So I’m on a well-deserved cross-country road trip on my bike, and I get a slight wobble at low speeds. I’m not near anything resembling a metropolitan area. In fact, I’m out in the middle of very rural area in central Pennsylvania. It is so remote that I’m thinking that it’s not likely I’ll find a dealership able to accommodate me, or even have any parts I may need in stock, for that matter. I was wrong. I was so much more than accommodated … I was truly served.
It’s hard not to turn this into an ad for the dealership. Well, it’s not exactly a dealership, but more of a shop. It has a small showroom, but it’s well-lit, clean and even though it’s minimally stocked, they’re well represented with a pretty diverse array of product for their small size.
I was impressed with the ingenuity it must’ve taken to get that much stock into that small a space in such a manner that a claustrophobe like me wasn’t left feeling crowded. The owner, Neil, sporting a crisp clean polo shirt that complimented the showroom motif and bore the name of the store approached. He welcomed me with a smile and a warm handshake saying that he’d be right with me.
His smile, along with his obvious confidence and pride in his store, set me enough at ease to be content to wait a few minutes in total patience (a virtue not often associated with me) while he finished with the customer he was working with. A few minutes later he thanked me for waiting and asked what he could do for me.
When I described my bike’s condition and my out-of-towner dilemma, he immediately spun on his heels motioning that he’d return, and made his way toward the back. In less than a minute he returned with a tech in tow who was drying his hands as though he intended to shake mine. He did. I knew that I was in good hands by his manner and apparent concern.
Good hands, indeed. Jeff test rode my bike, isolated the issue as the rear tire, and made me aware of my options complete with pricing and availability, etc. (They had two different tires in stock, by the way. I’ve seen many a megastore not carry enough tires). I had no question whatsoever about what I should do once he was done.
When I made my decision, he told me that he’d have to put me off for about 2 1/2 hours before he could get to it, but that he would absolutely get it done before he went home for the day. You’ve heard of under promising and over delivering, right? Well in a little less than 2 hours, they were done and the bike sat out front with a new rear tire and a bath. Even though I had two days worth of road grime on my bike, and they’d worked me into the schedule, and I wasn’t a local customer, they washed my bike! Wow!
Don’t forget now, these guys didn’t know me from Adam and didn’t recognize me from the magazine until later when I was thanking them for their exceptional service. Then, and only then, did Neil pull out his past installments that he’d shown his team. They didn’t owe me anything, and it certainly didn’t behoove them to go out of their way to impress the guy from the magazine.
I spend so much of my life helping big dealers become bigger dealers; helping them put science to magic so they can put more to the bottom line. And sometimes, quite frankly, I forget that there are just as many dealers out there working as hard as they can because they just love sharing the sport with other people.
I ran into that kind of dealer the other day in Neil and his team. It made me remember two supremely important things: One, it’s your agenda that you’re working so, just like Neil, be true to your definition of success. In Neil’s case, success is simply and honorably serving riders. The other thing I was reminded of is that as we put process to the chaos so as to help dealers grow, I pledge to always allow within that process the room to really serve the customer.