Developing a Customer Relationship with Longevity
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Expensive purchases—like an engagement ring—can sometimes seem like a one-and-done transaction. But Robbins Brothers, a jeweler specializing in engagement and wedding rings, sees it differently. They are coming along for the ride with you and your future spouse, making sure you get exactly the rings you both want.
Charlotte Schmidt, general manager of the San Diego location, wants to be the easy part of your love journey, as she calls it. “We definitely call it a love journey because they found their significant other. That’s the hardest part, right? We’re trying to make the other part easy and less stressful because we are the experts in the industry and we just walk them through.”
They might not be walking down the aisle with you or DJing your wedding, but Robbins Brothers wants their part to go smoothly. It should be a stress-free environment with an approachable staff, so they maintain a more casual atmosphere that you don’t often see in high-end jewelry stores.
“It really is about the customer interaction. It’s about them enjoying this amazing time either by themselves or together because it’s a lifetime commitment. And it’s a lifetime commitment to us as well. We want them to love us as much as they love their ring, as much as they love the experience.”
Yelp reviewer Kevin H. appreciated the honesty and the education he got when it was time to purchase his fiance’s—now his wife’s—engagement ring. She had a pretty clear idea of what she wanted.
“He first figured out what my wife’s priorities were in terms of choosing the ring. The big thing that she wanted was the size of the diamond. She wanted a big diamond. I think what Gare said that was really helpful for me was, ‘Well, if you want a large diamond, we can get you a lower quality. That’ll save you money, and it’ll still get you a big diamond.'”
Gare, Kevin’s sales representative, took them outside and showed the couple the truth about the diamond—the lower quality, but larger diamond shone just as brightly as a more expensive one.
Providing that level of education is a priority for Robbins Brothers. “We’re trying to educate you. If you can’t see a difference between a $15,000 diamond, and let’s say a $10,000 diamond, then why would we sell you the 15? Let’s sell you the 10, make you happy, and you have confidence in us.”
It might seem counterintuitive to sell something less expensive, but the staff at Robbins Brothers is more concerned about customer satisfaction because happy customers make the best repeat customers. Kevin bought his wedding ring at Robbins Brothers as well as his wife’s and his experience led him to leave a positive review on Yelp.
Charlotte knows they can’t all be 5-star reviews, but she uses both positive and negative reviews to their advantage. “You can’t make everyone happy, and we really, really try. We celebrate the five stars, the four stars.
“When it’s a negative review—and they happen, you know what I mean—it hits home. It hits to the heart because I am the face of the business. I am the owner. They, the Robbins Brothers, entrust me to run the best of a building. So I reach out to each customer. It’s being vulnerable and saying, ‘Where did we go wrong?'”
Robbins Brothers uses a customer education-focused approach to getting and retaining long-term customers, and your small business can benefit from these tips as well:
- With big purchases, an approachable shopping experience is key
- It’s not about the one-time sale, it’s about the long-term customer relationship
- Customers appreciate a clear, honest education about what they’re buying
- Reviews can improve morale and encourage staff to learn from one another
Listen to the episode below to hear directly from Charlotte and Kevin, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.