Jewelry Telemarketing Campaign a Real Gem

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Diamonds and gold and a promise of free earrings are luring customers to attend a VIP jewelry show at one of Jan Bell Marketing's 449 locations within Sam's Club discount stores nationwide.

The fine-jewelry retailer's telemarketing effort of calling previous buyers and asking them to attend a show has been a glittering success. During the first quarter this year, 50 percent of the 54,000 customers called agreed to attend a show; of that, 25 percent actually showed up and purchased jewelry, with sales averaging $250-$300 per person.

The campaign's success rests in the company's relationship with its customers -- Sam's Club members who have previously purchased jewelry from Jan Bell's store counter -- according to Brent Reck, account manager, TeleQuest Teleservices. The Arlington, TX-based outsourcing company makes the calls for Jan Bell, which is located in Sunrise, FL.

"The positive responses [from customers] generate excitement [for the telemarketers] and facilitate effective communication," said Reck. "It's a nice pick-me-up campaign that the telemarketers love to participate in."

Jan Bell has had a 50 percent increase in sales since the campaign's inception a year ago. The company reported $247.9 million in revenues for this past fiscal year, which ended in January, a 2 percent increase from the previous fiscal year.

According to Amos Magliocco, telemarketing manager for Jan Bell, the company has a limited selection of styles, which they turn over approximately six or seven times a year. This works well with the campaign.

When telemarketing reps call customers, they refer to Sam's Club Fine Jewelry rather than using the name Jan Bell. The reps are not allowed to push customers to attend and no rebuttals are permitted except for a polite closing telling the customer that, should they change their mind, they can still attend the show.

"It's a key element to the [customer] relationship with Jan Bell, and ultimately Sam's Club, that we maintain a flawless service level record," said Magliocco. "If [Sam's] started to get complaints from the customers, they could make one phone call and stop the telemarketing campaign." Thus far it has not been an issue. "We have received no [telemarketing] complaints."

Shows, which are special displays and promotions of new merchandise, are held at five sites per day. Calls are made 7-10 days prior to each show. The predictive dialer TeleQuest employs stops dialing a particular region and begins another when the quota of 300 attendees has been reached. An average of 9,000 calls are made weekly.

Customers are given incentive to attend a show with the offer of free pearl cluster earrings, which they receive on site after they've given their VIP code given by the telemarketer and Sam's membership card. Their information is automatically entered into the database, which contains names of three-quarters of a million previous buyers. Each purchase is recorded as well.

"We know who came and how much they purchased," said Magliocco. This helps Jan Bell determine the campaign's effectiveness.

The company decided to outsource based on a need for increased efficiency.

"Before we hired TeleQuest in June of last year, we were doing the promotions in-house," said Magliocco. Employees at individual locations would begin to call customers a week before the event from records of previous buyers they had collected on index cards. "It was not real efficient. The employees were not trained to be telemarketers. Phone calls were not supervised or scripted and were dialed manually during the day [in between] waiting on retail customers that were coming to the counter."

Last year the company gathered the three-quarter million index cards from all its in-store jewelry displays and developed a single database, a six-month long process. Then it chose TeleQuest to take care of the calls.

"The first thing that impressed me was their knowledge of retail industry," said Magliocco. "Along with their knowledge of teleservices, they were coming up with incredible ideas for driving sales."

Jan Bell will be expanding as it is finalizing a deal to acquire luxury Southeast jewelry chain Mayor's Jewelers, Coral Gables, FL, for $92.8 million.
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