Go Clipless posted up an entry discussing an unsatisfying customer service experience at a heralded local bike shop, and how that single failed transaction likely cost the outlet future business. Unfortunately for Graham, he went into a shop that likely rides its reputation to keep new business coming in and, unlike places that have helpful shop workers who go out of their way to help new customers, had to deal with sales reps who seemed surly and disinterested.

Sadly, in my experience, this kind of terrible treatment is more the norm than the exception in the retail bicycling sector, and it truly is a pity that this is the case since every rider deserves the opportunity to cultivate a positive connection with a reputable store. It is also something that makes people want to come back for more, and enthusiastic cyclists often spend a lot more money than resentful cyclists do.

Good Customer Service

Because of Graham’s experience, I started to reflect on some of the unpleasant business interactions that I’ve had in the past, and those thoughts led to the compilation of a list of the many sorts of store workers who turn away customers:

  • The bullshi**er: While it’s obvious that this type of employee really does love bikes, their information is usually wrong or misleading. Fortunately for me I can see through their spiels from a mile away, but others aren’t so fortunate. The folks who buy bikes based on advice from these shmoes often get what they don’t need.
  • The surly know it all: These people know their bike stuff and are a treasure trove of information. But their personalities dictate that they must browbeat potential customers into submission. These guys also let you know that you’re a dirtbag for letting your chain get a little rusty or allowing your derailleur to fall out of adjustment.
  • The cycling pro: This person is an up-and-coming ripper or a seasoned vet on the race circuit and they let you know it. In fact, they let you know how absolutely inferior you and your skills are to them, so much so that if you choose a Deore derailleur instead of an XTR that you are not worth their time and aren’t welcome back to the shop.
  • The biking fool: Often confused with the Bullshi**er, this type of shop employee doesn’t actually know anything about bikes. The quality of their advice is poor and any seasoned cyclist can tell that they don’t ride often (or at all).
  • The procrastinator: This is the type of employee that is most likely to push me out the door, never to see me again. I’m an experienced rider and am pretty knowledgeable about gear and cycling in general, so I can usually call out any of the other bums mentioned above, but these folks tell you they’re going to do something and never carry through with it. Seriously, how difficult is it to order in a rim or a derailleur and have it arrive in a reasonable amount of time? I understand that my order won’t always be there the next day, but I do expect that it will show up. And I do expect a call letting me know that the item has arrived.

Customer Service Reviews

Of course, the positive customer service interactions more than make up for the negative ones, and it’s the positive transactions that make me want to do business with the company again. If more shops realized this and made an honest effort to get people interested in their products (and services), rather than relying on reputation and plain old ability, they would probably find that their bottom line would increase and more riders would walk through the doors of the shop. This is because shops that make an honest effort to get people interested in their products (and services) are more likely to succeed. to purchase bicycles, place orders for new components, get tune-ups, and engage in conversation around cycling.

I know that there are more of them out there, hiding under stones or working behind the counter at one of your local businesses, so please feel free to add your favorite unfavorable sort of shop employee in the comment box below since I know that there are more of them out there.