HenneberryPat Henneberry In the world of jewelry retail, the term “clienteling” has achieved buzzword status lately.

Let’s be honest; I’ve been teaching clienteling for 25 years … it’s not new. As a result of this new-found popularity, the meaning of the word has become blurred and obscured in a fog of hype. Let’s expose some of these myths so we can define what it really is.

Clienteling defined
We should look at it from a “business value” perspective, meaning that to truly qualify as clienteling, the solution must solve pertinent business issues while providing value--a return on your investment.

cli·en·tel·ing [klî-Ən-tel-ing] 
 1. A system to manage customer engagement business processes for bringing customers into your store, providing an exceptional in-store shopping experience, and keeping your customers coming back for more.
 Example: Sales increased after we began using clienteling to improve the customer experience in our stores.

This business process is circular in nature and delivers real business value by optimizing customer relationships to build loyalty, increase customer spend, grow store revenue and reinforce selling best practices for sales associates. In addition to managing the process, a true clienteling solution allows you to monitor and measure effectiveness for continuous improvement.

Elements of a clienteling business process
--Targeted and relevant customer engagement and outreach
--Empowering sales associates to provide an exceptional in-store customer experience
--Relevant and timely follow-up with the customer
--Integrated monitoring and measurement

Clienteling’s first goal is to reach out and engage customers in a personalized and relevant manner 
to drive traffic into the store. This is one of the most commonly absent capabilities in solutions labeled “clienteling.”

Targeted and relevant customer outreach means identifying key information about a given customer and taking appropriate action. A simple example of this might be triggered by the introduction of a new brand in the retailer’s stores--knowing that certain customers have a preference for a specific brand or have made a purchase from
 that brand in the past, it would be a good practice to notify them of the new product introduction.

Customer contact could be initiated in one or more forms. If, for instance, your customers are segmented into tiers based on Recency-Frequency-Monetary (RFM) values, you might choose to simply send an email for those classified as mid-tier customers. For your most valuable top-tier customers, targeted outreach might involve creating a to-do for un
assigned sales associate to make a personal phone call to the customer.

There is so much to discuss in clienteling. There are some great organizations in our jewelry industry that make this their specialty, and I recommend you seek them out and stay away from the new iPad apps (and I love my apps.)

Clienteling isn’t just a product app either--you need to be able to have key access to information about your customers, and you can’t miss the chance to grab today’s shoppers. Missing a chance to build loyalty limits the value of these “save the sale” solutions.

Today’s customers expect you to know all about their interactions with your brand, but simply knowing is not enough.

With targeted customer engagement and outreach, a clienteling solution increases customer traffic into the stores, thereby increasing store sales.

By empowering sales associates to provide an exceptional in-store customer experience, it will increase store sales, and with relevant customer follow-up, a clienteling solution will improve customer satisfaction and build brand loyalty. All of these factors ultimately drive an increase in customer lifetime value for your store.

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