Customer dillema

Well, it’s easy to get offended by these questions. We’ve all gotten
them. But understand that the customer doesn’t know any better. When
I take my car for repairs to the muffler, I’ve got no way to judge
whether the shop is any good, or a bunch of hacks. New customers for
my jewelry work also have no real way to judge my competence either,
especially since it’s a field they don’t really understand, and can’t
quite judge.

Here’s what I do. First, with a microscope if you’ve got one, or at
least a loupe if you don’t fully explain to the customer the
characteristics of their larger diamonds. Show them the flaws. Draw
a little diagram of them. Measure the stones, and write down the
measurements. If you’re able to color grade the stone, do so. This
way, they’ve got the info needed to identify their diamonds. And when
the job is done, you’ll also take the time to again show them their
stones, now remounted, so the customer can be reassured that these
are still their stones.

But you can explain that your shop is not set up for customers to
stand over your shoulder. There are (or can suddenly be…) insurance
restrictions against that due to security concerns. Explain that your
insurance might be invalid in the case of an accident were she there,
or that she’s not covered, nor you either, when she’s in your shop.
Explain too, and this is just plain the truth, that having someone
look over your shoulder makes you nervous, that these jobs often take
a bit more time than she realizes to do well, and neither situation is
something she would wish to impose, since to do the job well for her,
you neither wish to be rushed or nervous. right? As to the issue of
trust, well, you simply have to assure her that you’re trustworthy.
You build your business on trust and repeat business. You don’t build
it on stealing customers stones. And point out to her that though she
may not have intended it that way, her statement could, were you the
sensitive type, be construed as highly insulting, and that some
jewelers would suggest you indignantly throw her out of your shop for
suggesting that you’re a thief. Explain to her that while such
horror stories aren’t unknown, they are far more rare than people
believe, and usually involve not intentional theft by a known
craftsman, but rather some nameless “job shop” where the
retailer/jewelry doesn’t know who’s actually doing the work, nor do
the craftspeople know or care about the customer. Even there this
type of this is very very rare indeed. And as often as not, it’s not
actually theft, as she fears, but some accidental damage to the stone
that’s not been honestly owned up to, or perhaps a jeweler broke a
stone and replaced it, without properly involving the customer in this
unfortunate event. These things shouldn’t happen, but do, and you can
explain that you understand her resulting fears. But explain too, how
you’d handle any of those accidental events, and that you simply are
not comfortable with her sitting right there in your shop. It’s a
distraction, a safety risk (lots of things in the studio are not safe
for the uninformed), and frankly, just as much a security risk for you
to let her into your shop as she feels she’s got in trusting her
stones to you. If you are comfortable in working within tight time
limits, say setting her stones in a hour while she waits, then you can
make an appointment to have her bring in her stone, and wait in your
showroom or a nearby coffee house or whatever, while you complete the
work, meeting you back in an hour, or whenever you’ve agreed upon.
Explained this way, I’ve had very few customers not agree that my way
is the best, all around. They need their fears addressed, but this
doesn’t mean you have to let them push you around. You may, still, in
some cases, be faced with a customer that won’t take no for an answer.
In that case you can either reluctantly agree to let them watch, or
you can make the mounting, give it to them unset, and tell them to
take it to someone they trust, or who WILL allow them to watch, or you
can turn down the job. Sometimes, it’s best to do the latter if
you’ve got a customer so untrusting of your skills and integrity,
since these may be the ones who’ll be just looking for any excuse to
give you grief later. Like coming back four years later with a
chipped stone and claiming that obviously it’s due to the way you set
it… Who needs these types… I don’t. And I’d bet you don’t

Peter Rowe

Perhaps use a flat bed scanner for detailed pictures of the jewelry
- there should be archived Orchid posts on the use of flat bed
scanners for jewelry. 

A further idea occurred to me.

When using a flat bed scanner place the jewelry item on a
transparency that has a “ghost outline” image of your business logo,
name or any other identifying mark. It will be hard to digitally
alter this security mark. At the same time it advertises your
business. The transparency also protects the scanner’s glass from
being scratched.

I am not a jeweler or a scientist but would a transparency with a
polarizing layer, diffraction lines or a holographic pattern be able
to impart distinctive or unique light scattering pattern. Most gems
are regular crystals and if the scanner light source is non random
some interesting and uniquely identifying images may result.

I will be very interested in the results of your experiments.

Kelvin Mok (@Kelvin_Mok1)
Home: (780) 463-4099 | Home FAX: (780) 430-7120