Ralf Kircher is Group Executive Editor for SmartWork Media, overseeing INSTORE and INDESIGN magazines. He thinks the perfect jewelry-store experience is one that doesn't make him feel like the bumbling romantic his wife knows him to be.
INSTORE’s April issue should be appearing in mailboxes over the next few days, and you can already see our digital edition here. Our cover photo is a bit of a first for us in a couple of ways. Not only does it feature a spectacular dress made from 14K yellow and white gold by Midas Chain, it is one of the few times we as an editorial team have been directly involved in a cover shoot — and the first time we were part of it while it was happening 10,000 miles away. As many readers know, the SmartWork Media team is spread out throughout the world, with offices in New York, Chicago and Bangkok, and staff in California, Texas and India.
After reading a story in the New York Post this week, I am so glad my proposal is safely and successfully behind me. The Post story about a trend that has men hiring event-planning companies to orchestrate their proposals at price tags of as much as $50,000 was enough to send shivers up my spine.
Back in my newspaper reporting days, I had the opportunity to spend a good bit of time at a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, not staying there — I was on a journalist’s salary, of course — but tagging around behind the scenes, finding out why this particular Ritz-Carlton made it to the list of world’s 10 best hotels time and time again.
We’re in the final days of putting together the Show Guide for the SMART Show Chicago, and I’m finally getting a peek behind the scenes as to what’s new this year. A lot of people don’t know that I spend the majority of my time putting together the magazines and only get hints about the show, until it comes time for me to oversee the Show Guide.
We at INSTORE are always looking to inspire (and, OK, for inspiration ourselves), so we often share examples of best practices. But sometimes examples of worst practices can be just as enlightening. So, today, I’ve been having fun commiserating with the people who endured the worst customer experiences in a bunch of fields. (And here I thought it was just me!) Here are a five examples, as well as some links to more tales of customer woe. Just see if you don’t learn something about your own customer service. Oh, and, hey, feel free to share your examples of the worst customer service, and they’d better not be from your store!
A few times a year in this space, I have the privilege of announcing that INSTORE or INDESIGN has won another prestigious award. I’m hoping to make that very announcement in about a month’s time when the 59th Jesse H. Neal Awards are named.
I don’t know about you, but I’m rather thickheaded when it comes to using social media well to promote your business.
In the news this week was a story of extraordinary customer service that netted immeasurable goodwill among customers and people like me, who’d never heard of the place.
FORTUNE magazine just came out with its “Best Companies to Work For” list. (See the full list here.)
This came on the heels of our own office’s quarterly outing last week, during which we spent the day pitted against each other in paintball wars. Despite the fact our past outings have included karaoke night, go-kart racing and zip-lining, we were disappointed not to make FORTUNE’s list. Maybe next year...
A couple of stories I’ve come across recently see some trends emerging in the broader retail world, some of which could have an impact on how jewelry retailers do business — or should start doing business — and are worth sharing here.