How I Test Local Jewelers
I use insider information that most consumers cannot access, to dig deep and know the truth about local jewelers.
As an expert in the industry, I can research deeper than consumers can about:
- trade reputation
- credit rating
- trade organization membership status
- customer interviews
- staff interviews
- management interviews
- ethical practices
Jewelers I recommend must rate an excellent score in each of these categories:
Selection of Diamonds
— must have high quality GIA certified diamonds in stock
— must have gemologists or diamontologists on premises
— must take ample time to educate and help you make the best decisions
— must have scopes on hand to let you examine your diamond correctly
— must be among the lowest brick-and-mortar prices in the U.S.
— must stock the highest quality diamonds including ideal cuts
— must stock diamonds with GIA certs
Selection of Settings
— must have high quality settings in stock
Jeweler On Hand
— must be able to set diamonds by the next day
— must have an excellent local reputation, as well as with the diamond trade
— must have excellent ratings with the Jewelers Board of Trade
— must be a member in good standing with the BBB and/or Chamber of Commerce, and must prove to me that they will guide a customer with truth and technical accuracy
— must be a member in good standing in one or more of the foremost jeweler organizations:
- Jewelers of America
- Jewelers Vigilance Committee
- American Gemological Society
- Diamond Dealers Club
- Jewelers Board of Trade
— must answer email promptly, and accurately answer technical questions about diamonds and settings
— must answer phone calls promptly
— must have a 30 days, unconditional, money-back guarantee
— must offer 100% of original price paid toward larger purchase
— must have convenient shopping hours, including weekends
Age of Business
— must have been in business for at least 10 years
Size of Business
— must be one of the top volume diamond stores in the area
The Testing Process
Called Every Jeweler in a City
My staff and I did the testing for 10,000 stores in the U.S., one by one. For each area, I called every jeweler in the yellow pages and pretended to be a customer to test sales skills and diamond knowledge.
The First Two Questions
Our first question is :: “Do you have loose diamonds?” Most say no, so we hang up.
Our second question is :: “Do you have GIA certificates on your diamonds?” Most say no (or explain “we can get them”) so we hang up.
Our third questions is :: “Do you have microscopes on the counter so we can learn about diamonds?” If they say no, and most do, we hang up.
If they pass those three questions, then we dive deeper, and we ask a number of other questions about their store operations, what they have in stock, store policies, and technical questions about diamonds.
Patience and Integrity
By asking numerous questions, we test their patience and compassion with a newbie, and see if they advise and educate with integrity and technical accuracy.
If even one question receives the wrong answer, or they start to say they don’t have time for this, we simply hang up and go to the next jeweler in the yellow pages.
Pricing is the final discussion. If the first price offered is not an excellent price, we hang up and move on.
It is important that pricing should NOT be dependent on their mood, or their sales goals, or holiday timing, or someone’s negotiation abilities, or anything else. Pricing should be consistenly low, or… you got it… we hang up and move on.
This process eliminates more than 98% of the stores we call in the first 1-3 minutes on the phone.
If they pass that, it takes us hours of phone calls and emails to confirm all the criteria we are looking for.
After this process of questions on the phone, and emailing back and forth, we continue our investigation by looking in the JBT (Jeweler’s Board of Trade), which tells us their credit rating and reputation in the trade. This is often very different from their reputation with consumers. Trade reputations cannot be bought, while local reputations are bought with ads.
Then we further check their background ::
- the online BBB
- Dunn and Bradstreet
- online testimonials and reviews
- research to find any prior criminal records for the owners
We also study their advertising materials, to make sure promises are made honestly and are not misleading or illegal.
Calling the Management
Then… when a jeweler has passed all of those tests, we call the management, and tell them the test results. We interview them more, about their policies, staff hiring practices, advertising methods, percentages of new vs. repeat and referral customers, etc.
Watching Customer Reviews For Years
Now comes the long term process of watching testimonials and reviews over the years. If negative reviews pile up, we suspend a jeweler from our list until we have a chance to investigate. If it happens that customers call us in to fight for them, we do so, but take the jeweler off our list. This has happened far more often than I had hoped.
Also, in watching reviews, it is important to note that some review sites are NOT entirely honest, so we trust iVouch.com the most, with their patents that ensure the most honest testimonials.
Your Progress …