Often when a consumer looks to make a purchase, the first thing that enters his mind is price. Where will he get the best deal? Motorcycle enthusiasts are no different. We want the most bang for our buck in this down economy. The normal online avenues are explored. Auction sites and big mail-order companies are destination No. 1. Service isn’t always the priority these days.
In 2002, Robert Miller officially left Arai Helmets Americas to create The Arai Helmets Service Pavilion. This self-sufficient shop was designed to give customers and potential customers direct contact with the manufacturer. It was big hit, and with Arai’s support, Miller took the ball and ran with it.
”The Service Pavilion is the most complete and specialized Arai Helmet sales and service shop around that also has 30-plus years’ motorcycle service background,” says Miller. “Since 2002, we have sold more Arai helmets than any other shop in the Americas, and all have been sold face-to-face!”
The shop’s sales philosophy is simple: “the best service, the best there is…” You can see it repeated over and over again on their website. Miller believes that service is everything, and this is key given the fact that Arai Helmets Americas, Inc. has begun to allow mail-order and internet/e-commerce (MOI) sales of the company’s products.
“There are other good shops out there that can fit you properly and correctly. But there again, that can only be done well face-to-face,” says Miller. Over the years, he has noted a few statistics that have shown how often customers are improperly fitted when purchasing an Arai helmet. For example, nine out of 10 people who own Arais wear one size too big, and four out of nine of those people are wearing a helmet that is two sizes too big! This shows just how important The Service Pavilion’s approach to business really is.
With five employees, Miller has taken certain precautions to adjust to the way that the business has shifted in this economy. He’s learned to observe overhead costs, be aware of inventory on hand and be more critical of what is kept in stock. “We’ve learned that our repeat customers are extremely important in this type of economy,” says Miller. “Budgets are smaller, and spending is less frivolous.”
“The shop is very ‘old-school’ in the aspect that when someone walks in, they can talk to everyone that works there,” says Miller.
New employees are most often discovered by chance. Due to the unique nature of The Service Pavillion’s approach to business, training is mainly done by watching and listening to one of the current staff members while they work with actual customers. “I throw them into the fire, so to speak,” says Miller.
“Word of mouth is priceless advertising,” says Miller, who also relies heavily on events to bring in new customers. The Service Pavilion team travels across the U.S. to attend events including the Cycle World Magazine International Motorcycle Show during the winter, AMA Road Racing events, the Grand National Dirt Track races and more. In addition, email sales blasts are sent monthly to let subscribers know what’s happening at The Service Pavilion.
For the future growth of the business, Miller feels that many customers are numbed and turned off by social media and YouTube. “There is too much of that going on,” says Miller, who dedicates more time to The Service Pavilion’s website.
Miller doesn’t view other shops as competition because no one can do what they do at The Service Pavilion: “We’re that unique, and this is the type of shop that is hidden away from the main spotlight. If you find us, you are one of the chosen ones who deserve to be here.”