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Helen Thompson-Carter, Fabuleux Vous
Helen Thompson-Carter, Fabuleux Vous

What ever happened to old-fashioned manners?

Remember that time you turned away a sales rep because you were too busy? It didn’t matter that he or she had travelled three hours to reach the store at an agreed appointment time – after all, you had other priorities!

What about when you didn’t respond to that email or, worse, decided to delete it? Then there was that time when you forgot to return those phone messages.

In isolation, these actions may seem fairly innocuous but they can have damaging effects on a business when one discovers that the retailer across the road has secured the hottest new jewellery brand. 

Yep, that retailer may or may not have the best jewellery store in the area but some common courtesy meant they were able to nab the brands that are generating jolly good revenue for them right now, even if those brands could be performing a whole
lot better in your store.

Every business is dependent on a supply chain yet parts of that supply chain can be so undervalued by some that rudeness seems acceptable. Much emphasis is placed on the importance of showing politeness to customers so why is that same amount of emphasis not placed on retailer and supplier interactions? Why do so many jewellers believe that sales reps are not worthy of their time or energy ... until they want product or support?

Right now it seems there is no equality. I appreciate that this is not exclusive to the jewellery industry and that there are certain salespeople we would all rather avoid – read: hide from under the desk – but surely such poor behaviour can be improved.

This whole issue is rather perplexing given good manners is presumably one of the core lessons children are taught in their early stages of development.

If displaying politeness and respect for fellow human beings is not part of your company culture, can I suggest taking a culture warrant of fitness? It costs nothing to be nice and treating people well should permeate through every layer of your business.

Good, the bad and the ugly

Like all business sectors, the retail and jewellery industries are no exception; we see the best and the worst of behaviours.

There will always be the good, the bad and the ugly and without doubt I like to think the good outweigh the bad. However, we should be aiming to get it to the stage where the good far outweigh the bad.

There’s so much evidence to prove that a good dose of common courtesy reaps rewards for all parties. Many special friendships have been made in our industry between suppliers, retailers, media and the like, and in many cases these relationships and the working together of different parties across our industry have resulted in great success.

Think about Pandora and those retailers who trusted former Australia president Karin Adcock and that little ‘unknown’ brand.

They built strong relationships together that undoubtedly helped business to flourish ... not only is Adcock held in high esteem as one of our industry legends but many retailers have also borne the fruits from this venture – and continue to do so.

Employ the ‘people are everything’ motto coupled with good business practices and watch what happens. I guarantee that customers will return and that your store becomes their number one choice. Suppliers are also bound to come to you with new products and fresh ideas; people will talk and share thoughts about how fabulous you and your store are; and you will become spoilt for choice as well as for rock-solid relationships.

Given this, why wouldn’t one want to treat others with care and respect, regardless of the role they play in the industry?
I’m certain my fellow suppliers will agree when I say that we understand customers cannot be left unattended. We also appreciate there will be instances when unexpected matters pop up that need to take priority, but come on, don’t slam the door in our face (yes, it happens!).

The industry has enough challenges without a simple thing like bad manners adding to the mix of problems. Retailers and suppliers need to stand as a united front. Success shall come to those who work collaboratively.

There is a message here for all of us – never sever the hand that either feeds you now or may need to feed you in the future.

Remember, it costs nothing to be nice. Being so might even help you land the latest and greatest products for your store.

Name: Helen Thompson-Carter
Business: Fabuleux Vous
Position: Director
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Years in the industry: almost at the five-year mark

Tuesday, 23 April, 2019 10:14am
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