Timepieces:Education & Repair
Some of your best repair work may arrive from surprising sources -
If you regularly turn away customers who ask about watch battery or strap
changes, you're handing your profits to another store.
So say retailers nationwide who enjoy turning referred watch repair traffic
into high-margin sales. "Mall stores send us customers, and we take
advantage of the traffic to create new customers," says Tom Schomaker,
a master watchmaker at William Effler Jewelers, Cincinnati, OH.
Mass merchants and department stores that sell watches but don't employ
a repair person often refer repairs to local jewelers - even if it's
not stated company policy.
Dan Gendron of Dan Gendron Horology, Grant's Pass, OR, suggests jewelers
solicit this business from department stores and mass merchants. The manager
may welcome a reliable repair source rather than take on what may be seen
as risky or time-consuming jobs.
Earn Their Confidence
Schomaker says his repair department now turns a profit where it didn't
in the past. The reasons: He made a few changes that emphasize the advantages
of a full-service jewelry retailer. "I'm now right up front where customers
see me," he says. This lets customers know immediately the store does
repairs, leading to repeat business. "And if you can offer battery-change-while-you-wait
service, often the customer will buy something else also," he says.
Not all jewelers can offer such quick turnaround times. However, Schomaker
and Gendron suggest retail jewelers still can take full advantage of watch
repair traffic - referred or otherwise - with the basic tips that follow:
- Price repairs appropriately. A price too low invites unwanted comparison
with retail outlets with less expertise. Furthermore, very low prices can
attract owners of watches that cost less than a battery replacement - watches
you don't carry. "You're not likely to earn new business from these
consumers," says Gendron.
- you have no watchmaker, locate a good service firm and use overnight
- Train your clerks to handle repair intake properly.
- Offer your staff battery replacement lessons. Contact your supplier
for videotapes or charts that provide lessons.
- Ditto for bracelet and strap replacement. Distributors are an excellent
source of training information
- Advertise your services.
- Build from an initial request. Many customers may be interested in
a new strap or a new crystal.
- Be sure your customer is aware of any special repair services for watches
they buy in your store. Do you extend the manufacturer's warranty on watches?
Do you offer annual inspections with each watch purchase?
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.