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Winning the customer service battle: Part Two

Jewellery retail has changed significantly in recent years. RICH KIZER and GEORGANNE BENDER return to explain how you can avoid falling behind the competition.

In the previous issue of Jeweller we shared some vital sales tips to make the most of the year ahead.

The best is yet to come, however, beginning with the all-important banishing of the words “may I help you?”

After you’ve broken the ice it’s time to transition to the next part of the sale, so unless the customer looks panicked or you can tell from their actions that they are in one big hurry, the words, “may I help you?” should never be uttered on your sales floor. 

Ask this question and most customers will say, “no, thanks. I’m just looking” even when they came in with something specific in mind. Transition instead with “what brings you in today?”

Some people will still say they are just looking and that’s fine, let them browse to their heart’s content, however, if they are there for a purpose, they’ll let you know and that makes your job much easier.

Make acknowledging every customer, every time a non-negotiable policy. A simple smile or nod is often enough; your employees will know when more conversation is needed.

Routine meetings

Commit to a weekly store meeting - don’t start 2023 strong and then drop off before week five because something ‘comes up’ that derails the business – something will always come up! Keeping all employees in the loop is as important as buying inventory and setting displays.

“Commit to a weekly store meeting - don’t start 2023 strong and then drop off before week five because something ‘comes up’ that derails the business – something will always come up!”

Talk about what’s happening that week in the store, merchandise that is expected to arrive that week, events, sales, and customer requests – anything that will help your staff do a better job.

It doesn’t matter if your staff consists of you and one or two others, hold the meeting anyway.

There are only two of us in our office right now and we still hold meetings to keep each other up to speed on what’s happening any given week.

Suggestive selling

Make suggestive selling an expected part of the job.

Can you imagine how much you would add to store sales if every employee added just one additional item on to each sale? Every retail employee we ask assures us they practice suggestive selling, yet that’s not always the case.

One of our favourite retail sales training exercises is to take the attendees to a shopping centre.

Each person is given money to spend with the specification that they must
buy everything the salesperson suggests they buy.

Guess how many come back with more than one item? In a group of 10, maybe two or three will come back with an additional item. Talk about wasted opportunity!

If you know one product needs another product to perform properly why wouldn’t you share that information with the customer while they is still in the store?

Adding on to the sale isn’t a pushy sales technique when done ethically. It actually helps the customer.
Wouldn’t you rather have the salesperson tell you about an additional item that goes with what you chose so you don’t have to make another trip to the store to buy it later?


It’s important to be clear about sales goals. Every store should set a sales goal that needs to be met that day and each employee should understand what part they play in achieving it.

You won’t reach your desired numbers if you leave what happens on your sales floor to chance, so share your monthly sales goal with your staff, and then break it down to daily sales targets.

It is easier to meet your sales goals when employees understand what is expected of them each day.

Refine your store policy

Make your policies competitive and hassle-free. If every retailer in your community happily accepts returns and exchanges but your store does not, or your policies are too strict, there’s a good chance customers will go someplace else to shop.

Your return policy should be a win-win. It should be fair to the store and the customer. Clearly post the policy on your website. Write it in a positive tone of voice – if every sentence begins with “no” you have some work to do.

It’s also a good idea to have the cashier politely recite it to the customer during the purchase so there is no confusion later.

Good luck

The pandemic has upped the ante on every aspect of retailing. Large or small, chain or independent, no retailer is immune to the current and coming changes.

Customers want what they want, when they want it, the way that they want it, and there are retailers out there who are ready to deliver. Make your in-store experience a priority in 2023 and customers will thank you in dollars and cents.

Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender

Contributors •

Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender are retail strategists, authors and consultants. Visit:


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