For Your Staff: Selling Timepieces
But I Just Got This Watch!
It's return season. Here's how to keep your customer happy
The post-holiday season always brings highs and lows for retail
jewelers. The highs? Finishing a productive and profitable sales
period helping countless customers take home something special
for the holidays.
The lows? You're tired and need some well-deserved rest. It's
good to rest, but don't let down your guard when it comes to
following up on all those holiday sales. Some customers will
be back this month with returns and exchanges.
Regular returns and exchanges are straightforward. But what
if someone brings you a new watch that fails to operate or keep
time correctly? How you handle this customer, whether the return
is made this month or in three months, will have a long-term
impact on your relationship.
Take Care of the Customer
Going "by the book" is usually a good idea. Presumably
you have a return-and-exchange policy that's clearly written
and understood by employees and customers.
What should your policy be regarding watches under a manufacturer's
warranty? Simply put: Place a working one on the customer's wrist
as soon as possible. But this can be a complex challenge and
depends on several factors.
First, give the manufacturer the clear opportunity to make
good under whatever warranty provisions exist. Immediately send
the watch to the manufacturer with the appropriate receipts and
completed warranty cards.
This can take several weeks, and some customers will be patient
with that amount of time. It helps if you've done a good job
explaining the warranty and if you have a decent watch to lend
while the customer's new one is being repaired.
However, not every customer will be so reasonable. And it's
easy to understand why. Imagine you just received a fine watch
and it failed to perform properly. Maybe it was just a bad battery
or old inventory you didn't keep tabs on. Perhaps there's a more
serious problem with the movement or a defective bracelet. Regardless,
if your customer lost faith in the watch, he or she may demand
a new one rather than a repair.
Watch or Wearer Problem?
Before replacing a watch, make a gentle and caring diagnosis.
Carefully review with the customer his or her wearing habits.
Find out if the customer understands how to operate the new watch
correctly. Perhaps the sales associate didn't explain automatic
movements or screw-down crowns correctly.
Your goal is to discover whether the problem exists with the
watch or with the wearer. It's vital to do this in a consultative,
non-condescending manner. Ask probing but friendly questions.
Customers don't want to be treated as if they're dense. Remember,
it's their watch but your problem to resolve.
Next Month: Avoiding Return Pitfalls
By Paul White, Watch Division Director, Reis-Nichols
Jewelers, Indianapolis, IN
Each month Paul White fills this column with sales tips for
retailers who want to sell more watches. If you have suggestions
for topics, questions for Paul or specific examples from your
store, send them to Professional Jeweler, 1500 Walnut St., Suite
1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.