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Mazin Kaddoura, Mazin’s Diamond Jewellers
Mazin Kaddoura, Mazin’s Diamond Jewellers

Turn those lemons into lemonade

Let’s face it; despite your best efforts to please, there are some people who are never going to be totally happy with the work that you do. It might not seem fair but it’s a reality that we all have to accept.

A jeweller’s ultimate aim is to ensure customers are satisfied with the level of service and quality of product they receive but this can be tested when a customer tries to get something done for nothing, and will stand in front of you and your staff telling bare-faced lies to ensure that it happens.

We pride ourselves on delivering top-quality service in all facets of our business, including the repair department. This is, perhaps not surprisingly, the area where the greatest satisfaction and conflict will occur.

We can all relate to the exhilaration a customer experiences when you’ve restored a cherished piece of family jewellery; it brings tears of joy to the customer and a huge sense of achievement to me.

At the other end of the spectrum are ‘those’ repairs that you regret taking almost as soon as you’ve accepted the job, those in which your attempts to make the client happy are met with resistance at every turn.

The ring presented to you is missing a stone, a couple of claws and is in filthy condition but apparently has been worn just six times and only to go out.

Right ... do we look like idiots?

It’s enough to make anyone’s blood boil but it’s also at this point where one needs to gain composure – becoming disgruntled doesn’t yield benefits for either of the parties involved.

Our most effective procedure in dealing with customers who are lacking a dose of common sense is to assess the general attitude of the person.

Although the behaviour of an unhappy customer can often put a salesperson under pressure, my staff are initially instructed to listen, listen and listen some more. They need to ascertain the full story before casting judgements.

Customers should be allowed to vent, even if they only do a great job of embarrassing themselves (and it’s all the better if there is a shop full of people to hear it happen).

Once the venting has finished my staff will then calmly deal with the grievance. If there seems little chance of breaking through the crust, we gently deflect them to another store – better that competitors are left with those types of customers!

Otherwise, we explain the process of making an item, the necessary requirements for repairing the piece, provide a quote for the repair costs and then emphasise the need for a good complimentary clean.

Usually that’s enough to get through to any intelligent customer, especially if they think they’re getting something for nothing.

Isn’t it funny that once money is not the issue, there is no issue? Miraculously their mood changes and they become apologetic and appreciative.

After that, we will in many cases happily repair/rectify the situation at no cost to the customer. Mind you, we make it clear that we are not assuming any responsibility for the damage and they have undoubtedly caused the problem.

I am now reminded of a gentleman many years ago whose watch repair needed to be completed out-of-house for reasons beyond our control. In truth, he was so inconvenienced by the whole process that the negative reactions he had were completely understandable.

Our ‘go-to management’ procedure, however, worked like a dream – the initial venting took place, the grievance was handled professionally and the man’s watch repair eventually completed.

Furthermore, because of the manner in which my staff handled the situation, he is now a loyal customer who will often come in with coffee and cakes for the staff. It’s a completely delicious win, win situation.

Despite all of this discussion, it’s a comfort to know that unhappy customers are the minority. I consider that my business has been perhaps more fortunate than others in this regard – over the past 23 years, I have had maybe six incidents where I was left shaking my head and wondering what else we could possibly have done.

But on those rare occasions, with business dollars proving harder to secure than ever, it really has to be a case of making lemonade out of lemons.

Name: Mazin Kaddoura
Business: Mazin’s Diamond Jewellers
Position: managing director
Location: Bunbury, WA
Years in the industry: 23

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