What in the World is Going On With Dealers These Days?

Is it me or are the people who own/ manage motorcycle shops complete idiots? Up to this point in my life it hasn’t mattered which side of the country I’m on, from California, to NC, to Florida, every time I go into a shop, I get attitude… bad attitude. What is it with you dealers out there? Do you make it a part of the job description that employees have to treat customers like crap and make them wait forever until they are acknowledged? I can’t even begin to tell you how much time I have spent waiting at the counter for the person behind it to take the time to say I’ll be with you in a minute.

If we break it down to the simplest of terms, the customer is the only reason a shop exists. Without the customer, shops would have no income. No income means the shop closes its doors. Knowing this, why would any task be more important than making a customer feel welcome? The thing that miffs me the most is that they fail to realize that we  consumers, have a choice when it comes to spending our hard earned dollars. If we like, we can sit in the comfort of our home and buy anything we want, new or used anything – including those parts that are on back order! Just do a search on EBay some time for an example of this.

While we were in the process of doing the KX rebuild we found an amazing place online with microfiche item searching for all makes and models of bikes. Simply find the part you need, add it to the shopping cart and place your order. Absolutely hassle free. No waiting in line, no attitude from some smug counter person who thinks he knows more than me and is likely to try and illustrate it. And there is no temptation to buy everything in sight. The very best thing is since the item is delivered to you, you can personally track the part to see where it really is, none of this it should be here next Friday shit. I’m still waiting for a part for the KX that was ordered weeks ago. It’s probably sitting on the floor somewhere waiting to be unpacked by Mr. attitude as he so often has unusually good follow up skills to go along with his unprecedented interpersonal skills.

I should take this moment to tell you, I don’t get a discount from my local dealer, I pay full retail price on anything I buy, just like all the other customers out there. It makes no difference to me where I buy parts from. I’d like to support a local shop, I take great pleasure in looking at and holding what is available before I buy. This is very difficult to do online. But is it worth the attitude? I don’t think so.

Next time you walk in to your local dealer, take a look around. Are the shelves spilling over with new inventory like Old Navy? Probably not, it’s likely you will see very little in the way of stock. Why is this I wonder? Could it be that profits are down? Obviously it cost money to keep inventory on the shelves “that is IF it doesn’t sell. Most dealers will have payment terms set up with the vendors they work with. Meaning they have a certain free period to sell whatever the item is on their shelf. If it doesn’t sell, they have to pay for it. It probably isn’t easy for them to guess what will sell and what won’t but I’m not here to discuss the problems a dealer is facing as a shop owner. I’m here to point out what a crummy job the shops are collectively doing, to be the voice of anyone out there who is tired of the terrible service we get when we go into one of these shops.
These motorcycle shops are the same ones who bitch and complain about how the internet is killing their business. People, get with the program! Web sites that sell for less than you can are here to stay. You have an opportunity to distinguish yourselves from the rest of the crowd. Complaining about it is not going to change things.

Are you people surprised that business isn’t booming? Give me one good reason why I should come into your shop! I’ll gladly come in and shop and I might even bring a few friends with me. Start selling via the net if you have to and start lowering your prices. You can no longer count on the fact that there isn’t another shop within 50 miles. Try to find new ways to interest people in your shop. And for Pete sake, find ways to put smiles on the faces of the employees you have.

The reality at this point is this; it’s a PIA to hassle with getting into the car spending money on gas and time to get to your shop only to be treated as if I am an inconvenience. If you people have something better to do than take my money I have no problem staying at home and waiting on the brown delivery truck. He always has a smile for me.

Benjamin