Monday, November 10, 2008

I do not suffer fools gladly

Continuing our discussion of bicycle shop service, today we look at what kind of service you can expect from our two bike shops. By that I mean, how can you expect to be treated. Do they treat you with respect? Are they nice to you? That may seem like a silly question. Bike shops are in the business of selling bikes. Therefore, they want to be nice to their potential customers. You'd think that wouldn't you? I can't speak for everyone, but that's certainly what I would have assumed. I freely admit, that if I had to rely on my ability to sell something to earn a living, I'd soon starve to death. But even I know that a customer that I've somehow managed to p*ss off, is much less likely to buy something from me. (I say "somehow managed to", like I have a really hard time p*ssing people off.) But I have been in bike shops where the employees act like bicycle retail would be really great line of work, if it wasn't for the customers coming in all the time, interrupting their day. Again, I won't mention any names here, but if you're ever in the Snyder Plaza Shopping Center here in Dallas, and you're looking for a bike shop, my advise would be to keep on driving.

But getting back to our two bike shops, that being Plano Cycling and Fitness, and the mystery guest RBM (wink, wink). I can relate a couple of stories about these bike shops, that I think best exemplify their attitude towards the customer. Again, these stories represent my own person opinions. (I just can't emphasis it enough, how suing me would be a complete waste of time).

As far as Plano Cycling goes, all I can simply say is that I have never been treated with anything but respect and friendship. Period. That's it. I'd like to be able to relate some amazing story of great customer service from Plano Cycling, but when that's the only kind of customer service that you ever get, it makes it kind of hard for any specific instance to stand out in your mind.

Now RBM, that's a different story.

I have a friend who I cycle with all the time. (No, really, I really do have a friend.) This friend has a weight problem, that I am happy to say, she is very successfully dealing with through her cycling. She's not there yet, but she's well on her way. She related the following story to me. One day she went to RBM to buy a gift card for a friend. The reason she was getting the card at RBM was that the friend lived close by, and wouldn't listen to reason. As my friend walked up to the counter, the salesman turned to another salesman and said under his breath, "Bet she's here for a gift certificate". He took one look at my friend, saw that she had some weight to lose, and just immediately assumed that there was no way she could possible be there for herself. Even if he thought that, why would he even consider saying it where she could possibly hear it. My friend went ahead and bought the gift card, because that's what her friend needed, but not surprisingly, she hasn't been back either. As she turned to leave, the salesman turned to the other salesman again, and said "Told ya". Nice.

My second example is my favorite bike shop related story of all time. I wear glasses. So, a couple of years ago, I decide that I need to get prescription cycling glasses. I go to Plano Cycling and purchase a pair of Tifossi sunglasses. These are the type of glasses that have the clip-in inserts that actually have your prescription lenses in them. Well Plano Cycling didn't have the inserts. They said they would order me a pair, but if I found them somewhere else, I wouldn't be required to buy them. I went ahead and had them order me a pair. As my wife and I were walking to the car, I told her that maybe I'd been a little unfair to RBM. It had been several years since my previous bad experiences with them. Maybe I should give them another chance to make a brand new bad experience. So I called them and ask if they have the prescription insert for Tifossi glasses.

The guy I was talking to said "Yes."

I say "You're sure?".

He says "Yes. We've got them right here."

I say "You've got them in the store?"

He again says "Yes."

So I say "Your not going to sell them all before I get there, are you?"

To which he says, "No, we've got plenty of them."

I say "OK, I'll be there in 20 minutes."

It wasn't a terribly spellbinding conversation, but I think I successfully relayed my point to him that I was expecting them to have the insert in the store for sale when I got there.

As Trish and I pull into the parking lot at RBM, I just start laughing. Trish asked me what was so funny. I told her that I was just thinking about the wild-eyed fit that I was going to throw when we get into the store and they don't have the insert. She said, as she has so often been quoted saying to me, "You're just being stupid".

We walk in, go right up to the glasses counter and I inquire where the prescription inserts were for Tifossi cycling glasses. I'll give you three guesses what the salesman's response was.

"We don't keep those in stock in the store, but I can order you a pair."

It was just about at this point where I unleashed a stream of vulgarity and obscenity that would have caused most peoples ears to start bleeding. I actually kinda blacked out, but I do remember questioning the intelligence of almost everyone who worked there, and I believe that I actually inquired if the sales clerks parents weren't somehow close relatives.

What was most upsetting was the response of the sales clerk. Or rather, his lack of response. Now you tell me, if you had a customer who had obviously been misled about the availability of an item, what would have been one of the first things out of your mouth. Might you have considered offering up an "I'm sorry" at some point. That's what I would have said. But no, not at RBM. He just stood there looking at me, like this sort of thing happens every day.

The only good thing that came out of this whole episode was, that because of my reaction in the store, my wife now refuses to go shopping with me anymore. Nor does she request that I go shopping with her anymore either. Find those silver linings where ever you can.

Next time, we discuss how these bike shops cater to their customer's needs.

Peace out.....Nearly Famous Fred

1 comment:

Bryan said...

I know this is a late post, but I just found your site.

I had the exact same experience with RBM with a bicycle. I called twice to insure that a specific bike was on hand to test ride. Yes, yes they assured, but no such bike when I arrive.

Good news though - they did have another bike that I could check out...