© by Dr. David Weiman. All rights reserved.

You’ve heard that old saying, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.” I guess the person who said that was never in business, where the opposite seems true: What you don’t know can hurt you.

A case in point — the other day I was walking through the parking lot of one of those small suburban shopping centers. You know the type … there’s usually an independent pharmacy there, a shoe repair shop (does anyone take their shoes to be repaired anymore?) a pizza place and a barber.
As I walked toward the stores, I overheard two women talking as they were getting into their cars to leave.

“I’ll never eat at Angelo’s again!” the first one said, referring to the pizza place.

“Why not?” asked her friend.

“This kid had a dog in there, and the dog was eating food that had been left on one of the tables, and I told someone behind the counter and they didn’t wipe off the table!” “That’s disgusting!” the friend said, “I’m not going in there either!”
They say that when someone has a bad experience with a business, they tell many times more people than when they have a good experience. One of the reasons is psychological: Bad experiences usually make more of an impact on customers than good experiences. And one way of processing bad experiences – particularly when the business doesn’t seem to care – is telling friends.

Unfortunately, every time someone re-tells the story, it reinforces the bad experience as well as spreading it around to more and more people.
One slip up involving just one customer, like not responding when she complained about a dog eating off a table in a pizza place, could eventually be told to dozens and dozens of people who weren’t there, but who are impacted by the story and decide to stop eating there.
Although in this case, the woman wasn’t reluctant to tell someone about the dog, no one appeared to be listening. Many people won’t even speak up when they’re bothered by something.

That’s because business owners often appear not to care, seem rushed, or aren’t even around to see the event occur. That means that a lot of valuable information about your company could be out there on the street spreading to current and prospective customers, and you don’t even know it!
Here are some things you can do to make sure that you’re open to good news as well as bad in your handcrafted jewelry business:

First, make sure that listening to customers carefully is a value that both you and your staff prize very much.

Second, respond to customer complaints as quickly as possible, and confirm that they are satisfied with the results.

Finally, be very direct with customers that you want to know about what is not going well with their experience with you, as well as is.
When you’re the first one who knows that something went wrong, it may still hurt, but not as much as it will if you find out from everyone else.

About the Author: Dr. David Weiman, “the Jewelry Marketing Doctor,” is a psychologist and internationally-known expert on marketing and selling handmade artisan jewelry. He is also the marketing director for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, Step by Step Beads, and Step by Step Wire Jewelry. His new book, 101 More Jewelry Selling Techniques from the pages of Jewelry Selling Insights — along with many other books and tools for selling handcrafted jewelry — at http://www.MarketingJewelry.com where you can also sign up for his free “Jewelry Seller” e-newsletter.

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All Things Metal Clay is proud to be an affiliate partner with JewelryMarketing.com!

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