A year ago, the world was a different place for all of us independent retailers across the country. We weren’t actually retailers any longer. We were online businesses. We were home delivery companies. We were curbside businesses. We were lots of things, but we weren’t retail establishments, at least in the classical sense. It was wonderful, and I enjoyed every single second of it… for the first two days. Then I started to miss it.
It had been two whole days since anyone came in and acted like an absolute fool.
It had been two whole days since someone came in and tried to impress me with the knowledge they had amassed from watching way too much Jewelry TV.
It had been two whole days since my lunch had been interrupted.
And, it had been two whole days since I’d actually spoken to another human being outside of my core circle. Okay, I’ll admit I enjoyed this one more than the other ones.
For everyone out there that has been in retail for any length of time, we all have our list of gripes about dealing with the public. But despite the challenges, we all suit up, show up, and open up, ready to take on another day. For every bad customer, there are a thousand customers that we enjoy interacting with. Those thousand customers make it worth the while to have to deal with that one bad apple every now and then.
When it comes to dealing with the bad ones, I have a policy; “If you can’t make someone happy, why try?” If I’m certain that someone is going to walk out of my store, then sit in their car and give me a bad review while parked in my parking lot, I’m going to earn that bad review. I’m going to make sure that whatever they write about me is going to be true.
By this point in the evolution of the internet, it’s a pretty safe bet to say that one bad review doesn’t make or break you. If I have 99% good comments, and one or two bad ones, I can live with that. If I lose a potential customer because they made a buying decision based on the one or two bad reviews over the ton of good ones, then that’s a customer I’m willing to lose. Usually those are the types of people that write all of the bad reviews anyway. If I don’t like a service or a business, I just won’t go back. End of story. I won’t spend another second worrying about it, or writing a negative review about them.
As the world is returning to normal, I’m enjoying some things I never thought I would miss. For instance, I never thought I’d miss the people that don’t know how to work a door. You know exactly who I’m talking about. They stand at your front door, pulling on it, trying to rip it off of its hinges when there is a very clear sign that says; ‘Push’ right beside the handle.
I’ve got mag-locks on my door, with a sign at eye level that says ‘STOP, ring doorbell and wait for buzzer.’ Once a month or so, someone will try to yank the door and the door frame from the building for about a minute, then they’ll give up and start banging on the door non-stop. All while reading the sign right in front of their face. For some reason, every time that happens now, I remember what it was like when that wasn’t happening. I think I liked more when it wasn’t happening.
Does everyone remember complaining about the customers that show up 15 minutes before your posted hours, knocking on your door, ringing the bell, sticking their face in the glass and holding up a watch that needs a battery? You give them the ‘10 minutes’ signal with your fingers, and they yell through the glass, “I just need a watch battery.”
I used to hate that. Heck, who am I kidding, I still hate that. But I didn’t really ever think I’d miss someone playing charades at my front door trying to justify why they should be let in early using extreme body contortions. Then they start yelling through the glass, and I pretend I can’t make out what they are saying, when in reality, I can hear them perfectly fine. Yeah, I guess I didn’t really miss that either.
And who missed the customers that come in talking on their phone, and refuse to hang up during your entire 20 minute interaction. Ahhh – good times. The best part about these customers is they always come back a few weeks later with a problem they swear you never discussed with them, when in fact you spent the entire 20 minutes trying to talk them out of whatever they came in for. I always want to ask them to call whoever they were on the phone with a couple of weeks ago and get them to confirm what I said. After all, there were three of us involved in the conversation. Welcome back to normality.
And this my friends, is why we drink! Stay safe out there.
And, for my bench jeweler peeps out there; Who’s going to join me in Nashville, Tennessee October 15-16 for the third annual Bench Jewelers Laser & Technology Conference? It’s going to be a fun event. For more information, visit https://benchjewelersconference.com/, call or text 615-423-7214, or email Scott.firstname.lastname@example.org.