Good to gain jewellery knowledge for a while but not for the long term
Sales Assistant (Former Employee) – England – 6 May 2015
Please note I am also writing this review for anyone interested in the job here. Not just for those interested in gaining more experience in jewellery.
I already passed a jewellery course diploma, JET 1 which stands for Jewellery Education and Training and in future wanted to gain the next qualification, JET 2 which opens many doors in the industry. On the first day I was introduced to a Management Training Scheme which enables you to learn the rules, regulations and sales techniques in the store which is useful. This would last from 3-6 or so months to complete and ties in whether you pass your probation. What I didn't learn and in hindsight should have asked was whether I would have the opportunity to take part in the JET 2 but the manager said the shop doesn't pay towards that course, only JET 1. The only way to progress is within the company but to some that is to be expected as with most shops so you can climb up the management ladder.
On the first day aside from being introduced to the MTS, only shadowing a fellow member of staff to learn what to say to customers and where things are for etc. You do this for a week or so then you learn on your own.
Every week you have to take part in an Observation sheet where a member of staff secretly witnesses you ticks certain boxes on the sheet, e.g. did I ask how much the customer wanted to spend, did I introduce any other items, did I ask who's it for, is at a gift etc. The sheets are good guidelines on how you interact and how you can sell well however I felt being assessed in this way was tiresome and lacked certainmore... trust.
Another thing you have to do is not only hit your weekly targets which is good fun as it motivates you to become a better seller but you also have to offer a certain product when selling an item. These can be anything from cleaning products to a very cheap looking gift bag that sell from £1.50. This is called a link sale and have to hit above 50% each week which can be hard considering people are not interested. I would say from the time I was there only half the time I hit the link sale target. If I failed to hit these targets I would informed by the manager or under manager. The shop's rule regarding this is very strict as it is most important for the company and KPI targets.
I understand if you keep failing to hit the link sale targets you get a letter of concern. Any more of these then you could lose your job. The shop understandably takes sales very seriously as many high street stores are close to closing down. So a shop of this kind relies heavily on this and selling at competitive prices. The items of jewellery and other bits on the whole are poor quality as many can break when customers are bought even if it is an expensive diamond ring. At first I thought this was a coincidence but this kept happening throughout my time here. My manager just kept saying that customers don't look after the jewellery properly.
A lot of the time staff were made not to give out any refunds or replacements and instead most of the time be inspected at head office and customers would lose patience and get angry for which I did sympathise. My previous job at an independents took customer service very seriously and was almost the priority but because selling was so important here, excellent customer service was thrown out of the window. I was polite and well mannered at my previous employers and I was told to' man up and grow a pair of balls' towards unhappy customers here.
Indeed I did learn certain things that I hadn't before such as replacing watch batteries. And that was nice to be given responsibility on certain jobs like these. However you are 95% of the time expected to be on the shop floor selling which although I love doing I felt it is nice to do other jobs from time to time. Mostly the under manager or assistant managers would do other jobs but I felt this was an excuse to not be on the shop floor at all.
The manager on the other hand virtually did nothing at all and just delegated people around and sat on his chair on his phone and treated the staff like a football team. The management was a bit bizarre that there would be a Manager, Under Manager then a few assistant managers then simply sales assistants. This is seen as a positive sign that career progression can happen although really it is really easy to climb up the ladder there. The managers are poor role models and have even openly said that they don't care much about their job and just do it anyway as a job is a job. I couldn't believe the honesty of them and it just didn't motivate me in any way to progress here. The under manager only worked 4 days a week from 10-2 as well. I felt this was wasting a place for someone that really wanted to work in that position. Also to add, as a sales assistant, I felt I knew more than one assistant manager that worked there when it came to customer service and product knowledge.
My fellow co workers on the other hand were a joy to work with and very helpful. They were very fun and professional at the same time and got on well with them.Some were keen to progress there but mostly to get paid and look for other jobs in the mean time or some simply worked at weekends when they were at school.
I would recommend the shop to someone who is at a young age and just needs the money or maybe to someone who is a rookie in the industry and wants to learn the basics. Making some friends through staff AND customers were the most fun part of the job.
The worst part of the job is probably the rotas as each week it would change as this particular store opened 7 days a week. If you are getting a bus to travel this could be an issue. Another concern would be the lunches. Each person has a time on the day to go on lunches and they usually start from 11 am and this would be too early if you only started at 9. They would go on to 2 pm or so which is too late if you started at 9 and this could be physically tiring if that happened frequently to which it did at times. Sometimes we can change the lunch times but mostly not if the shop is busy.
After this long and hopefully helpful and detailed essay, in a nutshell it is a good enough place to work for a starter if you want a career in retail as you learn certain techniques. If you are keen on progressing in the jewellery industry then avoid at all costs. On a personal level I want to work in an independents again as the working environment is better however these shops are fading away and you will mostly see these type of shops. Maybe shops such as Ernest Jones and Goldsmiths would be a good option.less
Good enough salary if you have a JET 1, in house training on rules and regulations, becoming a better sales person
Poor management, Not a decent level of career progression, No future jewellery qualifications needed
Poor management and a very unprofessional way of dealing with customers and staff from said manager. The lack of people skills and management qualities really show. Manager showed very little willingness to help or support staff and the moral in the store was reflective of that.
Great discount, lovely staff
Exceptionally poor management and very unprofessional