Actionable Tip for Retailers- #10: New Season. New Systems.

The start of the New Year is a time to reflect on the season gone by. We take a look to see what was good, what was bad and what can be improved. This is true in life and, if you run a bike shop, this is true in business.

For many independent bicycle retailers the start of a New Year is also a slow time as far as sales and foot traffic go. However, this is the time when smart and savvy retailers are building a strong foundation for the pending busy season. Forward thinking shops are deep cleaning their stores, buttoning up inventory, dialing in a marketing plan, training staff and implementing new systems to refine operations.

In 2018, nearly 100 forward thinking bike shops used the Service Reign customer feedback tool to automate the feedback loop with customers. They have successfully used this simple and affordable tool to catch mistakes, train staff, increase positive on-line reviews and most importantly…not lose any customers.

Is 2019 the year you take a proactive approach to customer feedback?


No contract. No credit card. No kidding.

Actionable Tip for Retailers- #9: What is your $100 cheesesteak?

There’s a fancy steakhouse in Philadelphia called Barclay Prime. They have an item on the menu called the $100 Cheesesteak. However, it’s not just any street corner cheesesteak. It’s made with wagyu beef layered on a handmade sesame roll garnished with foie gras mousse, truffle butter and truffles. Then it’s topped with some Velveeta. Kidding. The cheese is over the top, too. It’s an Italian Caciotta al Tartufo cheese created with a unique blend of cow's and sheep's milk, and truffles. Plus, your get the wash it all down with the included half bottle of fancy champagne.

When the restaurant opened this item was placed on the menu to generate a buzz and give customers what professor and author Jonah Burger calls “social currency” in his book Contagious. Social currency is created when an item, an experience, a moment is so impactful it makes people want to share this others. This is also known as word of mouth marketing… the most powerful form of marketing.

So I ask you this: what is your business’s $100 cheesesteak? What are you offering, showing or doing on a daily basis to give customers a pocket full of social currency they want to share with others? It doesn’t have to be a super expensive item or even the same thing everyday. It could be wishing them an amazing day as they exit the store, going above and beyond with customer service or a follow up to ensure they are happy. Make it fun, make it unique, but above all else make it memorable.


No contract. No credit card. No kidding.

Actionable Tip for Retailers- #8: Practice Empathy

What is empathy? 

The long version: Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another's position. 

The short version: The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

As a service professional you need to be empathetic. To you a flat tire might seem like no big deal, but to others it can be very frustrating. A flat tire could be the difference between getting in that one weekly ride; a ride that could make a person healthier and happier. A ride that could make the person a better spouse, parent, co-worker or friend.

Every time a frustrated customer walks up to your service counter you have the opportunity to make their lives better. Try to practice a bit of empathy and we can pretty much guarantee you will earn a customer for life.


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Service Reign Review - Carytown Bicycle Company

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"Our three-stores implemented Service Reign and I have been very satisfied. Took less than 10-minutes to full setup. While nearly all of our feedback is positive, it has helped us nip the bud on a couple bad interactions. Simply, most of these interactions were unfortunate miscommunication between the service center and the customer. With Service Reign we've been able to recognize it quickly and reach out in hopes to provide the best solution. I completely see value in it. If we are able to save one regular customer from not returning because of a bad interaction, the service has basically paid for itself." - Stephen Proffitt - Service Manager / Carytown Bicycle Company


No contract. No credit card. No kidding.

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.

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.

Service Reign Review - Global Bikes



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!" 


No contract. No credit card. No kidding.

Service Reign Review - Gav the Mechanic



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!


No contract. No credit card. No kidding.

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.

Service Reign Review - Colorado Multisport



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!


No contract. No credit card. No kidding.