How Would You Feel?
A couple of years ago I bought an expensive watch from a prominent jewelry store for one of those milestone birthdays. I recently had to bring the watch in for repair because it wasn’t quite running right. I was impressed with the fact that they sent the watch back to the factory, cleaned it, and made it look like brand new factory condition. The service was expensive but I can honestly say I got my money’s worth because it looked like it was right out of the showroom.
But on my trip to the jewelry store, I decided to bring a 40 year old gold Rolex which was given to me as a gift from an aunt of mine whose husband had recently passed away. I decided that I would consider trading the watch in for something else. I was shocked to see the identical watch that I was wanting to trade. It was still on display and selling for $24,000. My first reaction was it was a smart move to trade it in. I told them I would be interested in trading it because I really didn’t need a $24,000 watch.
They took my watch and had it appraised. Then, they came back and said that the watch was only worth $1,700 because the watch would require a lot of work in order to get it into tip-top shape. I asked how much it would cost to do whatever work was required. They said that they would send it to the Rolex factory and we would receive a written estimate regarding what needed to be done and how much it would cost. I agreed and they sent it away, and I waited two weeks for the report. The report said that it would cost $1,600 to have it restored into factory condition. Now, at that point I questioned that if it would take $1,600 to have it restored to optimum condition and the new watch was selling for $24,000, then why did they offer me such a low price?
The bottom line: I started to question the credibility of the store. But then it got worse. I asked them, “Why would I invest $1,600 on a watch that was only worth $1,700?” I asked them to send the watch back to me without having any repair work done. Now I had to wait another two weeks before the watch came back, and when I went to pick it up they charged me $150. I said, “But you told me it was free to have it evaluated.” Their comment was it was free, but you had to pay for the freight and insurance back and forth. I asked how much was the freight? I realized that they insured the watch for $15,000, which meant I paid for a$15,000 watch going two ways.
What a rip off! I felt used, and my opinion of the store dropped significantly. Am I wrong? All I know is that I will never return to that store again because I simply do not trust them. This is the same store that I trusted to a point of buying $13,000 worth of products there. What would you do?
In the light of the release of the new Michael Douglas movie, the sequel to the movie “Wall Street” where the famous line was uttered “greed is good”, I realized that was how I was being treated at this jewelry store. Their greed was showing, and they lost my trust because of it. Trust is a powerful tool which can either turn on or turn off a customer.
Having said all of that, I am the first one to encourage retailers to work on the highest possible margins as the market will allow. But that doesn’t mean to be greedy. I don’t care what the price of something is as long as the value is there. No value equals no sale. Here is a store that spends a lot of money on advertising to attract me into the store and gain my trust only to have it thrown away during a brief encounter.
The problem in today’s business climate is that our reputations can be destroyed in an instant. Trust is a very delicate commodity and must be taken very seriously. Squander it, and you will never get it back.