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Dialogues Are Forever

Customer reviews power word of mouth for Helzberg Diamonds
  • November 22 2011

Communication, like a fine diamond, is multifaceted.

Perhaps nobody knows this better than Lisa Dick, manager of online and social media for fine jewelry retailer Helzberg Diamonds. “We use real people in our TV commercials and we have genuine conversations on Facebook and Twitter,” Dick says. “We can say as much as we want about the quality, selection and price of our product, but nothing is as powerful as having the customer agree.”

Since July 2007, Helzberg has used an online “Ratings & Reviews” system powered by Bazaarvoice. In just over four years, the jewelry purveyor has gathered nearly 10,000 customer reviews—with
an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.

“Reviews are so powerful because they really represent the voice of the customer,” Dick says. “We wanted to bring those voices of real people, via Helzberg.com, into our stores through digital signage and into all our marketing efforts.”

According to Dick, this communication technology has turned data into doing, inspiring the diamond company to con¬tinuously improve its customer service. Integrating user-generated content with in-store marketing programs provides store associates with talking points and product focus. Engagement with “Ratings & Reviews” content becomes a part of associate training—when associates know what specific benefits appeal to existing customers, they can focus on those attributes when communicating to new customers.

But knowing the real-life stories about people who’ve purchased Helzberg diamonds isn’t just about targeted marketing to customers. It’s about the company’s desire to create authentic relationships among the many different people connected to its products. Associates, existing customers, brand advocates, diamond buyers, the bachelor picking out a ring for his bride-to-be, the daughter looking for the perfect charm for
her mother’s favorite bracelet—by reading or writing reviews, all these people can become a part of the online conversation.

“If we’re putting out jewelry that doesn’t meet our customers’ expectations, we find that out through our reviews,” Dick says. “We change our merchandise to be more in line with what our customers are asking for.”

She cites Expressions, Helzberg’s line of sterling silver, glass, enamel and crystal charms, as an example of a product line that has been shaped by consumer word of mouth.

“We get a lot of feedback about charms people would like to see or improvements we could make on current charms, and we really take that to heart,” Dick says. “We always let our merchandise team know when something is getting rates lower than expected and we work to make it better.”

Helzberg has more than 230 stores nationwide and has recently started including the customer reviews collected on Helzberg.com in all of its in-store digital displays. The company has also integrated the user-generated content from “Ratings & Reviews” across its other marketing channels—direct mail catalogs and email and website campaigns.

“We are a multi-channel retailer, and it’s incredibly important to us to make sure our customers know that they have all channels available to them,” Dick says. “Pulling these quotes from our online channels into our stores helps reinforce that multichannel cohesiveness.”

Put another way, reviews allow new customers to connect directly with existing customers, some of whom are brand advocates because of the positive experience they’ve had with Helzberg. “Reviews help illustrate how purchasing a product can create personal moments that truly let someone know they are loved,” Dick says. “The best way to get the kind of direct feedback we want is through our reviews.” 

 

Helzberg Diamonds' ads feature quotes of customer reviews from its website