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The Fifth Sense

The Fifth Sense

“What does customer service mean to you?” If you have worked in retail, you most likely had to answer this question in an interview. Personally, I usually gave some stock answer like “making sure the customer is satisfied,” but what really makes a customer happy?

Customer service is more than just making sure the customer is satisfied. It is the whole experience. It’s the environment of the store, the way the employees present themselves, and much more. As a Fashion Merchandising major in college, I had a class where I learned that in order to give a customer the full experience you have to appeal to the five senses. We had to go into a store and rate the retailer on each sense. We rated everything from the colors of the walls to the layout of the store. Everything was important and this is something every retailer should consider. If you want to keep people coming back, everything needs to be taken into consideration.

I recently had the chance to go into a local jewelry store and evaluate their environment.


The exterior of the store was inviting. While the building was similar to other jewelry stores, their landscaping and signage made the store more interesting. Inside the store, the walls were white with wood and colored accent walls. They had wood flooring and glass cases with phenomenal lighting. There were spotlights on the walls to bring attention to different types of signage. The layout of the store was also inviting. Shoppers like to have enough space to look around and not feel restricted. The walkways were wide enough to allow multiple people to look at pieces in the same area. Everything had a modern, upscale feel.


There wasn’t a distinct smell to the store, but a light perfumed scent would have been intriguing. Different smells spark different memories for people and this can make the experience more enjoyable. I love being in stores that have a unique and fresh smell because it will stick with me forever.


Jewelers see the bride-to-be as an important customer. And today’s brides are often millennials. Using popular music to appeal to this generation may sound like a good idea, but it’s not appropriate for the environment. The jeweler I visited had classical music playing which fit their image and made the shopping experience feel important and special.


A lot of people may think that this sense can only be satisfied in the food industry, but that isn’t always the case. I was not greeted with chocolates or wine, but I know retailers who offer these. This can relax shoppers (especially the wine) and make them feel at home and more willing to shop with the retailer. This added feature would make me want to come back time and time again and refer friends to this place.


The sense of touch is harder to satisfy in the jewelry industry. My experience with touch in this jeweler’s store was in the quality of the pieces of jewelry. I got a more personal experience being able to try on different pieces and seeing how they looked and felt against my skin. I found I was more inclined to buy an item when I was able to touch it and try it on.

Overall Experience

The employees were nicely dressed and matched the brand image of the jeweler. This is very important because the employees can honestly make or break a shopping experience. I was greeted at the door and led to an associate to help me find exactly what I was looking for. Other associates gave me their opinions on pieces as well. While it can be helpful to do this, it can also go the opposite way. Some shoppers may feel the other associates aren’t being truthful and that they may be giving compliments just to help make the sale. I was given one-on-one attention, which made me more willing to buy because it showed me that the associate really cared about making my experience special.

Customer service is vital. If someone experiences bad customer service, he or she is more likely to pass this information along. Great customer service will generate referrals, create repeat business and secure the loyal clientele every jeweler wants.

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