Peter Drucker claims that 60% of all business problems result from faulty communication. The percentage is even higher in our jewelry repair shops. The major problems attributed to the shop are the result of miscommunication – Miscommunication between the customer, the salesperson, and the bench jeweler.
If the date the customer was told their jewelry will be ready is not properly communicated to the bench jeweler, problems develop. If the price quoted to the customer is not properly communicated to the bench jeweler, more may be charged and problems develop. If the actual work preformed by the bench jeweler is not properly communicated to the sales staff the wrong price may be charged and problems develop. If the work to be performed is not properly communicated, the wrong work may be done and a problem develops, and on and on it goes.
You have all heard of the 4 C’s of a diamond and how the Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight, will ultimately determine the fifth C cost. I believe there are also 4 C’s to Effective Communication.
We must communicate clearly or what we say may be misunderstood. We must write legibly or our written communication may be misunderstood. The terms and phrases we use must be clear and understood by all, or our communication will not be effective.
For example, the term ASAP for As Soon As Possible is often a problem. To some this means: top priority, drop what you are doing and do this first. To others, it means: do it as soon as it is possible to work it in, as there is no real hurry.
Often in our communication, we ramble on and on and never really get around to what it is we want to say. We need to be concise in our communication to be effective.
A jeweler explaining in detail each step involved in a special repair may give more information than a salesperson or customer wants to hear and the important information will be missed.
Incomplete, inaccurate instructions result in countless problems in the shop. Directions such as: Please Fix, Solder, or Repair, often result in the wrong repair being done, incomplete repairs being done, or more work being done than the customer expected. Then work is performed that cannot be charged for, or it must be redone in the shop resulting in additional cost and expense to the store.
Now, being complete and being concise is not contradictory. Being concise means giving ONLY the pertinent information. Being complete means giving ALL of the pertinent information.
We must communicate consistently from day to day in order for our communication to be effective. In addition, our staff must communicate consistently. If on one occasion we write the instruction ESTIMATE in big letters across the middle of the envelope, then another time write in small letters the abbreviation est. in the top corner of the envelope, then on a third occasion check off a small box, those instructions may be missed because they were communicated in an inconsistent manner.
A story is told about a young couple that had their first baby. Soon after the baby was born, the father stayed home with the baby by himself. When the mother returned she was greeted at the door of their home with a horrendous odor. “Couldn’t you change the baby’s diaper?” she demanded of her husband. He assured her that he had thought he should, and even started to do it. “But” he explained, “The box states the diaper holds up to 12 pounds!”
Often a bench jeweler feels the same frustration trying to understand instructions on the job envelopes, as this new father experienced reading the diaper box. Many salespeople and customers have the same puzzled look on their face as the new father when they are listening to the explanation of the bench jeweler.
Do not let this happen to you! By following these 4 C’s, our communication will be more effective. As a result our shops will run smoother, be more efficient and profitable.