Claire has made it in to the Jewellery Focus magazine and online!
Being the largest outlet jewellers in the UK, we sometimes attract attention from jewellery organisations and magazines and this feature came about due to the strong ties Chapelle has with the jewellery industry.
Claire was approached and asked to answer a number of questions around Chapelle Jewellery, customer services, competitors and the industry.
See her answers below or view the original interview here.
Tell us about Chapelle Jewellery.
Our first store opened in 1998 when our directors identified the opportunity of being the jewellery specialist in the out-of-town designer outlets. We provide a retail environment for brands and manufacturers to clear their overstocks and previous seasons’ models without competing with the current ranges available in town centres. I suppose it’s fair to say that brands choose us over some other retailers as they know we present their ranges in line with their branding and we don’t go for the jumble sale look. The business is now really well established with a good selection of brands.
How do you achieve dedicating to good customer service?
All the management teams complete the JET Level 1 course by the NAG which gives a really good grounding in the industry, but we believe that product knowledge isn’t everything. When we open a new shop we like the management to spend some time learning the ‘Chapelle way’ of doing things, working through product and customer training modules. We think that many people underestimate the power of asking questions and listening to the answers, so that is a definite focus of ours. Service with a smile is a real cliché but building rapport and establishing trust is really what it’s all about.
As our business relies on one-to-one selling being able to listen is important, as is giving our customers the confidence to take their time and ask questions. The ‘sit down areas’ in all our stores provide a relaxed setting away from the main serving area of the shop. More often than not the kettle is put on and the customers relax with a cuppa whilst they’re browsing our range. We call this our ‘Champagne Service’ (but we’re not actually allowed to serve champagne).
What advice would you give to someone starting in the industry?
Whatever role you’re interested in always spend some time seeing things from the customers’ perspective; it’s good to go in to other jewellers and experience their service but also see how other industries do things too. I’m often seen browsing jewellers but I also watch beauty consultants in department stores. They’re working in a very competitive environment and serve one on one so I find it can be a real eye opener seeing how they do things.
There are some retailers who are definitely doing things right and the jewellery trade relies on good one-to-one selling, so if you’ve got an idea of what you like and don’t as a customer it’ll definitely help. I think that even if you’re working in an office-based role you should always gain experience of being on the shop floor. Understanding how the store teams work and how a shop operates as a whole really helps you have an appreciation of the challenges and have a good overall awareness.
What do you class as the biggest change to the industry since your inception?
The internet. It has made comparing prices and browsing easier for customers particularly for watches. It does throw up challenges for jewellery as web shoppers aren’t always told the weight and sizes of pieces, so comparisons can be harder. Personally I think the web is great for browsing but you can’t beat feeling an item of jewellery before making the decision to buy. I mean, jewellery is an emotion-based purchase and it’s nice to hold it and see it in person.
What makes you stand out from competitors?
I would say it’s our strategy of offering the value prices in a quality environment through enthusiastic and knowledgeable teams. Although we’re discounted we don’t present our ranges in a cheap way; we aim to have a good selection of products across the range. We want people who buy from us to leave knowing they got a good deal but weren’t compromised with the service or the variety on offer.
What does the future hold for Chapelle Jewellery?
There’ll be some changes behind the scenes, thanks to new technologies, but basically we will continue to do the same but hopefully better. We’ll be consolidating our position as the leading outlet jewellers and I’m sure there’ll be some more jewellery and watch brands joining our portfolio in the coming years.