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What do customers complain about?


#1

What do customers complain about? What bugs them about your business
and what sort of complaints do they have about your competitors?

If the current hard times last a while, there are going to be some
casualties of businesses that do not survive. Intelligence is one
thing that could make a difference. I think that I know some of the
reasons customers like one jeweler more than another, but our own
faults are sometimes invisible to ourselves. I hope that if we share
our observations and what we have done to correct problems, that this
circle of friends on Orchid are more likely to among the survivors or
even prosper as a result of learning from others mistakes.

Stephen Walker


#2

There are two things I most frequently hear customers say about
other jewelers. Complaints about having to wait too long for repairs
and custom work. Sometimes I get that complaint myself.

The thing that really seems to frost them is when they bring
something in for repair and are told that it is just not worth it.
Apparently some jewelers are just a wee bit too blunt in their
honesty or perhaps too transparent in their snobbery when it comes
to fixing objects of little retail worth. The thing is that sometimes
these things have great sentimental value. Jewelry is an emotional
product. I can’t tell how many customers have been really turned off
by insensitive dismissals of their requests for service. I hear it a
lot about one of my competitors in particular. Some people get very
upset about this. It seems easy enough to choose your words a little
more carefully when you wiggle out of the job, so the customer does
not leave your shop feeling insulted.


#3

if you work on watches or take in watch repair i found that it can
be a huge area of customer complaint because it somtimes takes a
loooong time but isolved the problem mostly by instead of repairing
the movement i toss it and replace it.

ive hardley ever had one that cost more than $12.00 somtimes i’ll
get the odd $50 -$100 one then i charge starting at $35 and up
depending on the movement.

it takes about 15-25 mins on average to do the job - goo


#4
The thing that really seems to frost them is when they bring
something in for repair and are told that it is just not worth it. 

I could not agree more. I am just beginning to take in repairs. There
is one store front jeweler in town, I know he does watch band repairs
because I take him mine; his cases look entirely made up of purchased
items. I only work in silver, so when I need work on the gold jewelry
my dh has given me that goes to a city an hour away where there are
now 2 jewelry stores I trust with my things.

Interestingly, the repairs I am getting are either very nice silver
that the owners don’t feel comfortable leaving with the local guy, or
very cheap costume pieces with emotional value that they know I will
understand. Kind of odd how this has morphed out of my "collecting"
damaged vintage jewelry and re-doing it into new pieces - folks see
this at shows, love it, and figure if I can do that then I can work
on their older pieces too. Not a result I was expecting!

All that said, I know my limitations, and am very quick to tell
folks if they want something done that I don’t feel comfortable
doing. The two jewelers in Florence are very good; one high-end Rolex
type dealer store with a to-die-for bench set up; the other a small
mom and pop shop that has been there for years - does a great job,
but very, very, very, very…you get the idea…slow. Actually that
is where I take my gold to be worked on.

I think for whatever reason folks are not as comfortable taking in
their sentimental but no monetary value pieces to be worked on…
maybe the whole attitude thing mentioned above. Doesn’t bother me,
as long as I feel that I can actually accomplish what is needed. If
it is worth it to them, it works for me! I certainly don’t charge
less because it is “costume” jewelry. My time is the same.

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
http://www.bethwicker.com


http://bethwicker.ganoksin.com/blogs/


#5
The thing is that sometimes these things have great sentimental
value. Jewelry is an emotional product. I can't tell how many
customers have been really turned off by insensitive dismissals of
their requests for service. 

Yep, I’ve experienced this too, as a customer. My husband has a
watch that needs a new band. It’s a nothing watch, I know that, but
it was his father’s and means the world to him. A local jewelry store
was so dismissive, that it ruined my long held good opinion of them.

And I still need a new watch band…

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com


#6
The thing that really seems to frost them is when they bring
something in for repair and are told that it is just not worth it.
Apparently some jewelers are just a wee bit too blunt in their
honesty or perhaps too transparent in their snobbery when it comes
to fixing objects of little retail worth. 

Early in my jewelry career, I told a lady that the tiny 10K chain
she had brought in was not worth repairing. Tears started welling up
in her eyes, and I could tell that I had just crossed some kind of
line. I asked her to tell me about the chain.

She said that her son had given it to her last Mother’s Day. He was
ten years old at the time, and had saved up for weeks to purchase
this special gift for his Mom. The reason she was tearing up, she
explained, was that he had been killed in a car wreck last week only
a few months after he had given it to her. She had really hoped to be
able to keep the chain intact as a keepsake of her lost son, even
though she knew it was extremely fragile and had very little monetary
value.

Needless to say, I took it in the shop and soldered it for her while
she waited, having just learned the most valuable lesson I would ever
learn about the difference between intrinsic value and sentimental
value.

As a result, we have a major rule here – Never, EVER assume you
know the value of something, especially if it’s worthless! Every
piece of jewelry that comes through our door has a story. If
something is valuable enough for someone to take the time to bring it
in to us, it is valuable enough for us to take the time to find out
what the story is behind it. Once you know the story and have
ascertained the true value to the customer, you can give good advice.

Ignore sentimental value at your own risk. It can be far greater
than intrinsic value, and quite often can justify a repair expense
far above what a new replacement piece would cost. If you are
perceived as insulting someone’s cherished 10K 0.75mm serpentine
chain, you will be perceived as insulting them personally - on
several different levels. They will remember that, and will go out of
their way to make sure that everyone they know does too.

Dave


#7

#1 complaint I have heard over the yrs has been wet, leaky watchs.
So… I offer and sell a very large number of back gasket
replacements while changing batteries. Gaskets should be replaced
every couple yrs anyway, to retain water resistance, so nearly every
watch I see is in need. Put a little silicone in the crown too. Gets
an extra 6 bucks on top of the $9 battery charge. Gaskets cost way
less than a buck, in quantity, and takes aprox 1 more minute to sell
and install. Nice margin! And keeps alot of watches dry inside that
wouldnt be otherwise. I have my POS software setup to bleep the
barcoded gasket packages and generate an auto reorder- too nice of a
moneymaker to run out of any sizes. Also, I mark batteries and inside
casebacks with a finetip felt marker with dates of last battery and
gasket change- C/S thinks that you are amazing when you can tell them
exactly how long that battery lasted. Also, many peeps will say ‘that
last battery didnt last very long’ and then you can respond with ‘
that one lasted nearly 2 years’ or however long it was.

Ed


#8
instead of repairing the movement i toss it and replace it.' 

Over the last 20 some yrs, I have done just that, literally thousands
of times, only I didnt throw the old mvmts away. I now have boxes and
bags full of old watch movements, which has proved very useful in
cannabilizing for parts- circuit boards, screws, contacts,
stems,etc… for watchs using now discontinued movements. When noone
else can repair it, having the parts can make you look like a hero
to a c/s. And in addition, I havea few hundred mechanical chime clock
movements that are about to become statuary of a full sized
human(s). Also planning a mosaic of some type with alot of the old
watch movements. Have already done a 4’x4’ mosaic with several lbs of
dead watch batteries, sorted by sizes, but eventually the batteries
started leaking so I scraped them off the board and sold them for
scrap.

Ed


#9
And I still need a new watch band... 

And I bet I have one to fit your needs- just a few hours south of
you in Kokomo, Indiana( about 1 hr N of Indianapolis) Email a pic
(scanned is fine) and I can send you band pics and prices.

Ed


#10

Dear all and every where in Orchidland…:slight_smile:

I went to my local silver ring caster before Christmas and ordered
some items for pick-up after the holidays. Well I discovered a big
mistake in the items that were ordered and in a sealed envelope…my
fault in not checking initially!

I called him back and this owner said that “I was you who made a
mistake in the ordering”. So this afternoon I went to see who made
the mistake…The numbers on the sample board were easily mistaken for
another number “3, instead of a 5”…(hand written, too boot!)

His fantastic reply was…“it was you Gerry, who made the mistake not
me, and make sure you write the numbers down correctly”…this
individual repeated this same response about 5 times in the space of
my 15 minute visit… I informed him on the illegable board
writing…he said…“can’t you see that the numbers were written in
order?” Upon my leaving, he uttered the same juvenile response “don’t
let this happen again” while not even looking at me…I uttered to
myself, this is the last time I’ll be visiting him and his office.

Apparently, I heard later this morning that he has an “attitude
problem”…service with a frown is not conducive to these “tough and
rough times”. There are 4 MORE casters all within a 2 block area of
downtown Toronto…He took himself off of my list of gold/silver
casters…He just threw me away with his **** remarks…Gerry Lewy!


#11
Early in my jewelry career, I told a lady that the tiny 10K chain
she had brought in was not worth repairing. Tears started welling
up in her eyes, 

David’s story is very poignant. My story is when a 95 year old lady
came to me with her pot-metal crown set with glass. I forget the
name of the Lady’s side of the Masons (Sunshine Girls?), but she was
one of them, and high ranking. She was the nicest, sweetest woman
you could ever meet, going to Tennessee for what was obviously her
last annual meeting, and her grandchildren had broken her crown.
Now, I gotta tell you that it looked like it came out of a gigantic
Cracker-Jack box, but I fixed it - even went and bought some gold
paint to cover the repair. Then she left it in the elevator, poor
woman… Eventually she and crown made it to Tennessee…

With that in mind, though, I would hasten to add that you have to
have standards if you’re going to have a business. My story, and
David’s, are both very touching. If my lady hadn’t been so
extraordinary as a person and had the tale that she had, I wouldn’t
have touched the job in a million years. I don’t do costume and I
don’t work silver, not because I’m a snob but because once you open
those gates the whole world comes gushing through. And there is also
such a thing as “beyond repair” which means you can only lose if you
do it anyway. Sometimes you do it and lose or make little and get a
warm glow all over. Sometimes the customer is just pushy and cheap -
sometimes they’re asking a carpenter to do plumbing, and should be
elsewhere to begin with.

But rules are for breaking, and I’m a sucker for a blushing
bride-to-be wanting Grandma’s broken old ring for her own finger,
too.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#12
With that in mind, though, I would hasten to add that you have to
have standards if you're going to have a business. And there is
also such a thing as "beyond repair" which means you can only lose
if you do it anyway. Sometimes you do it and lose or make little
and get a warm glow all over. Sometimes the customer is just pushy
and cheap - sometimes they're asking a carpenter to do plumbing,
and should be elsewhere to begin with. 

I think you can easily refuse work on cheap, nasty and beyond repair
things and still be nice about it. The complaint I am hearing is
mainly about how blunt and downright insensitive this other jeweler
is when he rejects the repair. He seems to imply that the customer is
stupid or has bad taste for even asking.

If this complaint was about me I think the remedy would be to learn
how to ask right up front if there is sentimental value attached to
the piece. And sugar coat what I say when I turn down the job. You
don’t have to be the solution to everyone’s problems if that is
beyond your ability. I know it seems like a waste of precious time
even talking to people about these kinds of hopeless repairs, but it
is really up to you if the disappointed customer leaves your shop
feeling like they were humiliated by an arrogant jerk or if their
disappointment is at least tempered by some sympathy and they leave
feeling like you treated them with respect. Both of these scenarios
are a no sale situation, but it is not in your interest to have
anybody leaving your shop with a bad impression.


#13
Upon my leaving, he uttered the same juvenile response "don't let
this happen again" while not even looking at me..I uttered to
myself, this is the last time I'll be visiting him and his office. 

Consider yourself lucky you found out before there was a chancefor a
larger problem that would cause you more grief.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co


#14

Elaine,

A local jewelry store was so dismissive, that it ruined my long
held good opinion of them.

I was curious about details of how the jewelry store was
"dismissive". Did they carry watch bands, did not have one that fit,
what did you observe in their behavior that constituted
"dismissive"’. I am really confused by how their behavior could ruin
a long held good opinion. I think it would help those of us who deal
with the public to know more detail.

I only work on repairing gold watches that need soldering to repair
breaks, no work on movements, batteries, or bands. I have had
customers come with watches that needed new bands that would not be
able to find anything anywhere because the band was manufactured as
part of the design of the watch and it would be impossible to find a
replacement.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#15

Some other things I have heard customers complain about are:

Stones that fall out of new work or recent repairs.

Being ignored by sales staff when someone who looks more prosperous
is also in the store.

Being charged for repairs or sizing by the same jeweler that sold
the piece when the sale is less than a few months old.

Stores that are not open during their advertised hours.


#16
I think you can easily refuse work on cheap, nasty and beyond
repair things and still be nice about it. The complaint I am
hearing is mainly about how blunt and downright insensitive this
other jeweler is when he rejects the repair. He seems to imply that
the customer is stupid or has bad taste for even asking. 

We tried whenever to repair what the customer had. My rule was on
repairs

  1. The customer knew in advance if it wasn’t going to look good. We
    told them how’d we would have to work around something that
    shouldn’t be repaired. We would never tell a customer it wasn’t worth
    it. We’d let the price help the customer determine if it should be
    fixed.

  2. We’d make a profit on it. If it ws extensive repair and she
    thought it pricey, we might give her a SMALL discount, but my rule is
    no matter what we fix or make, it has to be profitable.

Our motto:

“The only thing we can’t fix is the crack of dawn or a broken heart”

:slight_smile:

David Geller