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No more online certs at James Allen

the_mother_thing

Ideal_Rock
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Mar 2, 2013
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5,639
However, the main reason I won't ever buy a diamond at James Allen again isn't an ethical one at all. It's because I don't trust anyone to choose as good a diamond for my needs as I would.
:clap: DITTO!

My concern about having JA chat reps assist were confirmed for me this morning. I initiated a chat session via the inspection button on a 5th stone candidate, and asked the rep if the candidate diamond presented any light leakage. The rep said it would have ‘slight leakage’, and explained the pavilion angle was just outside ideal range (no mention of the fact it also was a bad combo with the CA). The rep did email me the GIA cert while we discussed the diamond.

When the rep made the diamond smaller in the chat window to the more IRL size, the leakage was even more apparent than it was in the zoom/big view. If I bought this diamond based on the reps “slight leakage” assessment, when I got it in hand, it’d have been an immediate return. When I commented how much more apparent the leakage was, the rep then agreed it was not really “slight” at all, then attempted to transfer me to another rep, which I did not have time nor desire for.

CA: 36
PA: 41.2
The diamond scored a 5.4 HCA :shock:
That’s not ‘slight’; it’s Niagara Falls.
1AB9E5ED-DB2B-489E-A12F-8CCCFE172C2B.jpeg
3B184DFF-1A4B-4FFC-AE77-37E9BF966789.jpeg
 

Rfisher

Brilliant_Rock
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Oct 19, 2013
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1,534
Attempted to switch you to a different rep?
I can see it now.
Just like at some salons you can pick from different levels of stylist education/experience. And the service sliding fees are approximately matched.
When you call in to JA, the phone prompt will ask you to what extent you want your sales associate to be educated?
 

Gussie

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 20, 2017
Messages
2,337
The last time I bought a diamond from James Allen (about 2 weeks ago) the sales person told me I'd chosen a lovely stone. Said it had lovely dimensions and a really nice "window". Very taken aback, I said..."Window??" They said - yes - the flat part at the top of the diamond. And I TRULY didn't mean to be a smart arse, but I was just so taken aback, because window to me, in gems, means something COMPLETELY different - and it ain't a good thing! So, after a second, when it registered what they meant, I said "The table?" And they said "Yes - the window, the table, the part you look through at the top."

So can I suggest that the sales team who are "very, very good at what they do and enjoy finding great diamonds and sharing them with customers" could use a little work.

However, the main reason I won't ever buy a diamond at James Allen again isn't an ethical one at all. It's because I don't trust anyone to choose as good a diamond for my needs as I would. For instance, say I want a pair of pears. You know how many diamonds you have to peruse to find that? And you might be thinking - ok - I'll get something in the 2 x .3ct range. And then you find nothing. So you think - ok - maybe 2 x .25ct? And you get one good one. So then you go up a little and find one .27ct stone, but its ratios are wrong in matching the other stone. So then you go down a little and find a .23ct stone - but its table is too flat. So, after an hour of looking, you think - could 2 x .35ct stones work? Maaaaaybe - so long as they're cut deep and their spread isn't quite as large. So then you peruse all the .35ct pears with extra depth. And so on and so on and so on. And I just categorically do not believe that someone will spend hours looking for my purchase like I would. Nor are they inside my head sufficiently to know what level of flexibility I have. Nor am I going to get a sales assistant to work through the entire inventory, phone call after phone call, to find what I want. And I realize - that makes me one of those elite "engineer or medical student" (seriously?) customers YoungPapa spoke about. But I'm still a customer, bottom line.

So in the final analysis, the truth is, James Allen can no longer serve me. They simply can't. The time it takes is prohibitive. And they should probably put a red flag next to my phone number in case it comes up one day and the voice on the other end says "So, I'm looking for a pair of pears...."

ETA I did think the "window" thing was a classic, tho. Too small an incident to share here before, yet somehow it now seems relevant, since these would be the people picking our stones.
:eek2::eek2::eek2: sounds like a jeweler who commented that my ACA was a beautiful OEC. I assume because the setting had a vintage feel. :roll
 

LisaRN

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
3,071
I have never bought a diamond from JA. This forum has done much to educate consumers against making purchase decisions without using a reputable lab report because it is so valuable in determining the performance of a diamond.

It appears JA is making more sales from uneducated consumers rather than educated consumers since they claim many people don't look at the GIA reports or don't understand the reports. And if talking to a sales rep prevents returns then it seems that JA will experience less returns with their sales. I don't think removing the reports encourages diamond education, but IMHO that seems to be the intention.
 

aac2013

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2014
Messages
373
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. For me personally, I loathe talking to customer service via phone. If I want sales associate interaction, I go to a brick and mortar store. If I want no interaction, I buy online. Having less information does not make me call customer service, rather it makes me go to another website. There are no shortage of reputable vendors for virtually any transaction I want to make.
 

Laila619

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Apr 28, 2008
Messages
11,524
Value-driven shoppers who want certs will just go elsewhere. I think Blue Nile will snag a lot of former JA customers. BN is really impressing me with how much they have improved over the years.

@YoungPapa I hope this works out well for you, and if not, you can always change it back.
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
8,235
:wall:
The last time I bought a diamond from James Allen (about 2 weeks ago) the sales person told me I'd chosen a lovely stone. Said it had lovely dimensions and a really nice "window". Very taken aback, I said..."Window??" They said - yes - the flat part at the top of the diamond. And I TRULY didn't mean to be a smart arse, but I was just so taken aback, because window to me, in gems, means something COMPLETELY different - and it ain't a good thing! So, after a second, when it registered what they meant, I said "The table?" And they said "Yes - the window, the table, the part you look through at the top."

So can I suggest that the sales team who are "very, very good at what they do and enjoy finding great diamonds and sharing them with customers" could use a little work.

However, the main reason I won't ever buy a diamond at James Allen again isn't an ethical one at all. It's because I don't trust anyone to choose as good a diamond for my needs as I would. For instance, say I want a pair of pears. You know how many diamonds you have to peruse to find that? And you might be thinking - ok - I'll get something in the 2 x .3ct range. And then you find nothing. So you think - ok - maybe 2 x .25ct? And you get one good one. So then you go up a little and find one .27ct stone, but its ratios are wrong in matching the other stone. So then you go down a little and find a .23ct stone - but its table is too flat. So, after an hour of looking, you think - could 2 x .35ct stones work? Maaaaaybe - so long as they're cut deep and their spread isn't quite as large. So then you peruse all the .35ct pears with extra depth. And so on and so on and so on. And I just categorically do not believe that someone will spend hours looking for my purchase like I would. Nor are they inside my head sufficiently to know what level of flexibility I have. Nor am I going to get a sales assistant to work through the entire inventory, phone call after phone call, to find what I want. And I realize - that makes me one of those elite "engineer or medical student" (seriously?) customers YoungPapa spoke about. But I'm still a customer, bottom line.

So in the final analysis, the truth is, James Allen can no longer serve me. They simply can't. The time it takes is prohibitive. And they should probably put a red flag next to my phone number in case it comes up one day and the voice on the other end says "So, I'm looking for a pair of pears...."

ETA I did think the "window" thing was a classic, tho. Too small an incident to share here before, yet somehow it now seems relevant, since these would be the people picking our stones.
I did this the other day perusing .30 (or whatever the lowest carat rounds they carry— I’d have to check my notes for specifics) and I was looking for 3-4 of them with matching depths, and I like smaller tables (WINDOWS :wall:) etc.

Forget it. I’m not calling and wasting my time talking to sales associates who know less than I do.
 

DiamondsAndDior

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 12, 2019
Messages
62
Honestly even if JA changes back, I still wouldn’t buy from them because I don’t like their values at all. I’m the type of person who’d rather spend a little more money on the same thing if I know my dollars are supporting a good business.

I actually haven’t really looked at BN inventory! It’s great to hear that PS has good things to say about them. I’ll probably start looking over there.
 

Lucy-In-The-Sky

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Sep 14, 2017
Messages
18
I primarily lurk on PS and rarely post (mainly due to time constraints).

This certainly feels like a business strategy to target less educated buyers and try to lasso them into hard-sell situations (ie, get them on the phone with a CSR who may or may not know much about diamonds.). I prefer transparency and education and I prioritize spending my money with companies who promote these values.

The whole "Get the customer on the phone" schtick just feels so antiquated. Most of the people I know deliberately seek out vendors and professionals where they don't have to make a phone call. We order our groceries through an app, make hairdresser appointments via an app or text message, order takeout food or food delivery online or through an app. I even do most of my communicating with my doctors' offices through an app. I hate the phone and hate having to make phone calls.

While my own diamond taste runs almost exclusively to OECs and OMCs, I've helped a lot of my coworkers (mostly engineers, ha!) when they've wanted to buy or upgrade a diamond. Makes me sad that I won't be recommending JA anymore.
 

Laila619

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Apr 28, 2008
Messages
11,524
Yeah, the phone thing is bizarre. Unless they hired a bunch more reps, can you imagine the wait times when you call in now?! Ain't nobody got time these days to be on hold for an hour.
 

SparkleFest

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 12, 2016
Messages
161
Not a smart move. I would never have purchased my diamond without the GIA being available while I browsed and compared. Shame. I won't be getting another one until they change this back.

One of the reasons I didn't go with the other company (can't recall now which one but they sell lab diamonds, one of the vendors recommended here) was the sales lady said she would have to request videos of the 4 stones I was interested in and couldn't even guarantee she could get video for all of them. Sorry, but JA has the video right there, what a total waste of my time........so they didn't get my business. People shopping online have become accustomed to having ALL the info at their fingertips.

Bad move.
 

YoungPapa

Shiny_Rock
Trade
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Jun 18, 2002
Messages
437
Hi folks,

I appreciate all of the responses and will continue to monitor the thread and share your feedback with my team.

I do want to address this idea that we are targeting less educated buyers.

There is no doubt that buyers who come from/through Pricescope make excellent purchase decisions. That happens because of the incredible feedback and advice they receive from this forum. There is a large audience, however, that does not find PS - and often does their diamond selection based only on charts of proportions or other information they find on Google. By emphasizing the way a diamond looks (through our videos) and demphasizing proportions, our intent is to help those customers buy better cut diamonds. It's not so different than when PS advises people to request an IS or ASET. You're telling them to evaluate the diamonds visual performance - not the specs on paper.

This is especially true for fancy shapes, where (I hope) we can agree that there is no such thing as a single set of depth/table numbers that are required for optimal light return.

With that said (and trying not to repeat myself), this is a test and we are willing and able to make changes. I am excited, however, about the opportunity to help more people buy better cut diamonds, and as counterintuitive as it seems - our approach may be exactly what we need to do to reach that goal.
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 29, 2012
Messages
8,235
Hi folks,

I appreciate all of the responses and will continue to monitor the thread and share your feedback with my team.

I do want to address this idea that we are targeting less educated buyers.

There is no doubt that buyers who come from/through Pricescope make excellent purchase decisions. That happens because of the incredible feedback and advice they receive from this forum. There is a large audience, however, that does not find PS - and often does their diamond selection based only on charts of proportions or other information they find on Google. By emphasizing the way a diamond looks (through our videos) and demphasizing proportions, our intent is to help those customers buy better cut diamonds. It's not so different than when PS advises people to request an IS or ASET. You're telling them to evaluate the diamonds visual performance - not the specs on paper.

This is especially true for fancy shapes, where (I hope) we can agree that there is no such thing as a single set of depth/table numbers that are required for optimal light return.

With that said (and trying not to repeat myself), this is a test and we are willing and able to make changes. I am excited, however, about the opportunity to help more people buy better cut diamonds, and as counterintuitive as it seems - our approach may be exactly what we need to do to reach that goal.
This is assuming you know you have some really crappy diamonds in your database..... (as many large drop shippers do)
 

Miss Marple

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Messages
187
@YoungPapa--I really appreciate your willingness to post your business reasons. It's very interesting insight.

Personally, like a lot of PSers, im a consumer who does a lot of research and wants a lot of information. I can appreciate that not all consumers fall into this category and the lower information consumer seems to be JA's target market.

Fortunately the market allows for a lot of vendors and a lot of different business models. It's unfortunate that JA made a decision that does not suit my consumer preferences but I will be very interested to see how this plays out.
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 29, 2012
Messages
8,235
@YoungPapa--I really appreciate your willingness to post your business reasons. It's very interesting insight.

Personally, like a lot of PSers, im a consumer who does a lot of research and wants a lot of information. I can appreciate that not all consumers fall into this category and the lower information consumer seems to be JA's target market.

Fortunately the market allows for a lot of vendors and a lot of different business models. It's unfortunate that JA made a decision that does not suit my consumer preferences but I will be very interested to see how this plays out.
Yeah, I mean wth. Right? It’s not my business and it must be nice to be in a position where you can accommodate a certain amount of lost business for some kind of strange experiment. But, I’m only a two small business owner, so what do I know?
 

gm89uk

Brilliant_Rock
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May 26, 2015
Messages
1,393
By emphasizing the way a diamond looks (through our videos) and demphasizing proportions, our intent is to help those customers buy better cut diamonds. It's not so different than when PS advises people to request an IS or ASET. You're telling them to evaluate the diamonds v
To the uneducated average consumer, which diamonds looks appealing on a highly magnified video without stereo view will habe little bearing to its real life visual performance. People may like highly magnified 41.2+ pavilions with washed out arrows because they don't like too much black under the table, thinking this will give them a brighter performer in real life.

JA videos are great, but they are not a way to select well cut diamonds in isolation. The camera obstruction, the monocular view and lack of various lighting provide hard limitations for assessing and selecting diamond beauty without further info. Additionally clouds show poorly. Countless consumers select the cleanest looking si1 and SI2 not realising a large diffuse cloud is the primary inclusion. They are visible in the videos but more subtle than in real life

What people can understand is a range of numbers that are bad and to avoid on a report, and with time, correlate that to what a beautifully cut diamond should look like.
 
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DiamondsAndDior

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 12, 2019
Messages
62
am excited, however, about the opportunity to help more people buy better cut diamonds,
Not sure how removing key information and forcing customers to contact sales reps will help people buy better cut diamonds. I have used JA chat before and though the sales reps seem nice, they definitely do not provide useful advice on the same level as PS. In fact, I’ve gotten contradictory answers on the same stone from two different sales reps. If the goal is really to help people buy better cut diamonds, I’d add back all the certificates and proportion info, put up all the ASET/IS images that are available and direct consumers to PS for advice.
 

the_mother_thing

Ideal_Rock
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Mar 2, 2013
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5,639
The gist: lab reports go away in an effort to somehow appeal to less-diamond-buying-educated consumers, and the more-diamond-buying-educated-consumers don’t really matter. As someone else noted earlier, if the “uneducated” don’t care about lab reports, then why remove them? Perhaps because the real reason is bottom line (costs to provide them). It’s okay if that’s the real reason; just be honest about it. Most of us understand how business works, even at a basic level.

And forget PSers for a moment ... this does not appear to me to be a case of JA wanting to educate/help their buyers by “touching” them (via phone/chat contact); if informing buyers was the goal, more information/transparency makes sense, regardless of one’s level of diamond-knowledge, in addition to creating strategies driving toward more direct customer contact. You don’t educate someone by telling them what you think they need to hear/read; that’s programming them.

The only ‘education’ that appears to be happening here is JA now telling buyers what they should be focused on and looking at vs. sharing the “big picture”, putting buyers in the unpleasant position of “not knowing what they don’t know” to even ask about until after they commit/buy, pass the return period, stumble upon PS, and maybe find this thread.

This just feels so ‘used car salesman-like’ to me; as such, it’s simply more “mind-clean” for me to just buy/recommend elsewhere.
 

Gussie

Ideal_Rock
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2,337
It seems to me that any internet based company would want to provide education and cut information. I would not have purchased online had I not read tons of information about the added value that online vendors have as pertaining to cut (among other things). Lol, before I researched I thought cut was shape! I may be wrong but when almost anyone begins to look into a large purchase, they first use Google. Instantly a wealth of information appears about cut. By withholding information or making it hard to get, James Allen seems to be hiding something about their product.
 

Wewechew

Brilliant_Rock
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1,787
Precisely. But I think the essence of what Mr. Schultz' is trying to convey with this new schema is that they are willing to forego (temporarily perhaps) the preferences of the more educated consumer in order to reel in the exponentially greater mass of less educated potential buyers. How many times do people come to PS stating they want to buy a stone from JA only because a friend had a great experience there? What happens to all those potential JA clients if they are now directed elsewhere to legitimate super-ideal vendors? This could be really good for all the other fish in the pond....
Exactly, they are now going after the clientele that shops in the mall B&M jewelry stores. They are after a completely different customer then they used to go after.
 

2Neezers

Brilliant_Rock
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Messages
991
I think JA may be underestimating the amount of purchases that have relied on full access to GIA/AGS reports on their site. I am not even that in to diamonds and between my earrings, pendants and rings have purchased 8 loose diamonds from James Allen based on the GIA or AGS reports that were posted online. I wouldn’t have purchased them otherwise and don’t care to phone in or live chat to request a report. I would bet that thousands of individual diamonds have been purchased in the past from James Allen based on the open availability of reports on their site. I find this the most bizarre decision by JA.
 

absolutme77

Shiny_Rock
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Feb 3, 2016
Messages
184
As a less informed consumer, JA drew me to their site three years ago due to their (at the time) advanced diamond video imagery. My (now) husband and I selected a cushion diamond based on weight and color. We had purchased the first diamond, if I recalled an I VS2 completely mushy cushion with more weight than my current one. Then I found PS. And I became educated, much more so, on how on fancy cuts you need to look at dimensions, on how cushions can be brilliant or modified brilliant and the difference between a mushy, a crushed ice and a modern main. I learned how to read a lab certificate and that some labs are better than others since JA was carrying non-GIA and AGS diamonds at the time and may still do. And guess what, thanks to PS we got a much better diamond. I did chat with JA sales reps at the time and even when I was less informed, I did feel it more as a hard sell - like “oh, that’s a great diamond” and then you suggest another one and “that’s a great diamond too, you can’t go wrong with either”. If this new model is going to be like that, either via online chat or by phone and now even lacking basic information, this is a horrible business decision for JA to make. I feel bad for the uninformed consumer as it will be no better than shopping in a mall and as others have said, it will make anybody else who has an iota of information shop elsewhere which will affect JA’s bottom line.
 

TreeScientist

Brilliant_Rock
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Jan 16, 2018
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1,248
Even Costco puts the GIA certificates for their one-off rings online.

Costco.

Cost. Co.

I can order a platinum ring with a viewable GIA certificate (Costco's ring typically score surprisingly well on the HCA), a 155 pound bag of dog food, and 788 rolls of toilet paper, all from the comfort of my couch and without needing to beg an uneducated rep to just shut up about how "Amazing" the diamond is and send me the GIA certificate.

Congrats JA. Costco, a wholesale supermarket that sells everything from car tires to coffins, now offers shoppers more information for making an informed diamond-buying decision than your website, a dedicated jewelry business.

Now JA just needs a cheesy catchphrase and they'll have officially completed the transformation into a maul store like their sister companies of Jared, Kay, and Zales.
 

Gussie

Ideal_Rock
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Messages
2,337
Even Costco puts the GIA certificates for their one-off rings online.

Costco.

Cost. Co.

I can order a platinum ring with a viewable GIA certificate (Costco's ring typically score surprisingly well on the HCA), a 155 pound bag of dog food, and 788 rolls of toilet paper, all from the comfort of my couch and without needing to beg an uneducated rep to just shut up about how "Amazing" the diamond is and send me the GIA certificate.

Congrats JA. Costco, a wholesale supermarket that sells everything from car tires to coffins, now offers shoppers more information for making an informed diamond-buying decision than your website, a dedicated jewelry business.

Now JA just needs a cheesy catchphrase and they'll have officially completed the transformation into a maul store like their sister companies of Jared, Kay, and Zales.
:lol::lol::lol: as @sledge says, "that's a real knee slapper"

Thank you, @TreeScientist. I am still laughing!
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
19,818
Hi folks,

I appreciate all of the responses and will continue to monitor the thread and share your feedback with my team.

I do want to address this idea that we are targeting less educated buyers.

There is no doubt that buyers who come from/through Pricescope make excellent purchase decisions. That happens because of the incredible feedback and advice they receive from this forum. There is a large audience, however, that does not find PS - and often does their diamond selection based only on charts of proportions or other information they find on Google. By emphasizing the way a diamond looks (through our videos) and demphasizing proportions, our intent is to help those customers buy better cut diamonds. It's not so different than when PS advises people to request an IS or ASET. You're telling them to evaluate the diamonds visual performance - not the specs on paper.

This is especially true for fancy shapes, where (I hope) we can agree that there is no such thing as a single set of depth/table numbers that are required for optimal light return.

With that said (and trying not to repeat myself), this is a test and we are willing and able to make changes. I am excited, however, about the opportunity to help more people buy better cut diamonds, and as counterintuitive as it seems - our approach may be exactly what we need to do to reach that goal.
Hi folks,

No need to tag me - I saw this coming from a mile away.

So yeah, we removed the certificates from the website and are asking folks to request a copy from our CS team. I'll admit it's sorta crazy, but we've never been afraid to push the envelope and this is no exception.

At James Allen, we have a pretty good business. We sell hundreds of millions of dollars each year in diamonds, and have assisted something close to 500,000 young couples make a diamond purchase. In all that time, we've learned a few things about our customers. To start (and as unbelievable as it may sound), many people don't even look at the certificate. Seriously. And for those who do, most don't really understand what they're seeing. They might think 'Polish' is what makes a diamond beautiful, all lab reports are equal, fluorescence is always bad, or 50 other myths and misinterpretations. I'm not suggesting any of these people are dumb - they are engineers, medical students, and every other walk of life - they just aren't diamond experts (and often aren't that interested in becoming one). They have a budget, a preferred shape, and want to get the best diamond they can. For those folks, removing the reports is a nonevent, and we don't expect to tilt that needle one way or another.

Another thing that we know about our customers, however, is if they interact with our Customer Service staff, they are 10x more likely to make a purchase than someone who just browses the website unassisted. They are also 50% less likely to return or exchange their diamond because it didn't meet their expectations, and some other multiple more likely to highly recommend us to friends and family. While our CS team may not be perfect, they are still very, very good at what they do and enjoy finding great diamonds and sharing them with customers more than any other part of their job.

So put those two things together, and where do you land? Yes, I admit - 100% - this is bad for PS. But it's worth a test, which is all we're doing right now. If it works, great. If not, we can flip a switch and go back. While i don't have a crystal ball, my bet is that we'll land somewhere in the middle. Maybe the reports will be missing unless you register. Maybe we'll create an advanced filter that is hidden most of the time, but available for 'super users' like people on PS. I really don't know yet, but need a couple weeks of data to figure it out.

In the meantime, I understand that we have made it overly difficult for PS influencers to recommend us, and for that I am sorry. If history tells me anything though, it's that you guys will chastice us when we make a mistake, but cheer us when we do things right.

A few other points that I want to make clear.

We - myself, my partners and cofounders, are running the show. If you don't like the decisions we're making, you can direct that heat on me - not on Zales, Jared, or any of the other banners under the Signet umbrella. If you want to see the impact of that acquisition you won't find it at JA, but walk into a Jared and you'll find better pricing, better cuts, and a movement towards GIA reports as the new standard.

We are no longer redacting any information from the certificate copies, and any requested reports will contain all of the information - including certificate number.

We uploaded a change today that removed a bit more info than we intended. Measurements, for example, will be back online soon.

Our staff is and will continue to be noncommissioned.

We are an innovative company that literally 'invented' diamond photography and visualiziaton (at scale), and we have more to come. Emphasizing the value of our diamond imagery and expert Customer Service is part of a larger strategy that dovetails with new technology we intend to bring to market this summer.

Finally, we're not static, we value feedback, and we really do want to be the best online diamond retailer in the world. Even when we act like the opposite.
Oh, come on, Jim. You know better than to defend this silliness. I know you do.

Ditto @diamondseeker2006 . Block out the report number - put everything else back. The way to making more sales is not to remove information, or impede transparency by making it difficult to access information, but to be prescriptive about how to use that information. The “feel good” buying experience comes not from walking the only path through the forest, but from walking an enlightened path that carefully navigates you through poisonous plants and bear territory. This is Sales 101.

The statement that sales close because people connect with customer service, without substantiating how much of that apparent causality may in fact be due to the simple fact that people who contact customer service are that much more committed to the purchase, is - as @kmoro pointed out - extremely questionable.

Your new business model demands that potential consumers interact with your customer service representatives. It forces a sometimes-unwilling, sometimes-skeptical relationship on them. Rather than training your customer service representatives to be helpfully, productively, compellingly prescriptive about how to use information, you’re going to have to train them to justify what many, many internet-savvy consumers will see as a leap backward. Are your reps prepared to do that? Why would you force them into this position at all? I’ll be honest: you may think they’re some of the best in the industry - they’re simply not. And I speak not from a “technical knowledge” standpoint - I don't expect them to be subject matter experts: JA doesn’t have that sort of specialty boutique business model.

The real problems:
  1. If I call or chat in for pricing on a stone, I may get two different answers from two different representatives. (Yes, this has happened, more than once).
  2. If I call in or chat in, I should never be given misinformation. “I don’t know, let me check on that for you” is perfectly okay. Incorrect information is not. (Yes, I’ve been given non-negotiably incorrect information akin to @mrs-b ‘s “window” fiasco).
  3. If I call in for a comparison between two diamonds, I expect more than @absolutme77 ’s experience of “that’s a great stone - oh, that one’s great too” (Which, yes, I have also had several times). You need to hire/train more people like Adam Blackstock to address these sorts of questions/escalations. You need to hire/train those people before making your entire clientele wholly dependent on their availability.
  4. If I call in with a specific administrative need, for me to move forward the answer must be an unequivocating “yes, we can help you”. An example: I travel for work. My Blue Nile rep navigated a maze of shipping timelines and destinations. Various JA CSRs' responses, by contrast, were remarkably unhelpful: “we can hold the stone post-purchase only for X”, but “we can’t guarantee it’ll be available if you wait to purchase”, and “we can’t take any steps to guarantee it’ll arrive within this week-long timeframe”. I loved the stone but wasn't willing to do battle for the flexibility I needed to actually buy it. It was a $60k stone.
Jim, your imaging and UI is fantastic. It’s a perfect example of “more, better information” drawing a customer base. In my strong opinion the way to maintain and extend that loyalty is to make customer service a pleasure to work with - painting them into the corner of ‘necessary evil’ does them a huge disservice, and the end result is a picture of you shooting yourself in the foot rather spectacularly.

#Unimpressed.
 
Last edited:

Demon

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 16, 2009
Messages
471
Hi folks,

I appreciate all of the responses and will continue to monitor the thread and share your feedback with my team.

I do want to address this idea that we are targeting less educated buyers.

There is no doubt that buyers who come from/through Pricescope make excellent purchase decisions. That happens because of the incredible feedback and advice they receive from this forum. There is a large audience, however, that does not find PS - and often does their diamond selection based only on charts of proportions or other information they find on Google. By emphasizing the way a diamond looks (through our videos) and demphasizing proportions, our intent is to help those customers buy better cut diamonds. It's not so different than when PS advises people to request an IS or ASET. You're telling them to evaluate the diamonds visual performance - not the specs on paper.

This is especially true for fancy shapes, where (I hope) we can agree that there is no such thing as a single set of depth/table numbers that are required for optimal light return.

With that said (and trying not to repeat myself), this is a test and we are willing and able to make changes. I am excited, however, about the opportunity to help more people buy better cut diamonds, and as counterintuitive as it seems - our approach may be exactly what we need to do to reach that goal.
So, you're also doing this on colored diamonds? I think that may be an especially bad thing. When I was looking for a green yellow diamond, I looked at several sites, James Allen being one of them. Yellow diamonds often seen to have a green undertone in your photos, and I would click on the GIA report of one that looked green yellow only to find it was just yellow. And then there's the issue of fluorescence in colored diamonds. I was specifically looking for a fancy intense green-yellow diamond with strong or very strong green fluorescence. I wonder how long I would have been on the phone looking for that, particularly in a specified carat range?
 
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