Editor’s View: “Would you shop in your store?”

Every month I have the privilege of visiting some of the most amazing and innovative jewellery shops in the UK.

Up and down the country, so many jewellery retailers are leading the way in customer service and engagement, and I often leave impressed and inspired by the work I’ve seen on the shop floor and behind the scenes.

But I also occasionally encounter stores where what I observe when I first walk in and wait for the managing director or owner does not match up with what they then tell me about their staff, service and ethos. In fact, I think some managing directors would be quite horrified if they knew what I sometimes witness upon entering their store.

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Of course, everyone can have an off day and I don’t always know the full picture of the situation I’ve walked into, but I know from speaking with sales agents that the issue of whether a retailer’s mission statement is truly aligned with all parts of its business is something they think about too.

On that note, it got me contemplating the following question: would you shop in your store?

Sometimes a brand or a retailer can have every intention to provide excellent customer service and an unrivalled experience, but how certain can you be that this is really happening 9-5 in your business?

The sentences I have heard uttered while visiting jewellery shops around the country include: ‘Yes, we do have men’s chains but I am afraid they start at £99’; ‘no, your repair hasn’t come back in yet and I have no idea where it is’; ‘we don’t stock Pandora we just have a cheaper version’. Similar things are undoubtedly heard in other retail-led industries and while they are not exactly the crimes of the century, they do illustrate the importance of training and ensuring staff are on message.

It’s the small things communicated with little enthusiasm and an apparent unwillingness to help that can cause the biggest damage. I am sure we have all visited stores where you have not been greeted by a happy smile or where staff carry on having a conversation rather than acknowledge your presence.

As I said, the successful, innovative customer-focused retailers I meet completely outweigh those that could be doing certain things better, but as market competition and challenges continue to heat up, it is vital that retailers leave no stone unturned when it comes to making sure that customers feel valued, receive accurate information and get the support they want.

If not, there will always be another jeweller up the road or around the corner that is willing to offer all that.

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