Service. All too often it’s used as a buzzword, a witty idea or a clever poster put up in the employee lounge. At BMW of Denver, however, service is not only the way they look at customers, but it also happens to be its business model.
BMW of Denver has been around since the 1970s, as Colorado’s oldest and only exclusive BMW motorcycle dealer. Now a part of the Pioneer Centres Holding Group, BMW of Denver has been at its present location in Aurora, Colo., for 13 years. Its purpose-built building was designed for the single-brand dealership with extensive input from BMW corporate, and it’s proven to be a good location. Located within sight of the Front Range, the dealership has a million dollar view.
Yet location isn’t the only thing going for BMW of Denver. Top-notch service is the mainstay of its success. The dealership’s original bow-tie-wearing founder, Clem Cykowski, built the business to service the BMW touring crowd. Even after he sold the dealership in 1999, Cykowski remained on staff as an integral part of the service department. Clem Cykowski’s passion for the brand and his expertise with the older bikes makes the dealership both a destination and a resource for owners of old airhead BMWs.
What is Mr. Cykowski’s secret to excellent service? Great follow-up. It served him well as owner of the dealership, and BMW of Denver continues to this day to follow up its repair service calls to ensure its customers are happy. The dealership has always focused on delivering great service, on and off the workbench. “Treat them like family. Enjoy having them as a customer. Treat them well. They’re here, supporting the dealership, and we should be supporting them as well,” says Cykowski.
Dedicated service talent like that isn’t always easy to come by. BMW of Denver’s general manager Bob Creger has been working at it for almost a decade. He says they recruit talent on their website, through Motorcycle Mechanics Institute, and through online advertising. “It’s been tough over the years,” says Creger. “We’ve seen fewer and fewer people wanting to get into the service industry. We’ve been lucky and get a lot of referrals. I think one thing that makes it easy for us is that a lot of people want to move to Colorado. It’s a beautiful state, there’s good riding and there’s lots of things to do year round, so oftentimes it’s easy to entice good people.”
It’s also the quality of management that makes BMW of Denver thrive. Mr. Creger has an open-door policy for his office, and he works hard to create a friendly, service-oriented atmosphere. The customers are comfortable coming into the dealership even just to chat, and it’s easy to see why. The general manager himself has the laid-back charm of a Californian combined with the down-home approach of a Midwesterner.
The affable approach isn’t a façade, nor should it be confused with complacency. BMW of Denver had sales of more than five million last year, which is remarkable in a market where there are four competing BMW dealers. “The key to any good dealership is good service, good staff and good training,” says Creger. “I think we’ve always had a good crew, especially the last four to five years. We’ve been able to offer that top-notch service, and we really work on trying not to have any repeat service issues.”
In addition to focusing on a friendly, service-oriented approach, BMW of Denver also knows when to follow the market. They realize that what’s come into sharp focus is adventure riding. “The adventure market has grown immensely,” says Creger. “It seems to be the majority of our sales right now — the adventure stuff. Regular street riding apparel has even kind-of gone over to the adventure apparel. I think everybody wants to live that dream of taking off and riding a bike to Alaska or to South America.”
In addition to selling adventure bikes and apparel, BMW of Denver also carries adventure motorcycle accessories for bikes and for the adventure lifestyle. The dealership provides everything for the complete experience — hard and soft luggage, tank bags, maps, mounts, gadgets, accessories. It’s a one-stop shopping experience for the customers, with thoughtful displays throughout the showroom floor, lining the halls and in the waiting area.
Even as BMW of Denver sells the bikes and the gear that’s popular right now, for them it still all boils back down to service. “One thing I’ve instilled in my employees over the years is taking care of the customers. We want it to be a friendly atmosphere, low pressure. A place where you don’t have to worry about the used car salesman approach. It’s stressful buying any vehicle — a car, boat or motorcycle, and we want to make it as simple and as satisfying as possible for both parties.”