Many Thanks for your comments


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Steve Bennett

Registered Shopper
Apr 18, 2011
Hi Everyone

Firstly can I thank all of you who made a donation to my Marathon run yesterday, together we raised over £7,000 for the National Osteoporosis Society.

Also many thanks to everyone who has agreed o come and see us and discuss ways of further improving our service, we have set two days a side for this, the first being Thursday the 28th of April and the second being Wednesday the 25th of May. We would welcome as many people attending either day as possible. As my assistant Barry is on holiday this week, please email me directly at [email protected], to arrange details.

We do take everyone’s comments very seriously. We are passionate about what we do and Sarah and I and the whole team do take on board other peoples views. As you will imagine there will be some things we can do, some we can try to do and others that unfortunately are not commercially possible.

Whilst I normally would not post on any forum as I am in a position where I feel no matter what I say, I will always be criticised, as I had a free evening last night as I sat and nursed my sore legs from the marathon, I took a look at Shopping Telly and saw the this thread about “constructive criticism”, I printed it out and turned it into an action list for my management team. Below I hope I have addressed most of the points.

Why not a weekly email to customers containing relevant information and concerns. For example this could have been used to warn customers of web site changes and selling changes.

Yes I agree we should use more emails, but we do have to be very careful of sending out emails to all customers, as there are many rules governing the use of email and we can not afford to get black listed, as we need to keep the ability to send out emails to communicate order confirmations, delivery times etc. We were once black listed by one of the ISP’s and for six months, all of our customers who had their email through this ISP could not receive any of our emails. This caused a lot of problems. I will task someone to review our current traffic.

Gems FaceBook is poor

I admit I have never personally ever used Facebook, however Sarah does use it a lot. I do know that our Jewellery Maker page is very popular, but wasn’t aware that we even had a Gems TV page. I will make someone responsible for developing the Gems TV site.

Can Lady presenters not reveal so much of their….
I can’t agree more with this comment. I will email all presenters to make sure they don’t show too much. That said, it is a bit of a fine line, as we do want our female presenters to show, pendants and necklaces up to the neckline, but I couldn’t agree more and on one or two occasions sitting at home at night I have had to call the gallery and ask presenters to change their outfit in their breaks.

Lay off the red nail varnish
Again I totally agree with this point, if the presenters nail varnish is too bright its off putting.

Requests - the facility to request items appears to have now disappeared and customers are expected to rely on the goodwill of the presenters.

We have tried various request methods over the past few years and spent tens of thousands of pounds developing online request formats that directly built show schedules etc. Unfortunately, to-date, requests shows and dropping individual requests into hours have not financially proven viable, therefore currently we do not include them in the TV format. That said, handling requests is always on the agenda and something we continually evaluate new models and ideas.

99p - What is with the 99p. and what is being told "at less than £100" when it's £99.99.

I totally agree, I also find this frustrating and still when presenting myself try to always say £100, when it is £99.99, I will make sure this gets discussed in our next training session. Let me also answer a very old thread about why we introduced it: We introduced the 99p in January, to in a small way counteract the effect of the 2.5% VAT increase. With the tiny margins we work on, the 99p has helped us recover some of the lost revenue (the increase in VAT means that for every £100 we sell, we now only retain £80, whereas before January the 1st, we would of retained £82.50) this had a massive impact on the business.

Melee diamonds - hate this and try as I might I can't find anything explaining melee diamonds on the Gems site.

This is on our website under the learning library “Diamond Grading”. I have decided to follow the lead of several major retailers in the USA who do not use the GIA scale to grade small diamonds. Whilst many people on this forum understand the GIA scale, many of our customers do not. Plus, the GIA scale was never intended for small diamonds, my very good friend who is GIA educated to the very highest level, is furious that retailers try and use the scale for smaller diamonds and it was with his professional help we put together a simple scale, one that is easily understood and is clearer. Plus we have many examples of where customers have had valuations come back where the grader gave a different grade than we previously had stated. Mostly graded higher, but some graded lower and therefore we feel for all of these reasons, that we are doing the right thing by not miss using then GIA scale and by developing our own system. A fuller explanation is on our website.

Sales and Clearances - rather to many of these. I would settle for consistent great prices all the time

Point taken, but commercially the model works well for us. When we took over the company they were virtually always in a sale or clearance mode and they were losing many million of pounds a year. We have turned the company back into profit, retaining many peoples jobs and believe that our current mix of regular weeks and then sales and clearances is well proportioned. We are not on our own with this approach and constantly monitor and measure successful retailers across the globe to get the right balance.

Also, in our regular auctions if an item goes to either a very low margin or a loss, presenters will obviously not choose to put it in their regular schedule. Even though they are not on commission, they do have targets to meet and therefore these items do not get scheduled. When we have a clearance or a sale, there are no targets to meet and therefore Sarah does most of the scheduling for them.

Customer Services - Generally very good so when it goes wrong it's VERY bad - I once had a CS person hang up on me!!

This is awful, please if this ever happens to anyone, please email us so that we can track who it was in the CS team. As you quite rightly say they are generally very good. We spend a huge amount of time and money training our UK based team and we received hundreds of emails and letters each week singing their praises. But occasionally when it does go wrong, we need to know, so we can either retrain or remove those that don’t make the grade.

Not being able to buy single pieces on the web - I deeply resent this as Gems have the details of more than one of my "cards"

We have on our list of tasks the ability to develop a “auto checkout” facility for one of a kind pieces, but it is a very big rewrite of our checkout system and the task is currently behind rewrites of such things as international delivery, multi language, gemcollector website etc.

Chat going - and the fact that no interaction with the studio is possible at all now.

It was a very sad day when we closed chat, but due to legal reasons we had no choice. Within the next 30 days, the ability to post comments either on the website or by text and interact with the studio will be introduced.

No international postage facility

This will be in place before the first of October. Although this may seem a small system change, it is a huge change with us having to look at VAT, import duties and returns facilities for over 80 countries that we intend to launch with.

Gem Setting Service - the web layout is JUST AWFUL in pretty much every respect

Agreed. We are rewriting it as we speak. Barry Kirley has taken over the role as Manager of GemCollector and he is working hard with his team to put this right.

Larger good quality diamond to be used for accents.

Every time we have tried to do bigger accents, we have not made the required margin and therefore commercially do not make many designs with big accents.

Thicker/heavier solid ring shank no hollowing out

We try and get the right product mix, some rings are heavy and some are light in gold. We can not escape the fact that gold has gone from $380 an ounce to $1484 this morning (the highest price its ever been in history) and therefore for every extra gram in a ring, the impact on the finished cost of the item is huge. We constantly review our sales data and try and make all new jewellery designs in line with what we feel the majority of customers will purchase. That said, the mix of product is what we try and achieve. Presenters are always trained to mention the weight of gold in presentations so that we give as much information as possible.

More higher end jewellery, especially in platinum.

I could not agree more with this point. In order to cope with the growth we have had to get the factories to concentrate on the volume lines. The out come has been not enough mix of high end pieces. We now have just licensed another factory to focus on our high end designs and I would hope by the middle of July, to have readdressed the balance. Regarding platinum, we have tried this in the past and it did not sell well. Having said that, with gold being so expensive at the moment and the gap between the two metals being less than it has in the past, we will now commission some more pieces in Platinum.

Loud Music

I agree that often it is way too loud, especially with Gems Extra. I am not sure what the solution is to regulate the level of the music, but I will ask our technical people to evaluate.

Presenters Shouting

I agree, we all get carried away with our excitement at times. Often I watch back my own performances and cringe at how loud I become at times. I will try and address this in future training, but it is an ongoing issues to balance excitement and enthusiasm without coming across to loud or pushy.

Presenters Clothes
My rules for presenters are that they should look smart, but not over the top. I also want them to feel comfortable. For example Nick likes to wear a tie and a jacket, so that’s what he wears. I personally never wear a tie and a jacket as it is not my personality, therefore I just wear a shirt. Same with our female presenters, we ask them to look professional , for example no jeans, but also to be comfortable.


I totally agree, the condition of nails is crucial when selling jewellery. Most of our team regularly have their nails done professionally, even the guys. I can’t get it done personally, as I don’t have the time and often I end up standing in at the last minute. But I agree, when someone is on their regular shift, more attention needs paying to the condition of the nails. I will address this with the team and see what can be done to improve our overall position.

Treatments of gemstones - why can't this be on the graphics? Then there is absolute clarity. This is done in the US.

We had started doing this with the loose gemstones on our GemCollector website based on treatments disclosed by our suppliers. However, the more we learn about new treatments, the more complicated they become, the more it becomes impossible to detect all treatments, It is often difficult for us to verify if what a supplier is claiming is correct, for example its impossible to tell if Aquamarine has been heat treated, even when buying the rough. There are new treatments being developed all of the time and rarely are they disclosed by miners and gem traders in the industry. This is one of the reasons why I personally sit on the Gemstone Industry Laboratory Conference (GILC) where as an industry we discuss all new treatments and how to best try and detect them. (the last meeting was held in January this year in Arizona and many new treatments were discussed)..

We now feel that it is better to advise customers to assume all gemstones are treated unless told otherwise. We are currently working on a database of “all known treatments” and then on the website when we are auctioning a product, we can list all of the known treatments. Therefore in the mean time we have a full disclosure of the “typical treatments” on our website and run a ticker tape on our TV channel pointing people to our website.

Rare - false or inflated claims about the rarity of gemstones must stop. It's really awful. Gems/jewellery will sell themselves if beautiful. There's no need for ridiculous hype.

By definition, all gemstones are rare, but of course some are more rare than other. I will take it on myself to ensure in training presenters continue fully understand when to push the rarity and when it is not that important. A normal grade Amethyst is of course rare because it is a gemstone, but is not as rare as one that has perfect clarity, tone, hue and saturation. The former really does not need the word rare in the presentation where as the later does is worth highlighting.

Accent diamonds - currently these are dire in the majority of pieces.

Whilst overall we have increase the grade of the diamonds we purchase over the last few months, we do have to purchase the type of grade that offers the best value for the best look for the majority of our customers. We purchase huge quantities of diamonds and try and get the right mix between varying grades and prices. What I refuse to do is to cheat with my studio lighting, however, what I must do is to try and find a better way of taking still photos of diamonds as our pictures never do them justice. I disagree with the comment that in the majority of cases our diamonds are dire and we analyse many of competitors pieces and are confident that we offer some of the best value for diamonds.

Gold and jewellery comparisons - misleading, ridiculous and makes the presenters look like dodgy car sales people. Why do it? People do their own research and anybody who is savvy enough can drive holes through most of the comparisons (and don't believe them).

In last weeks training session with presenters I have instructed them to not make any comparisons.

Well cut gemstones - please don't sell a dreadfully cut gemstone with the presenter saying how beautifully cut it is! If it's a native cut and the price is comensurate then fine - but don't try to say it's top class/world class.

I hire some of the best lapidarists in the world and one of our selling points is the quality of the cut. That said, there will always be one or two pieces that slip through the net and all of our presenters who are well trained in gemstones should be able to know how to focus on a good one. If I ever spot them miss selling a cut, I always pull them up on it, as gemstone cutting is one of my passions.

Website - no decent search facility. The search facility currently is limited.

I agree this is not ideal. We are working hard on our websites, but have limited resources.

Returns - last time I bought and returned something I had to wait far too long. Most companies take 1-2 weeks to process refunds.

In the past this has slipped as far as 20 days, this was due to the merging of two companies and periods of growth that we were not prepared for. We have invested a lot of money in our back end systems and as I write this piece, we are processing returns in less than 48 hours.

Being open and honest - I really hate when members of GemsTV management come on here and say, please email me about problems. NO. Respond on here if somebody has posted on here. If you've made a mistake, admit it. We don't expect 100% perfection and mistakes are made. To err is human. To admit it is laudable.

This one hurts. We are family run business and always try and be honest. We know there is always room for improvement in our business and welcome constructive criticism, hence spending time to respond to this thread. As far as responding on this forum on a regular basis, we do not normally do it and I am not going to change my stance on this. If a customer has an issue, we have many different ways they can get in contact with us and my family and I are always talking on a daily basis to customers. I always try and respond to every email I get, even when I am abroad.

Stop branching out - Get one thing right and then move into something else.

Point taken.

Customer service - You have some really outstanding people working for you and then others who need a giant kick up the bum. Weed out the weak links and re-train them. Customers need to feel they are right - even if they aren't. Good customer service sells items.

I totally agree. Just recently we have changed our training processes and pride our self on trying to offer the very best call centre experience in the UK. It really hurts on the odd occasion when we get a bad apple. That said on a daily basis we receive dozens of emails and letter letting us know that we are getting it right. For everyone that is not positive, it is actioned by one of our managers, who not only tries to resolve the issue, but then sees if the incident could be prevented in the future.

Genuine reverse falling auction - it's not and never has been. There's also a cost price. Be honest.

I have to disagree with this comment. Let me explain what happens. Of course the presenters and producers are given targets to hit, but they are NOT on an individual auction basis. Therefore they decide the final closing price and not management. Its up to them to decide on what to close the auction at and there are many variables. They decide what their reserve price is once they have started the auction. Most auction formats around the world have a reserve price and are still called auctions. With this one I don’t seem to be able to win so I won’t write a whole essay. In the past we called it a game and quite rightly some customers got offended by the terminology. None of our auctions have a fixed price at the beginning of the sale and some close below even the cost of manufacturing, the word “Auction Format” in my opinion is the correct terminology. The reason we often add the word genuine is that some companies claim to be holding an auction, but have targets set before the start of the auction by management, that in my opinion is less of a genuine auction format.

please explain to presenters the difference between items being ‘sold out’ and ‘allocated’.

We are constantly training the presenters, but of course it is hard to change phrases you have been saying for 8 years. I presented last week and even twice found myself saying the “sold” word not “allocated”. It is something that will improve over time.

Selling item MTFJ86 - said the red diamonds were "only heated"

Thanks for bringing this one to our attention. On our system the code was set as heat treated as this in the information that was given by our diamond supplier. Although it is possible to have red diamonds that are natural or heat treated only, they normally tend to be irradiated and heated. I have watched the clip back this morning and I think the point she was trying to make was in reference to the fact that Gems TV used to sell coated red diamonds. I have email the supplier this morning for confirmation. Vicky was therefore not trying to mislead any one, she was only reading the info that was on her screen. If they turn out to be irradiated which is very likely, we will write to all customers who purchased and let them know (this is our standard practice when an error is found post sale). Moving forward, as mentioned on another comment above, I will request presenters not to discuss treatment, rather than to point customers to the typical type of treatments on our website.

Please get rid of the sound effects (cheering, heartbeats etc). They are annoying.

I hate all sound effect too, but when we took over Gems TV they were using hundreds of them, we have cut them back to just one or two. But the counter argument my team make with me, is that we are in the business of entertaining as well as selling and this just adds to the show format. But I do take the comment on board and will relay it to the team once again.

No more celebrity name dropping (or at least cut down on it)

I am with you on this I don’t like it. Although many other people do like to know what celebs are wearing and some presenters will therefore talk about it in presentations and others won’t.

Stop comparing your jewellery to high end designers such as Tiffany etc. Your jewellery is not the same (though that isn't necessarily a bad thing) and it seems very pretentious to imply otherwise.

This is a good point, however, I am always coming back from our workshops in both India and Thailand and meetings with gemstone cutters and saying things to my team like “our supplier XYZ has just cut stones for XYZ brand and now they are cutting for us”. Last week I told the team “in our main workshop in India, they are also now making jewellery for XYZ brand of America, XYZ which is sold in Harrods and XYZ of Italy”. Its important for me to pass on this information to the team and therefore although they should not make direct comparisons, I feel it is not incorrect to share some of this information.

I really miss Gems clearance on the web. There was always a bargain.

Something very similar will be introduced soon.

Tatty packaging or the incorrect packaging is really annoying when buying a present.

This has been a real nightmare for us. After merging the two companies we had lots of packaging suppliers. The rush at Christmas caught us out and for four months we ended up buying what ever packaging we could from UK suppliers, whilst the factories we use caught up. Unfortunately, it takes around four months from opening an order in China to getting the finished boxes delivered in the UK. It took till the 6th of April to get all of our packaging in the warehouse back to the Gems TV branded packaging. We are not of the woods yet though, as I anticipate until we build up our reserves on the odd occasion, one of the shapes or sizes may for a short while run out again.

I hope this answers all of the questions on this thread, obviously I have grouped a few together. Please do feel free to attend one of our discussion groups. Please note though, I won’t however frequently be adding posts or responding to points on this forum, as I still feel that what ever I say, is easily taken the wrong way and would rather answer any emails from customers directly.
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