Jewellery Retail: The Dissatisfied Customer Part III

The best way to deal with customerdissatisfaction is to prevent it from happening in the first place but that is not always possible.  A retail jewellery store needs to be prepared for customer service concerns by establishing sound policies, proper paperwork, and training of all staff.

Every jewellery store needs to have a customer service manual.  This manual should contain your product return policies and step-by-step procedures for handling and customer correspondence or complaints.

Your return policy needs to define what may be returned and for what reasons.  Some stores will only allow returns on defective items while others offer a “No questions asked” return privilege. Be sure to set a time limit.  Returns by mail may require an authorization or the package will be refused.  You may wish to have a “restocking fee” to cover any cleaning or polishing needed to get the item ready for the showcase. These are decisions that are up to the individual store, but no matter what your policies may be…write them down in a manual.

Your sales receipts need to reflect your return policy.  Many stores print the entire return policy on the back of the receipt.  If your policy is “All sales final”, make sure it is prominent on the front of the receipt.  Any exceptions to the policy should also be written on the front of the receipt.  Have your customer sign all receipts.

Many credit cards will not honour your store’s no-return policy unless it is clearly written on the receipt, the credit card slip and displayed as signage at the check-out counter.  Otherwise, the credit card company can issue a chargeback and force the return.  Check with your credit card processor to be sure, but you want to be in control of this policy if possible.

What is your return policy?

What is your return policy?

Training your sales staff in product knowledge and proper disclosure will go a long way toward preventing future problems.  They also need to be trained on how to handle the dissatisfied customer.  You may want to train one person to specialize in customer service or you may want the person who sold the item to be responsible for their customer.  They need to know your return policies and procedures and if they are authorized to make any exceptions. They should always strive for customer satisfaction with the ultimate goal of retaining that customer’s future business.

Customer dissatisfaction is just a normal part of retail life, but more importantly, it is your opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism and concern for your client.  This is the point that you either gain a customer for life or lose them forever.  In these last few articles I’ve only touched on the basics of a proper customer service system.  It takes a lot of thought, planning and hard work to create a good system.  You may even want to hire a consultant to help establish your policies, procedures and training.  It is one of the most important things you can do for your business.

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