things from their point of view. In sales, our entire job is about seeing things from the customer’s point of view. So anticipate the blow.
  • Review the customer’s initial problem and situation. I’m not talking about the current problem. Why did the client come to you in the first place? Perhaps it was to get help celebrating an anniversary or saying “I love you forever” to someone special. Remembering this can help you settle the current dilemma a lot quicker.
  • Present a solution – a “way out” that helps solve the initial problem – and shut up. The customer might let you have it. Develop some grit and just take it. Then let the client decide what to do next.

So my customer’s big day had arrived and the product had not. With the help of my team, we found an alternative piece (at a better price) and role-played the conversation.

“I am sorry that the ball has been dropped,” I said to the customer. “We can get it in by tomorrow, or we have a comparable piece here in-store. Tell me what we need to do to make it right.”

Sure, he was upset, but after some back and forth I decided to follow his lead. Later that day, he walked out of the store a happy man. All he wanted was a gorgeous piece to show her how much she meant to him. It was our job to help him find the right way to show her.

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These situations don’t always end on a happy note, but calmer heads will generally prevail. Expect the objection, review the customer’s initial problem, present a solution. Then follow the client’s lead.

Oh, and above all, be honest and sincere. The most important thing you can sell is your integrity and that, friends, is worth more than any diamond in your store.

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