Random thoughts, ideas, and suggestions for a profitable motorcycle shop

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by JagLite, Nov 15, 2014.

  1. Dogslobber

    Dogslobber Been here awhile Supporter

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    I think even if someone comes in everyday they should be asked if there is anything you can help them find or if they need anything. Any day could be the day for that big purchase, or someone that comes in regularly and buys little thing, both keep money rolling in and good word of mouth rolling out.

    I would like to use your shop, but my bike is from the dealership that will not be named, and was told that your shop won't work on it. The sad thing for me is I found a shop here in the valley that will work on it to a certain extent(as I expect with an oddball bike), but you guys have such a good rep I would like to take advantage of that.
    #21
  2. SEWERMAN

    SEWERMAN Been here awhile

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    Start treating every customer like they are your all time favorite customer... Just listen to what their needs are, you don't have to be obnoxiously friendly or have s bunch of "canned" responses. The other is provide more than what you promise.
    I've grown accustom to NOT expecting good or even great customer service from most businesses in AK but their are exceptions and when I find such a business that provides exceptional customer service I become their loyal client even if I have to pay a little more for it.
    #22
  3. KHud

    KHud Survivor Supporter

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    This thread should be read while listening to Elvis' rendition of "Dream the Impossible Dream". :huh
    #23
  4. UncleRandy

    UncleRandy Been here awhile

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    [/QUOTE]What do you guys think? How can I provide the best service to someone that is a regular visitor?[/QUOTE]

    Just keep doing what you are doing. The fact that you're willing to even contemplate this is what sets you apart from some of the other motorcycle sales/service people in our community. I also think it helps that you are a rider. You have a great knack for understanding your customer, your products and how you represent the shop. Those shops in town that embrace these principles are the successful ones with repeat customers.

    Best Example and one that should have merited a raise for you: You offered to price match tires against those on the internet.:clap I'll see you in December for my new tires.
    #24
  5. AKParrothead

    AKParrothead Alaska Motonaut

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    I can attest to this, while I've never bought a bike from Andrew, he always has time for a handshake and a joke or two, even if he is with a customer. Hell I think he gave me a bro hug once.

    I've worked part time at retail gun counters across the United States for most of my adult life. Every shop has those guys who come in all the time and look at the same guns over and over. Some of them you can set your watch by. While it's fine to joke with your coworkers about them, in no way should you ever treat them differently than a first time customer. It only takes a second to acknowledge them and welcome them back and when the time comes they will purchase from your shop because you did just that.
    Want to take it a step further? Learn their name and use it.
    #25
  6. Ullr

    Ullr C+ Racing

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    Isn't the regular visitor already happy?

    I would just like to thank you for treating me like shit for all these years and refusing to make any effort to allow me to buy a bike there. If you would have sold me the bikes I wanted, I never would have had the cash to buy the airplane. Now I'm having all season, go anywhere in the state, fun fun fun! Did I mention fun? Thanks again.
    #26
  7. Andrewmc

    Andrewmc Been here awhile

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    Huh. No idea who you are but if you genuinely feel like I've personally treated you like shit I apologize. I have a feeling you're mistaking me for someone else, though. I can't remember having ever refusing to sell someone a bike because they "weren't worthy" like you've said in another post. Glad you're having fun with your plane. PM me if you would like to talk to me personally.
    #27
  8. wadenelson

    wadenelson Rider/Writer

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    Yeah.....

    Throw regular customers a bone once in awhile...instead of getting every last penny. perhaps allow "regulars" a $100/year "allowance" of parts they can ORDER at cost instead of retail. Otherwise you're gonna lose EVERY not-in-stock sale to BikeBandit.com

    TEST RIDE bikes after repairs. I cannot tell you how many time the repair wasn't done properly, or something else left loose, whatever. And every single time a TR would have immediately revealed it.

    CONFIRM THE PROBLEM by riding the bike, or having a tech ride it, BEFORE the customer leaves the service counter. Esp if it's a strange one. Nothing worse than, "Well, the tech sez he can't hear it/feel it/see it..." Dumbass, I didn't bring it in there for you to tell me it doesn't have a problem, arrange a ride home, miss my club ride, save up $ for the repair....

    Accessories. Cycle Gear proves you can make plenty of money on leather and gloves and chrome and....

    A self-loading (Baxley) trailer and 7x24x365 emergency tire repair service. I don't care if your service department is closed on Mondays. An out-of-towner flats, you have a guy on call who goes out, trailers his bike in, and mounts a new tire you sell him. This guy will "owe" your shop forever for rescuing him. Put the RESCUE phone # on the door and the answering machine.

    Test rides. A used bike comes in on trade, you put every customer who walks in the door out on a test ride on it. "Hey, tell me what you think about this Vulcan, would ya take it around the block for me?" Make the customer feel like he's PART of the shop, not just a customer.

    Eliminating the service writer. Some customers DESERVE to talk to a lead tech, and not have their concerns mis-translated by a service tech.

    Owner. "Hi I'm the OWNER of this shop, and if you ever don't get the service you deserve at MY shop, I want you to come to my office and tell me about it. Every customer should feel like they have a direct line to God.

    Well, that's how I would run a shop.
    #28
  9. Andrewmc

    Andrewmc Been here awhile

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    How much would you pay a service like this? If you were in Glenallen (about 3 hours from our shop) how much would you expect to pay for a certified technician to pick you up, take you to Anchorage, and change your tire? Something like this is possible, but you'd have to make it worth it to your techs to lose a precious weekend during the summer.
    #29
  10. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Brownie

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    I think the thread was just ideas that potential customers had, not about any shop in particular.
    #30
  11. Andrewmc

    Andrewmc Been here awhile

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    Sure, just thought I'd ask while I was here. We're the largest dealership in Alaska by a pretty big margin, and I'd be stupid to not take suggestions when I can get them. What better place than a thread where people are talking about what they'd like to see in a shop? :nod

    Andrew
    #31
  12. Ullr

    Ullr C+ Racing

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    If you want to use The Motorcycle Shop in your sig line then expect to take the shit for everyone that works there. I don't know who you are either and I'm never coming back to find out
    . Only one employee at TMS has ever treated me right and i haven't seen him in a long long time there. To me your shop is irrelevant. I can turn my own wrenches, Max is faster and cheaper on parts and Ride West will beat your prices on new bikes.
    #32
  13. Andrewmc

    Andrewmc Been here awhile

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    I'm sorry you feel that way. Swing by sometime and I'd be happy to show you what's changed.

    :thumbup
    #33
  14. Alaskahack

    Alaskahack Adventurer

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    This was the best post so far

    Thanks Wadenelson, good to see fresh thoughts
    #34
  15. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Brownie

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    Yeah, I wasn't trying to be salty.
    #35
  16. Andrewmc

    Andrewmc Been here awhile

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    Nor was I! :rofl
    #36
  17. ALinUTAH

    ALinUTAH Been here awhile

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    I have a local dealer that sells Yamaha motorcycles and a couple different brands of ATVs and snowmobiles. I bought my first bike new from them. I felt pretty good about the deal and they gave me a discount on whatever gear and goodies I bought with it.

    So a couple years later when I bought another bike I went back to them after other dealers wanted msrp plus all fees. They gave me about 10% off msrp and waived setup and freight or whatever it is again.

    So when it was time to buy a snowmobile I didn't even shop around. I stopped in on a Saturday, they had what I wanted, threw out an OTD price I thought was fair and I bought it. And get this, the manager had one of his employees go to his house to get his trailer so I could borrow it to take it home. Told me to just drop the trailer off Monday. And if I ever needed it again to bring the sled in for service or something, I just had to ask.

    Then one year I bought another bike of a different brand from a different dealer several hours away. When the fork seals started leaking a couple weeks later I had a dilemna on my hands. I didn't want to go all the way to the original dealer for warranty service, and calls to more local dealers got me nowhere. They refused to look at it. So I went to the Yamaha dealer and just asked for his advice. What did he do? He said he had a sister store in another city that sold and serviced that brand, so he would replace the seals and write up the warranty work at his other store. And if I brought in the forks he would do it ASAP. I never expected that. When I went in to pick up the rebuilt forks I took donuts for everybody.

    This guy obviously knows how to keep a customer coming back. This is why I always buy my tires from them even though I could get them cheaper online. The ones they stock anyway. And if I need some little thing like chain lube or whatever I buy it from them. They actually even stock a lot of parts like filters. The day I decide to buy another Yamaha motorcycle I won't even shop around. In fact my experience with these guys will play a big part in what brand of motorcycle I buy next.
    #37
  18. beamertwin

    beamertwin Paul

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    This is called customer service that begets customer loyalty.... Alaska businesses are not known for their customer service. I have always like the quote, from a parts guy here in Anchorage, "Call me when your part comes in." Still have not made the call. Bought it on-line and had it in three days.
    Have staff that are trained, competent, know their 'stuff' and can pull away from their texting to have a face to face.
    #38
  19. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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    That is customer service!

    Your post deserves to be quoted in full. :D

    And that is how to have a profitable shop.

    Well said brother :clap

    That is what we all want a bike shop to be.
    #39
  20. Tim McKittrick

    Tim McKittrick Long timer

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    Years ago I dropped off a part for a minor repair at a local shop- I was promised the repair the next day at a given price.

    Three weeks later the repair was finally completed and I was charged a little over four times the agreed price. When I complained about the price the manager told me "If you want your fucking part back you'll give me $$$$".

    Now THATS customer service.

    I have not been back. In fairness, that was over 26 years ago- but I still don't give that particular shop my business, and I have owned a LOT of bikes in the meantime.

    A positive side effect of this experience, for me at any rate, was that it spurred me to learn how to do all of my repairs myself, and now I have very little need to go to a dealer, beyond the obvious desire to get a new bike. It has led me to owning such things as a 20-ton press, solvent tank, bead blaster, and an entire rollaway of speciality tools. Shim kits, spare parts, welding equipment, and on and on...... All because I never will let myself be put into that position again. I would rather buy (or make) the tools than depend on the dealer.

    My last new bike (now 10 years old) was purchased as a fly and ride deal down in the states, more due to availability and the desire for a trip than due to any dealer loyalty. I was actually relieved when the warranty ran out, as it meant there was no longer any excuse for me to not mend it on my own. The other 40-odd machines I've owned since the "incident" were all used.
    #40