Very few jewelers can say they’ve gone from selling jewelry from a horse and buggy to doing it all online and over text. Lux Bond & Green, a family-owned jeweler with five locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts, is one of them. In 1898, Morris A. Green started operating his fine jewelry business out of a horse-drawn cart, repairing and selling gold and silver jewelry including pocket watches and gold eye frames on the streets of downtown Waterbury, Connecticut. More than a century later, Lux Bond & Green is one of the longest continuously operating jewelers in the United States.
“Being family owned is pretty important to us,” Andrea Mascaro, Marketing & Advertising Director at Lux Bond & Green, told us. “But I’m not so sure it’s important to our customers anymore. What seems to be important to them is the level of service they receive and the level of attention they get.”
Lux Bond & Green is a business with a rich history. While they’re still rooted in their tradition and core values, they haven’t let that keep them from adapting to the rapidly changing technology environment—especially during a global pandemic. When COVID-19 hit the U.S., it not only accelerated their need to adapt, but also changed their perspective of how they view their business.“The movement with COVID and everybody starting to shop online more has changed our perspective,” Andrea told us. “It’s made us realize that we’re really a technology company in the jewelry industry.” When people started to go into quarantine in the spring of 2020, Lux Bond & Green was left with five physical locations and zero foot traffic. That was a major problem. But Andrea and her team quickly began to see it more as an opportunity to embrace change.
“The luxury market expects top priority customer service,” Andrea told us. “It was demanded of us that we needed to figure out how to make our customers happier.”
What specific problems were you facing as a business?
Lack of online reviews.
“Everything was starting to move online and we needed a better online presence. We work with a digital media company, and one of their suggestions was that we needed to step up our Google reviews to drive more traffic to our website, getting out there and spreading the word through the internet.”
Losing website traffic and sales.
“In the beginning, our website was just a channel for people to look and connect, not necessarily shop. It has become more apparent as the years go on and lifestyles change that the website is another store. It’s another experience altogether. Our goal was to make our website feel like you’re entering into one of our stores.”
Insufficient response times.
“Our customers were looking for ease of use. They were looking for quick responses. They wanted things done quickly. We work with certain luxury brands that require a certain level of experience and service. They require us to respond on all of our channels, including social media, in under seven minutes.
Difficulty managing communications for multiple locations.
“People were already communicating through their cell phones, including all of our sales associates to their customers. And so it became something that could get out of control quickly if there wasn’t any way to monitor it or guide it.”
Difficulty navigating digital transformation.
“We’ve tried to take this omni-channel branding approach of luxury service. The in-store experience is very white glove. It was a challenge for us to take that and move it to our other platforms, like texting, the website, and our social media.”
Outdated payment process.
“During COVID, people didn’t want to exchange their credit card with someone, even in the store. And regardless of COVID, nobody likes having to put in their credit card information online or over the phone, especially now that we’ve all grown accustomed to things like Apple Pay and other one-touch methods. We quickly realized that we needed a faster, more secure way to collect payments from customers.”
How have you used Podium to solve those problems?
Collecting more than 1,000 reviews via text.
“It’s been wonderful. We have hundreds if not thousands of five-star reviews now. And it’s been a great tool in terms of feedback to know either where we’re missing the mark, if we are, or how great we’re doing and what customers like the most.”
Improving website experience and collecting 1,687 Webchat leads.
“With Podium Webchat, if a customer selects a store, the message then goes to the location manager or whoever they deem responsible. And they then assign the conversation to someone who’s our watch specialist, or someone who’s a good diamond buyer, or something to that effect.”
“If we didn’t have [Webchat], and a customer had a question about something, I’m sure they would go somewhere else. If we lose that touch point, then we’re probably going to lose that customer. We certainly have found that we’re getting more conversions because it’s easier to guide people online when they have questions, as opposed to just letting them click off the website.”
Improving response times and overall communications.
“Responding to our customers before we had texting? It was really difficult. It was a phone call. And so when you’ve got people on the phone and on the [sales] floor and they’re working and now they have to come off the floor and make a phone call, whereas podium allows us to have their cell phone and their computer stations around our stores where they can log on and respond, or they can go on their texts and go, “Oh, you know, so-and-so customer just texted me. He’s looking for a baby gift. Let me go find something that might work and send him a picture. So it’s been very helpful in completing that white-glove branding experience throughout all of our platforms. We respond to all text messages, all social media, all emails from customers within 10 minutes”
Managing communications for multiple locations.
“Podium has become such an integral part of our business at this point in time because we’re able to watch our teams communicate with their customers and we’re able to see how quickly they’re responding. It gives us something to motivate them as well. We send out a weekly report that we get from podium via email and say, ‘Hey, great job responding to these inquiries and text messages.”
Streamlining the payment process and experience, collecting $4.2M.
“One of the ways for us to succeed in business is to keep ahead of the times. And so for us to explore Podium Payments was just kind of the next step. Our customers were looking for ease of use. They were looking for quick responses. They wanted things done quickly. And I think it was just easier for us to process payments using Podium as opposed to coming into the store and swiping their card or going online and entering it in. it was just the quicker of the two.
Everyone has their phones—they’re such an important tool for all of us. It made our customers’ lives easier, it made us easier to work with, and it helped expedite the process for us. You have everything programmed into your phone. It’s easy. Click. Send. I’m done. So I think it becomes more of a convenience tool for us. It’s allowed us to increase our customer service and give our customers more possibilities with the way that they want to shop.”