- Seasonal maintenance activities usually escape me. I have trouble remembering to do them before the deadline is breathing down my neck.
- Tax Preparation for my CPA (3rd year in a row I've almost been late)
- HVAC furnace/air-conditioning servicing
- Lawn fertilizing
- Christmas Cards
- Bicycle spring maintenance!
That last one was crucial for me this week. I was heading out on a three-day trip to a scenic, bike-path-filled city and I really wanted to do a long trip one of the days to just ride around and relax.
But my bike that I purchased last year has been hanging in the garage since late fall. And not only that -- but we've had polar vortexes too.
(How did the rubber in the tires hold up to the invasive sub-zero cold? I've seen what happens to rubber when it freezes; I've seen The Fantastic Four! And I definitely didn't want to see what happens when riding 20 mph down a path in a strange city.)
So I called up my local bike shop - Bicycles, Etc. in Lisle, IL
. How long was it going to take to service it? Two weeks! It's a first-come, first-served system for the spring maintenance and I was going to be somewhere in the 80s.
With other vendors or other types of that turnaround time, I'd normally shop for other options. I'd try to figure out who else could do it quicker.
With these guys, though, it was worth it to wait.
I trust these guys.
Mike and Brian are phenomenal salespeople who obviously do what they do because they love helping people and love biking ... not because they are looking to get rich or always push bigger and better gear.
Why do I trust them? Well, it was all with the first impression.
Last spring, Heidi and I were shopping for the bicycles. There was a major chain store -- not going to name names, but it was a bike manufacturer ... four letters. We went to that store on a Sunday afternoon and the salesperson seemed very helpful. He told me to look on the upper rack for bikes my size, and when I found one, to ride it around in the parking lot behind the store. So I did, and found the bike I wanted to purchase. Then I tried to find the salesman again. I found two of his assistants, neither of which knew how to run the cash register. After waiting for him for 10 minutes, Heidi and I walked out.
45 minutes later, we'd found a better, cheaper bike, fitted to my tall body size, and had two new friendships because Bicycles, Etc were great listeners.
[Fast-forward in time]
I took my bike in to get it in the long line. Mike saw it, saw that it was still in decent shape, and expedited my servicing. (Not only that, he gave me such a deal on it that I had a perfect excuse to buy more gear!)
[Fast-forward in time again ...]
So I wrote most of this post in Grand Rapids and needed a part to make a change on one of the pedals for my bike. I called Bicycles, Etc and they told me over the phone which part I needed. I went to one of the local bike shops in Grand Rapids (West Michigan Bike and Fitness in Kentwood
) and the Sales Manager, Geoff, knew exactly what I was talking about and even recommended local trails he thought I might like.
Two bike stores, 200 miles apart, and it was the same customer experience in both.
Sure - Amazon may be cheaper if you know what you're looking for. Sure - specialty brands may not always be in stock.
There's nothing like great customer service to clear out all of the excuses and meet your goals. There's nothing like giving your local bike shop a try in delivering that customer service.