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  • The Storyteller

Luxury jewelry boutiques: What we remember

Recently, we carried out a Service Encounter Assessment across several of the top international luxury jewelry boutiques in Singapore: Tiffany, Bvlgari, Cartier and Chopard. The under-cover couple went in to each of these boutiques with the same "story" - that they were looking for anniversary rings.


The couple was asked about service details they remembered the most or that were relatively different across the brands in hindsight. They were also asked to rate their primary emotion (based on LQA benchmarks 1 - 5) after each brand visit. Below is a summary:


Tiffany


Positives:

  • The store lighting and ambience presented the most luxurious feel.

  • Security at the entrance greeted a warm welcome using the brand name and held the door open while discreetly communicating with his colleague via the ear piece.

  • The grooming of all staff encountered was also considered to be the best across the various boutiques visited.

  • The employee personalised the service by asking if the couple was in Singapore for a visit.

  • There was some light banter about buying a second ring in the marriage but with the same partner. The jovial mood was mutual.

  • Employee provided her own recommendation.

  • The employee offered to email the interested items (with image and price) post-visit, which was intuitive and professionally done.

  • She offered to unlock the ground floor door (instead of customers walking back up to second level again) and showed the way to re-enter the mall.


To be improved:

  • There was no congratulations extended when the anniversary was mentioned.

  • At times when the employee had to squat down behind the counter to retrieve stock, this may pose as a security concern when some jewelry items are still left on the counter top with the couple.

  • The usage of "you guys" repeatedly was not considered appropriate.

  • The flower display on the ground floor needs to be refreshed.


Primary emotion: 4 - Individual



Bvlgari


Positives:

  • The male employee warmly wished the couple a happy anniversary.

  • He offered to take a photo of the couple's hands with the tried rings on. (This was declined.)

  • Employee provided some basic recommendation.

  • He informed that towards end of the month, there would be a price hike in the brand globally.

  • Name card was most luxurious across visited brands in terms of grammage and gold embossing. It even has a WeChat QR code at the back.

To be improved:

  • Couple walked in directly to the boutique where there was no other customers at that time. There were two employees standing besides each other at the nearest counter and one of them gently elbowed the other to be ready/attentive.

  • There was another customer outside the boutique entrance (which had a velvet rope barrier), awaiting to be let in. While the employee taking care of the couple quickly communicated to his colleague via the ear piece to assist, he did not acknowledge the customer who was mere metres away in direct line of sight.

  • The small standing mirror on the counter was dusty.

  • As the display counter was circular, when employees open up the drawers to check the stock, customers are able to see all the jewelry pieces stored in a "mass" manner. This compromises on the sense of luxury.

  • There was a bill or delivery order left unattended on the glass counter of the inner section.

  • Employee walked away momentarily to lead the way for another customer, with several jewelry pieces left on the counter with the couple. This could pose as a security concern.

  • The grooming could be further improved (e.g. the fit of the suit, the overall disposition to reflect the luxurious branding)

  • A namecard was provided. However, employee could have offered to write down the items that couple had expressed interest in.


Primary emotion: 3 - Respected



Chopard

(This was a pop-up store)


Positives:

  • The gentle smile of the security guard.

  • The employee extended invite couple for a store-opening event in the coming weeks. (However, when the lady customer said she would be travelling and her partner said in jest that he would not get invited if she wasn't around, the employee simply smiled and said "Yup")


To be improved:

  • The security guard was wearing a belt with a large H (non-discreet) and said "Customer" to the single sales person inside.

  • Grooming: The uniform of the sales person seemed worn and not well cut. There was also dandruff visible on the dark suit.

  • Grooming: The nails were not very clean.

  • No namecard was provided nor was there an offer to write down the interested items.

  • Even though this is a pop-up store, the ambiance (e.g. display, harsh lighting) did not project a sense of luxury.

  • No recommendation was provided.


Primary emotion: 2 - Disappointed



Cartier


Positives:

  • Professional, smiley and well-groomed sales person

  • A well-presented branded note card to place the namecard inside with handwritten details of items.


To be improved:

  • The security stood in a way that blocked the entrance with his back towards the customers as he communicated to the service team. The greeting appeared half-hearted.

  • No congratulations was extended upon learning of customers' anniversary.

  • Sales lady spoke to a colleague across the customer. Furthermore, Chinese language was used when the conversation with the customer was in English.

  • Another colleague's personal items were left unattended on the adjacent counter.


Primary emotion: 3 - Content





Other overall comments:

There were many missed many opportunities to connect further with the couple. It was surprising that none of the sales person had asked about the style preference of the customers, and that there was no further interest shown in the anniversary occasion. Example - My heartiest congratulations! What is the special number of years you will be celebrating?


As a comparison, the couple also visited the local jewelry brand GoldHeart located nearby to the above boutiques. One key positive difference? All the staff extended a greeting when passing them by, not just the one taking care of the couple. Besides, they also offered bottled drinking water to the two customers.


Reflective thoughts: Does every small details in your hotel or boutique project the image of your brand? What are the points - be it hardware, software or "peopleware" that could be improved? Break it down further into those that require immediate action, short term, mid term and long term. Make a positive difference today in your service delivery!




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