My business partner is one of the most organized people I have ever known. She’s a wonderful asset to the business. She is new to the industry and is learning very fast, but there are so many things that most people, even those in the industry, simply don’t know. Things that the bench jewelers see, know and encounter that just aren’t as commonly revealed to others in the industry. The perfect example is the ring mandrel.
Last month my partner decided to order a mandrel for her workspace. The box comes in and she takes out her cool new mandrel so that she can check the sizes of rings coming in and going out. Right away she put it to good use and checked the sizing on a completed job before boxing it up to be shipped. That’s where the debate about my sizings being off began. We checked the customer’s ring on my mandrel at my workbench and the size was fine, but her brand-new mandrel was off more than an entire size in some places. We ordered a new one that was just like my mandrels and it sizes the same.
I’m relieved we caught and corrected the problem so quickly. A few years ago this exact issue caused quite a problem for a place I worked. They had to resize so many rings for free. They were having so much difficulty getting the sizing correct for their customers. They eventually created this incredibly complicated system where you had to denote specifically which sizers you used to measure with and have the customer sign off on it.
One simple solution to avoid the incorrect sizing issue is to make sure every mandrel matches your jeweler’s mandrel. Along with that, you need to make sure you do NOT go buy the numbers marked on the ring sizers. Find a sizer that fits the customer properly then slide it on a mandrel and use what the mandrel says as the size.
I know a lot of jewelers get upset when their customer comes back a few weeks or days later because they are unhappy about the size you made their ring. Businesses see it as time and money lost having to pay the bench guy to redo the work that was probably done right the first time. Customers don’t really understand but it doesn’t matter to them, all they want is for the ring to fit comfortably. Arguing over ring sizers and mandrels and who is right is pointless and never makes the customer feel good about you.
This is a situation where you can set the stage for some exceptional customer service. Putting your customer first and making them feel special. Explain to them the normal fluctuations of fingers swelling and contracting. It is surprising how many people really don’t know anything about that. Explain to the customer how those normal daily shifts make sizing a personal thing and may require some adjustment to accommodate their specific needs. Being willing to go that extra step with your customer is something that will certainly set you apart in that customer’s mind. Whether you need to adjust their ring size later or not, the fact that you have made the point to let them know you are there for them will make all the difference.