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Actionable Tip for Retailers- #7: Bury The Ego

I just returned from Interbike. It was s good show. Smaller, a bit slow, but still a good show. If you look hard, there are people, companies and organizations doing some pretty cool things. The bike industry is alive, it’s kicking, you just need to know where to look. One place to look is the Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association (PBMA). I won’t go in to specifically what they do on a micro level. If you want to learn more click here. On a macro level the PBMA is pushing individuals to learn, to adapt, to excel and ultimately advance. This is what I am trying to do at Service Reign. My goal is to provide retailers with tools to improve customer service and ultimately improve the industry.

Don’t get complacent. Bury the ego. You are not perfect and you don’t know it all. You can always improve. Look for ways to up your retail game before you get left behind. This reminds me of a documentary I watched a recently about the rise and fall of Tower Records. Every bike shop owner needs to watch this movie.


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Actionable Tip for Retailers- #6: How To Answer The Phone

If you’ve read any of our previous posts then you know here at Service Reign we call quite a few bike shops. This means we experience the countless ways shop staff handle incoming phone calls. Most answer in a friendly manner, but many do not. This brings us to Service Reign’s Actionable Tip for Retailers - #6: How To Answer The Phone.

All incoming calls should be answered with enthusiasm and a friendly tone. Even if you are having a bad day or just had to re-cable a triathlon bike with internal cable routing, the person calling you has no clue what you are going through. Before you answer the call, take a deep breath and put on your happy face.

When your staff answers a call they should clearly and happily state the name of the store, their name and ask, “How can I help you?” Doing this quickly accomplishes three things. 1) Customers know they called the right number. 2) Customers know who they are talking with. 3) Customers are calling for a reason and asking how you can help gets right to the point.

Train you staff to understand every incoming call is a chance to earn a new customer, make a current client happy and put more money in your cash register. The person calling your store could be new to town and looking for a shop to frequent. Answering the phone in a gruff, monotone and annoyed way is just plain bad for business.


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Service Reign Review - Global Bikes

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Global Bikes is locally owned with four locations in the Phoenix Metro area. Alan and Brandee Lepak opened doors in early 2001 and quickly became one of Arizona's top bicycle dealers and have achieved national notoriety having won the "America's Best Bikes Shop" Award year after year. Brandee is also the Chairman of the NBDA's Board of Directors, so you know they know a thing or two about running a successful bike shop. Global Bikes has been using Service Reign for a year now and here's what they had to say:

"We use Service Reign at all of our locations and love it. It allows us to receive feedback we otherwise would not have, both negative and positive. Best part it’s a set it and forget it type of application that’s extremely affordable. Bottom line.... get it!" 


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Service Reign Review - Gav the Mechanic

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Gav the Mechanic is a service studio operated by Michael Gavagan and is located in Boulder, Colorado. He has dialed and styled some of the fastest bikes around. Don't believe us? Check out his Instagram feed.  He has been using our customer feedback software to make post-service follow up simple and easy.

"I am a one-man operation here and unfortunately I don’t have time to check in with every customer after they pick up their bike. Service Reign has allowed me to automate my post-service follow up so I know customers are happy. I love the fact it requires no additional work on my part."

Big thanks to Gav for making bikes go fast and keeping customers happy!


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Actionable Tip for Retailers - #5: Update Your Website

When was the last time you seriously looked at your store website? When was the last time you had someone who has never seen your site look at it and give you honest feedback? 

As mentioned in a previous post I spend a lot of time looking at bike shop websites. Why? Truth be told I am looking for potential new customers to try Service Reign. I search for bike shops in a certain area and then start clicking away. I am usually seeking a phone number and an email address. Finding this information is typically not too painful. What is painful is looking at how outdated and unprofessional some bike shop websites are! With all the simple tools available today is no excuse to have bad website. A crappy website is just plain bad for business. Her are some actionable tips you can take to make your site better.

1) Update outdated or low quality homepage images or graphics. Smartphone cameras are amazing and take incredibly good images. Grab yours and take some cool shots of your store, staff and product. If you're still using a flip phone then you may need to delegate. And, if you’re not the creative type chances are someone on your staff is. Another option is to visit your top brands dealer web portals for stock imagery. I know all the major brands provide some awesome free images for you to use. Plan to update your images at least once a quarter to reflect the change is seasons and new product at your store.

2) Make sure your phone number is on your homepage. Your shop phone number should be easy to find and customers should not have to load another webpage when looking for it. This is particularly annoying on a mobile device with a slow connection.

3) Update your copyright year. If you put the copyright year on your homepage footer it should state the current year, not 2013. Customers notice when you're not paying attention to the details, so pay attention to the details.

4) Update or kill you blog. If your website has a blog make certain you keep it updated. If you can’t find time to update it you should delete it from your site. Read our previous post on this topic.

5) Take the next step. Is it time for a new website? We are not going to go down the rabbit hole of whether or not you need to have web store and embrace omnichannel (although we think you should to some degree). If your site is not using a modern website building tool, such as Smartetailing, Lightspeed, Squarespace, Shopify, Wix or the like, my guess is your site is ready for an upgrade. There a gazillion tools out there to create websites. Some are inexpensive, others are not, but they all make it easy. No excuses. Get going.


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Service Reign Review - Colorado Multisport

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Colorado Multisport is a cutting edge triathlon store located in Boulder, Colorado. The service department is led by world-famous mechanic Tom Hopper. He's been the head technician to cyclocross superstar Jeremy Powers for the past several seasons and spent years prior as Pro Tour mechanic in Europe. Colorado Multisport has been utilizing Service Reign's customer feedback software this year and here's what Tom had to say:

"Service Reign is the best investment our service department has made this year. It’s worth every penny. I consider myself and my crew to be very good mechanics. We have worked with some of the best athletes in the world, but occasionally we make mistakes. We’re not perfect. The software allows customers to let us know when they’re not happy and we can make it right. In the end we come away with a happier customer. All service departments should use this software."

We'd like to thank Tom and the whole crew at Colorado Multisport for using Service Reign and keeping customers happy!


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Actionable Tip for Retailers- #4: To Blog Or Not To Blog

It's possible at some point along the way a wise SEO / internet marketing guru told you to have a blog on your website. You were told it would increase traffic to your site and improve search engine rankings. This is true, however this only works if you keep your blog updated. As mentioned in previous posts, we spend a tremendous amount of time here at Service Reign looking at bike shop websites. This is not a scientific study, but it is fairly safe to say nearly 90% of the sites we view, which have blogs, have not updated their blog in more than 2 months. In some cases it's more than 2 years!

Kudos to these shops for attempting to start a blog, but like an unkept bathroom, an outdated blog is just another let down for your customer. And, that brings us to Actionable Tip for Retailers - #4: To Blog Or Not To Blog

If you can't keep your blog updated with weekly posts, turn off your blog. Shut it down. The harm of having an outdated blog far outweighs the benefits having one.  That's it all!


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Actionable Tip for Retailers- #3

I was in one of those fast casual restaurants a few days ago and had to use the bathroom. The room was (and likely still is) very dirty. The paper towel dispenser was broken with just a roll sitting next to the sink. The trash can was overflowing and there was no soap either. I'm sure you've heard the saying, "If the bathroom is filthy, I wonder what the kitchen looks like?" The same could be said for your service area. The same could be said for any retail business offering repair services. Do you think a customer has confidence in your ability to take good care of their bike (or skis, or snowboard, or jewelry, etc.) when you can't even keep your store bathroom clean?

It goes without saying, if you have a customer bathroom in your retail business, make sure it's clean. A clean and tidy bathroom lets customers know your business is dialed and you care about your image. And, that brings us to this week's Actionable Tip for Retailers - #3

  • Keep your bathroom clean!
  • Establish a cleaning schedule for your employees, that includes routine clean-up and restocking. This should probably be every hour or every two hours at the very least.
  • Rotate the cleaning schedule among employees, daily or by shift. No one likes the job, but it has to be done. Offering an incentive to the bathroom cleaner each day won’t hurt either!
  • Clean the walls. Clean the toilets. Clean the sinks. Clean the doors. Clean the mirrors. Everything.
  • Keep bathroom well-stocked – toilet paper, soap, towels.
  • Repair the tiles. Repair the mirrors. Repair the hardware. Repair leaks. Repair and repaint the walls and ceilings as needed.
  • Make sure the bathroom door locks.
  • Ensure the bathroom smells fresh all the time.

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Actionable Tip for Retailers- #2

Here at Service Reign HQ we spend a tremendous amount of time looking at the dealer locator feature on bike company websites. You do know what a dealer locator is, right? This is a web page customers visit when they are trying to find out where they can go to look at and potentially buy a new product. The dealer locator is where your business is listed if you sell this particular brand. Typically it includes your store's name, address, website url, phone number and email address. Unfortunately there can be a tremendous amount of typos, broken links and outdated information for your store on these dealer locators. This is the first place you could lose a potential customer because your store's information is incorrect. So, here is your Actionable Tip for Retailers - #2

  1. Make a list of your top 20 brands.
  2. Designate a person on staff to visit each brand website and make sure your store information is correct.
  3. Contact the brand rep if mistakes are found.

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Actionable Tip for Retailers - #1

Is your security system dialed?

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As some of you may know one of our clients, Golden Bike Shop got broken in to over the weekend and had $50K of bike stolen. While this certainly sucks I thought it might be a good time to remind you all to do a security check up at your store! Here is your Actionable Tip for Retailers #1:

  • does your security system work the way it's supposed to?
  • do you have security cameras and are they in the right place? Are they capturing all the potential entry ways?
  • is your insurance policy dialed and up to date?
  • have you ever run a long cable and lock through some bikes at closing time?
  • do you have a record of every bike's serial number?
  • what other steps can you take to prevent theft?
  • curious to know what security system you use? Let us know.

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