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Finding fault, losing faith

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In the race to outpace each other jewellers can fall into a trap laid, perhaps unwittingly, by pushy customers, and find themselves disparaging one another. A jeweller who does this may expect that the customer will come back to buy, but it doesn’t always turn out that way. In the end, jewellers as a community share the loss — a loss not only of business but of customer faith.

“We live in a world where finding fault in others seems to be the favourite blood sport,” says Henry B Eyring, an American religious leader. He is quite right. The analogy certainly applies to the Indian jewellery industry where, all too often these days, jewellers unfairly criticise each other’s products in order to grab potential customers.

Recently we had a customer who bought from us diamond jewellery worth Rs.8 lakh. For a second opinion, the customer took this jewellery to another jeweller. That jeweller claimed that the quality of diamonds was poor and not worth the price paid. The client was understandably furious, and insisted on returning the jewellery to us. I tried to reason with him but it was a futile effort. Some days later I got the same pieces assessed by an IGI certification lab, which confirmed that the diamonds were of the quality I had stated.

Don’t play the game

How can an incident like this be avoided? One way is to refuse to play the game. Instruct your staff to politely decline such a request, saying to the customer that, “As a matter of policy, we do not do valuation of jewellery bought from other jewellers. May we offer you a better solution? Please visit a good certification lab and get the stone accredited.”

If the customer is very insistent on a valuation, ask the sales team to firmly re-emphasise the importance of certification by a lab. They can point out that a lab offers credibility in the long run. Above all, the report of a reputed lab is universally accepted.

Your sales staff can also explain to the customer that “A certification lab has the right resources for the job, including machines and technically trained staff.” They can explain some of the nuances of quality assessment, including that a diamond cannot be reliably assessed by the naked eye without a proper setup that includes gem identification tools and equipment.

With properly certified stones, you can tell the customer, they can be sure that the product is of the exact quality claimed. “When the time comes to exchange a certified piece of jewellery, that certification will get you the fair price.”

Trust in fairness and accuracy

As a responsible retailer, it is part of your job to educate your customers about dubious valuation practices. Your customer should be made aware that if one jeweller is going out of their way to comment on the quality and clarity of another jeweller’s product, there may be a non-straightforward reason for the supposed helpfulness.

This tricky issue simply boils down to trust. Inspire trust in your customers, by offering the right guidance and advice in the right context, and not only will you benefit but so will the category as a whole.

Cartoon talk:
Client: Can you help me assess the quality of the diamonds used in this jewellery and tell me whether I paid the right price for it?

Salesperson: Ma’am, it would be really good if you got this jewellery attested by a certification lab. They have the right method and expertise to do so.

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