It’s been a while since my last blog as it’s been a hectic few weeks. We’ve launched our revamped website, secured more stockists, and generally been planning for the next few months. Nevertheless I’m glad to say that I managed to get back to home to Wales for two weeks in April, where the weather was sunny for once – yay!
Even when I’m on holiday, my mind is still whirring with new design and business ideas, and it was during this time in the UK that I started to think of the issue of ‘trust’ between a jewellery brand and its customers – how can a customer be sure they can trust the brand she/he is buying from and what can a brand do to ensure its customers can have trust in it. So in this week’s blog I want to look at the signs to look out for when deciding whether or not you can have confidence and trust in your jewellery brand. Trust has always been important but in a world where more and more of our transactions take place on line, where money is exchanged before the receipt of goods, customers are demanding more and companies have to step up like never before.
For me, the foundation of my relationship with all our customers is the passion I have for all things jewellery – the materials, I use the designing and the making. As you’ve seen in previous blogs, I truly believe jewellery can have a transformative effect on us – our mood and how we see ourselves. And I want Liri jewellery to have this effect on you by using only high quality materials, designing each collection with care and making each piece by hand. My belief in this is so strong that it pervades every aspect of my brand. And it is this passion that is my guarantee that what I say about Liri jewellery is true. I feel so passionately about only using genuine gemstones, only using silver, and making unique pieces, that I could not, in all good conscience, bring you anything else. To do so would be a betrayal of my core values, which I am not prepared to do under any circumstances.
Transparency and accuracy of jewellery descriptions
Related to passion is the need for transparency of information and accurate descriptions of the jewellery on sale. Not only do I want you to appreciate what goes into Liri jewellery, but I believe that accurate descriptions of each piece are crucial for you to be able to make an informed decision about your purchase. So, on our website you will see two things – full and accurate written descriptions of each design, the size of each gem and bead, and the length of each piece, and accurate product photographs. Yes, our photos have been cropped and clarified but you will not see over the top enhancements or photoshopping. We would rather use natural light to bring out their beauty than falsely enhance any image. The more information you see on a product page the better as it is a clear sign that the designer is giving you all the facts rather than hiding behind limited or vague information.
An informative website
Not only are accurate product descriptions and images important for building trust, but also the presence of other information about the brand’s values and policies. Does the designer put him or herself ‘out there’? Is her/his story visible so you can see who they are? Other information to look out for – are their terms and conditions of sale visible, clear and detailed? Do you know they terms of shipping and the warranty? Do they tell you what will happen if an item develops a fault, before and after the warranty has expired? All of this information is important for you, the customer, so you know what you can expect at every stage before and after purchase.
Regular and open dialogue
Another thing to look out for is whether or not the designer or a company representative is engaging in regular and open dialogue with you. This can take many forms – do they post regularly on social media, do they respond to the comments you leave? Are they easy to contact and do they have multiple ways for you to contact them? When you ask questions, do you feel they’re giving you satisfactory answers, what is the level of detail? ‘Showing up’ for your customers and putting yourself in a visible position to be able to answer all questions is crucial if a customer is to feel they can trust you. Not showing your clients who you are or evading questions can raise doubts in their minds.
Blogging is another form of communicating with customers. It’s another way for me to engage with you, it’s a platform to provide more detailed information that I cannot do in a social media post, it’s a way for me to offer you handy insights, hints and tips about jewellery, and it’s a way for me to develop your confidence in me by engaging with current issues in the world of jewellery. You need to feel that who you are buying from is knowledgeable about jewellery and can provide you with useful information that is of interest to you.
Offering a first class customer service
Nothing builds trust more than offering an excellent customer service. It shows the customer you value them and that they deserve your effort. So what does a good quality customer service look like? For Liri, it is all of the below:
- Showing respect to the customer by ensuring you do what you say you do (using high quality materials in your jewellery for example);
- Providing full and accurate descriptions of your jewellery designs;
- Answering messages fully and in a timely manner;
- Providing a pleasant and easy online (or other) shopping experience (easy to browse catalogue, safe payment methods, varied payment methods);
- Despatching jewellery swiftly, or if not possible, informing the customer of when despatch will be – just maintain open, regular and friendly dialogue so the customer is always aware of what is happening.
- If a customer isn’t happy with their jewellery purchase, that you offer an alternative – a different piece or a refund.
- Where possible, go the extra mile – offer free gift wrapping and a gift note, when needed. Deliver more swiftly, if required. The details matter.
A public platform to provide feedback
Despite the varied ways of marketing your jewellery brand, one of the strongest influences on a customer’s perception remains word of mouth and a recommendation from another. Does the brand you are interested in provide an opportunity for you to rate them publicly, to be able to tell the world how great they were, or how bad they were? In addition to answering queries via private conversations, every credible jewellery brand should have a platform where you can provide public feedback – via social media, their website or Google Business. They won’t shy away from public comments, and if a negative comment is posted, how do they respond – do they respond politely with a clear offer to resolve the matter? Bear these issues in mind.
So, in summary….
Building trust is crucial to both the jewellery brand and the customer. Jewellery brands want to sell their designs and customers want to buy them, but it’s by no means an automatic relationship; it has to be nurtured over time and with repeated actions that show the customer that you do what you say you do and that your jewellery brand can be trusted as a result.
So, whether you’re a jewellery brand or a passionate jewellery collector, I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. Also, if you have other things you look for when deciding whether or not you can trust a jewellery brand, please let me know in the comments below.