Ramble On Ron

Diamonds, Music and other Facets of Life

Treating Your Customers With Dignity and Respect

Posted on | February 8, 2011 | 2 Comments

I was asked to speak at an event last night at my synagogue. The first speaker was the rabbi who was asked to talk about ethics in business. The subject of “when to tip” was the topic of his conversation. Why do we tip the person who takes our luggage out of the car but not the clerk at the desk? Why do we tip a waiter but not the chef? Or why do we tip the person who cuts our hair or shines our shoes? Or the maid at a hotel? At first, I thought that the reason we tip these people is because it’s just the norm in society. But, of course, it goes back way further and deeper than that. The reason we tip these people is because they are doing something that is a little demeaning. Cutting your hair, shining your shoes, schlepping your bags, cleaning up your mess – they are all things that people do for you personally. More personally than what a clerk or receptionist may do. So the action of the tip makes them whole – it makes them feel better about what they do and gives them the dignity that they deserve. I found that fascinating.

Then it was my turn to speak. The subject was “No Pressure, No Diamonds: Selling Luxury Products in a Recession”. Instead of opening with my usual Facebook Diamonds Page/Social Media shtick, I wanted to pick up on what the rabbi said. The first thing I talked about was how we treat customers when we buy diamonds and jewelry from them. This may be the most valuable thing that my father taught me as I grew up and worked in the pawnshop. We often dealt with people who needed to borrow money on their their items. My father was their friend – he always treated them with dignity and respect, and was sensitive to their needs. As we carried our business over to buying engagement rings from people, we adopted this same philosophy of being sensitive to people’s needs and their situation. When someone is getting divorced and is selling their ring, it can be a sad experience or a liberating experience. We understand this and that’s why we do it so well. When someone is selling jewelry simply because they need money, we treat these people with fairness, dignity and respect so the seller can be happy about their transaction.

And that’s what I think customer service is all about.