The customer you didn’t realize you had

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By Tyson Roset

Every jeweller loves the client who comes in with an insurance claim. Not only do they have a need, they have the money behind them. Unbeknownst to those of us in the industry, jewellers have been pricing themselves out of insurance replacements.

The statistics show that the insured is increasingly taking the cash payout offer from the insurance company. When customers opt for the payout, our industry gets hurt. This is a lost opportunity for referral as we are unable to showcase both our products, and our exceptional service.

In my opinion, jewellers have been looking at insurance replacements incorrectly. When a client walks through the door, our desire is to do the most for the person present. After all, they were quite possibly our customer when they bought the item being replaced. However, for this transaction, the insurance company is your customer. While we still give the person present our full attention, we need to simultaneously remember that our primary customer is the insurance adjuster.

The insurance company is now our customer too. It is our responsibility to get to know the different adjusters and give them “preferred pricing.” In order to make this switch we need to see beyond the short-term gain, and see the big picture with the repeat business that we know can come our way. Typically we get an independent appraisal of something to quote for replacement with an inflated retail appraisal.

Resist the urge to maximize the replacement value by upgrading the stone. This will impress the insured, however, do little to impress your primary customer, the adjuster. Communicate directly with the insurance company, give them their cost, and allow them to deal with their customer. Believe it or not, they may have more customer service training than many retailers. Offer the exact replacement, pay attention to certificates, dimensions and even fluorescence. These factors can affect price as much as the 4Cs. Keep your parameters as close to the original as possible. If you are not finding an exact option, upgrade size or clarity slightly as these adjustments will keep price increase to a minimum.

The insurance company will notice and make note of who the preferred vendors are. At a ‘preferred vendor pricing’ you will get more replacement calls; handle each with honest service and the referrals will keep the replacement business growing.

Another area in which we can provide excellent service, is to take a look at the jewelry appraisals we make. This benefits both our customer at the time of purchase, and our potential future customer in the insurance industry.

Take a hard look at your most recent appraisal. What do you see? Remember to be objective.

Does it look like a document produced in 2018 or an old world appraisal? How do you rank the photo quality? Do you give the most information possible to facilitate future replacements?

When it comes to appraisals, less is not more; more is more. Seeing that we are the experts we should be including ring details, stock numbers, inscriptions, and origins. We are in the luxury industry and our appraisals should reflect it. As such, it may be worth investing in a colour printer and new camera.

Document and keep your appraisals active and save a copy. You will be able to get more traffic in your store and keep your staff active by giving them an aged customer list, and reminding your customers to update their appraisal. Values change, and a new appraisal will help your customer see the investment in their jewelry increase. It may inspire them to purchase more since they are in the store. New appraisals will also help build relationships with the insurance company as they will appreciate the updated information, and in fact, many times require it.

Be the facilitator for your customers; maybe forward a copy of the new appraisal to the insurance company and build both friendships.

At the end of the day your appraisals are one of your best profit margins. If you extend yourself beyond the norm, be assured the results will build in the insurance business.

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