Just Riding Along… Customer Service?!?
(Drags out soapbox…)
Let me tell you a story:
When I moved to the Cincinnati area a few years ago, one of the tasks on my list of things to do was to find my next local bike shop. I really like supporting the “mom and pop” style stores, and bike shops are no exception. On my off days from my then new job, I would drive around with an address and shop name (Yes kids, this was before smartphones were affordable) and search out my next potential shop to give my money.
Some days, I would go in all by my lonesome, and just window shop. Maybe I would buy a spare tube, but basically I would just feel out the store, and see if there was a nice vibe from the employees. Most of the time, I was met with smiles and good information about the local trails, bike models, etc. Then, my wife started back to work, and I now had a companion to my search: My “just learning to walk” daughter. My, how this changed the game…
Right off of the bat, things were different. Gone were the overly enthusiastic sales people, asking me if I needed anything at my every turn. In their place were employees that had to be sought out. When I would ask any type of cycling related question, I was met with short answers and an almost disdain for even asking my query. The first time this happened I chalked it up to someone having a case of the Mondays. Then it happened again. And again. Only one store in the Cincinnati area treated me the same during my long term experiment, child or no child, which is my shop today, Bishop’s Bicycles.
So why the soapbox rant? This happened again just a few days ago at another shop. I normally do not go to this shop, but I did have a gift card, so the plan was to order a new rack and a set of new handlebars. For the record, this was WAY over the gift card limit. This trip however, I had my now walking and talking daughter and her new little brother. Double whammy. This shop dismissed my every question, and treated me like I was bringing in a Huffy off of the streets. It is hard to describe with words, but it was definitely there. Hard to imagine in a weak economy, when someone comes into your place of business you treat them bad enough to make them not want to return. That is what happened in this case. Now I will probably just buy $30 worth of tubes.
Question time: Has anyone ever had this happen to them? Any shop employees or owners have some insight on this? Why give the cold shoulder to a shopper with children? Just because I have my kids with me doesn’t mean that I am not going to spend a considerable amount of money in your store. Please keep that in mind…
Just keep spinning…