Diamond in the Rough Gets Tech Savvy

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For many people, choosing an engagement ring is not something to be handled lightly. Many hours are spent poring over stones and comparing prices. Diamond in the Rough, a New York–based online jeweler that offers pieces made from rough (meaning uncut and unpolished) stones, is aware that education is particularly important when making a sale. Due to the unusual appearance of its diamonds and its online format, customers often have many questions about the jewelry, says Debie Kim, Diamond in the Rough's manager of marketing and digital strategy.

"With such an emotional purchase like an engagement ring, we want to reduce the amount of discomfort and the feeling of risk of purchasing such an important item online," Kim notes. "Although we offer a thirty-day free return policy, there is a certain comfort level that our customers have to reach before they can make [this] kind of purchase."

Customers tend to ask the same questions: Where are the diamonds from, how are they priced, what is your return policy, are there additional photos? Although the FAQ section of the company's Web site answers these questions and more, customers seem to prefer receiving responses to their questions via email, according to Kim. "We've found that many customers will respond better to a personal email than reading this information on a Web site," she says.

To stay on top of the many emails that fill its inbox, the company turned to email marketing provider ToutApp earlier this year. According to Kim, Diamond in the Rough chose ToutApp for its ease of use, team-sharing features, Gmail plug-in, and email tracking capabilities.

Using ToutApp, the company was able to create email answer templates for common customer questions, giving employees time to focus on other tasks. With about 25 to 50 emails sent to customers per day, Kim estimates staff members save approximately 50 minutes a day using the templates. By freeing up time spent answering repetitive emails, Kim adds, the staff has been able to focus on more brand awareness projects, such as increasing press coverage by three articles a month. This includes posting articles featuring celebrities like Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, and Minnie Driver, who have been photographed wearing Diamond in the Rough jewelry.

In addition, the average number of emails sent in response to each customer query was reduced from five to two. "We saw results immediately in terms of time saved," Kim says. "We especially like the ability to track open rates, which helps us better serve our customers and make sure they receive the answers they were looking for and follow up when necessary."

ToutApp's team-sharing feature allowed employees to determine who was working with which customer and avoid duplicated efforts. Another plus, according to Kim, is the ability to schedule email deliveries, as well as maintain a log of the emails, which lets the staff follow the entire life cycle of their conversations with customers.

The Payoff

By using ToutApp, Diamond in the Rough:

  • created email templates that saved staff approximately 50 minutes a day;
  • reduced email responses per customer from 5 to 2 emails; and
  • increased press coverage by 3 articles monthly.

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