They have found ‘The One’ they want to spend the rest of their life with. He asked the big question. She said yes. Now they are looking for the perfect ring to solidify the engagement.
They are a young but already successful couple. She is a doctor and he is a lawyer. Her enthusiasm was obvious. She was so excited about the whole idea of their engagement and building a custom ring for her to cherish forever. It had to be so special and unique. She didn’t want diamonds but wanted green and red stones that didn’t look like Christmas colors.
They had done their research and were certain they wanted to work with us to design their rings. We spent a considerable amount of time talking and emailing back and forth. We looked at a lot of photos for ideas. We discussed the design elements piece by piece.
The budget was an issue for her. She wanted to keep the overall cost down. He was a little more realistic about the price and just wanted her to have the ring of her dreams. We had multiple conversations and even had a lengthy Zoom meeting to make certain the customer was comfortable with us and narrow down the details of the project.
At a gem show, we came across the perfect gemstone. A beautiful blue-green tourmaline. It was exactly the correct size, shape, color and was within the budget. We acquired the gem for the project.
She wasn’t sure from the pictures of it and we made arrangements for an in-person meeting to show her the stone. A two-hour detour on another trip we had scheduled allowed us to bring the stone to them and see it for themselves.
Her nervousness seemed at first to be over excitement. She loved the gem, but just wasn’t sure about it. She loved the ring designs we had brought along also, but she just wasn’t sure about them either. She needed more time to make up her mind.
No problem, except we asked her to pay for the stone and put the deposit down on the project. She felt pressured and wasn’t sure about any of it – she just wanted to put everything on hold for now…
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the customers’ excitement and certainty of working with you that those simple policies and procedures don’t seem as important. Asking for the deposit and getting the money before you have committed to do a bunch of the work is asking the customer to be as committed to the project as you are.
We should have known better. We should have realized the customer was just fishing. The cold feet and inability to make a firm decision on any aspect of the project, in the end, left us questioning if it was the ring design or the whole idea of being engaged that she was questioning. Either way, we wish them both the best and updated our policy notes about when we ask for and expect the deposit to be paid.
We commit to making the best we can for our customers. It’s appropriate to ask them to demonstrate the same level of commitment to their project by paying a deposit before we invest considerable time and resources into it.
The other client is a completely different story.
I recently ran into an old friend. We’ve known each other for 30 years or more. He’s known my work in the jewelry industry and knows he can come to me to get quality work at an honest and fair price.
He got some news and was heading off to attend a wedding soon. He wanted to bring a quality gift for the bride. He didn’t call the office or come by the store but came directly to me instead. We discussed what he was looking for and I felt confident we could come up with something for him.
Right there on the spot, he tried to give me a deposit for the project. I didn’t expect a deposit from one of my dear old friends and wouldn’t accept it. I had no pricing on the project for him. My store had not processed anything on the order. My business partner did not even know anything about it.
I assured him we could make him something, but it did need to run through the store to get on the work schedule and figure out a cost. Despite that, he continued to try to give me money as a deposit. He pressed the issue until I gave him a verbal commitment to do the project for him.
It was less than a week before the ‘Hey I want to do this’ turned into ‘I have to have this ready to deliver in 3 days!’ All of a sudden, it’s very apparent why he had been so insistent on giving me a deposit.
You see, a financial transaction equals a commitment to do business. He wanted me to be committed to getting this project done before I knew all the details of it and the incredibly short deadline to do it in.
Despite the incredible rush, we managed to come together as a team, work a couple of late nights and complete the project on time. Yet through this project, once again I am reminded, our policies and procedures are there for a reason.