Serving hot or cold beverages to customers who walk into retail outlets to buy jewellery is an important step to break the ice, get to know the customers, and build a long-term relationship with them, finds out Suneeta Kaul
It’s in the DNA of Indians to offer tea and coffee to anyone who steps into their home. The story is not very different when it comes to customers visiting retail stores to buy jewellery. Retailers swear by the importance of this seemingly small gesture, and hail it as an important marketing tool that helps them understand their customers better, and connect with them.
“Serving refreshments is an excellent way of building a long-term relationship with clients. A cup of tea or coffee helps makes customers feel at home,” says Manideep Yechuri of Vega Sri Gold and Diamonds, Hyderabad. “We have a wide range of beverages and snacks on our menu to offer our customers, which includes sandwiches, upma, poha, tea, coffee, cold drinks, and so forth. It’s not just about sales for us, it’s about welcoming our patrons and making them comfortable,” he adds.
Retailers point out that Indians are, by nature, very hospitable, and making customers feel special is the secret to earning their goodwill. And their business. Says Neerav Challa of PMJ Gems and Jewellers, Hyderabad, “The customer is your God. At PMJ, we treat our clients like guests. If we have guests at home, we offer them refreshments, don’t we? So, we replicate that in our business, in our store, irrespective of whether those who walk in buy anything or not. We are not guided by commercial interests alone -- we are first about building a relationship with our clients. We have a number of items that we offer our customers – lemon tea, masala tea, green tea, etc. It has often happened with us that customers come to our store just to have our lemon tea. It connects them to us, our brand. Such small gestures go a long way, and bring in more clients. The word spreads, and we benefit from it. We don’t do any advertising; word of mouth does the trick for us.”
Trust and personal relationships with clients are important in a competitive business such as jewellery. And there is no better way to nurture a relationship than to offer clients a hot beverage. Explains Siddhant Mandaliya of CH Jewellers, Vadodara, “Hospitality plays an important part in building relationships with clients. In our business, the price point matters only up to a certain level. Beyond that, it’s all about trust and personal relationships. Welcoming customers warmly, offering them a cup of tea or coffee or a cold drink goes a long way in building a relationship with them. These little things matter, and customers also appreciate it. They feel at home, they feel welcomed. Besides, it gives us time to converse with them, get to know them, their tastes and preferences. By the time they finish having the beverage, we have a much better idea of what kind of jewellery to show them.”
While retailers unanimously hail the power of a cup of tea or coffee, there are some who go way beyond just offering a beverage, or snack. For instance, Ahmedabad-based KK Jewels has a food consultant who concocts a special blend of coffee for customers. Says Kailash Kabra, Proprietor of KK Jewels, “I totally agree with the tagline of a famous coffee outlet -- A lot can happen over coffee. We believe in pampering our clients. We do not serve machine tea or coffee. We have hired a food consultant, who goes to great lengths to prepare a unique blend of coffee.
“We mix several brands of coffee --Davidoff, Nescafe, Bru – and then add a dash of chocolate powder. It becomes a delicious brew, and the customers feel good having something that tastes so special and unique. We all know that chocolate elevates the mood, and gives the body a sugar rush. So, our coffee puts our customers in a great frame of mind, and they remember us and visit us again and again. In fact, everyone praises our coffee. Customers tip Rs 500 to Rs 2000 to the person who serves them coffee in our store. That is the extent to which they like it!”
Kabra has an interesting anecdote to share. “Once a customer invited the person who prepares our special coffee to her home, saying her husband liked the way our coffee tastes. So, yes, it is very important to serve good coffee and tea. We also serve kehwa (Kashmiri black tea), coconut punch, specially-made lemonade in a glass bottle, dry fruits, diet khakra (Gujarati snack), packet makhana (fox nuts, or lotus seeds), etc. We are also big on presentation. Our cutlery and crockery are specially selected. You won’t find the tiniest speck of dirt on our cups and saucers. We go the extra mile to treat our customers like royalty, and it all begins with a cup of tea or coffee.”
Ankur Anand of Harsahaimal Shiamalal Jewellers, Bareilly, also has an interesting story to share related to serving a good cup of tea or coffee to customers. “Being hospitable, welcoming guests warmly by offering them a beverage, or snacks is part of our tradition, it’s in our culture. And it extends to our business as well. It goes a long way in understanding customers, and figuring out what kind of jewellery they would like. It’s not for nothing that they say a lot can happen over a cup of coffee,” he says.
“Let me share a personal experience. A lady once visited my store – she was 55-60 years of age. I offered her a cup of coffee, and we got talking for a long time. After one and a half hour of interaction with her, I showed her some of our sets, and she ended up buying jewellery worth lakhs! I also recall a case where some customers were about to walk out. I offered them a cup of coffee, and they stayed back to have it. While having coffee, we got talking. I got an idea of what their taste in jewellery was, and I showed them some pieces. They ended up buying a lot of jewellery.”
So, do not underestimate the power of serving a good cup of tea or coffee to your customers. That simple act might cement a long-term business and personal relationship with them. Here’s to tea and coffee!