Could this be one reason that new bike sales are down
Whilst on a recent visit to the north East Of England my wife and I decided to visit a number of bike shops or located on a well known street which has a very steep incline. Three of the shops are owned by one company one of which sells Suzukis another Kawasakis and the 3rd Ducatis & KTMs. All three are very impressive shops with a good selection of models + clothing and accessories however what did let them all down was the fact that in each the staff just stood around or in one case hoovered the floor and made no effort at all to acknowledge our presence. We are lucky enough at the present to be in a position to buy almost any of the bikes on show outright yet nobody seemed bothered to find out if we were interested in buying. Whilst I hate really pushy salespersons I think at least an ackknowledgement of a potential customers presence is called for. No way would we buy from such a disinterested company. We are much happier with our small but very efficent Honda dealer from whom we are picking up a brand new custom painted Hornet for Sue tomorrow. This will be our fith new bike in just over 2 years so you see a little bit of attetntion from a salesperson could well be woth their while
It's always a problem in the UK. I recently visited a Harley dealership in Dayton Ohio and was blown away by the staff. They knew I was tyre kicking however made every attempt to make my visit pleasurable. Not overbearing, just welcoming. All it requires is a smile and a hello, followed by courteous interest in a customer's requirements. I think some of it lies in the moronic machismo of a lot of superbike riders.
I couldn't agree more Rocker. Voting with your feet is the only way here I'm afraid. They simply don't deserve your money. If you're feeling really bothered by it then write to their MD describing your experience (As I've done on one occasion before).
Ultimately there is no excuse for this sort of lacklustre behaviour. Having worked in a retail environment in the past I appreciate that customers can be real pains in the proverbial. However this isn't often the case and motorcycle customers are, as a general rule, an enthusiastic bunch who are in there because they genuinely want to to buy the goods.
I have to say the Harley dealerships I've been into even here in the UK have got this sort of thing weighed-off far better. Funny old thing I bought an XR1200x as a result...
Rocker - I think you will receive only agreement from all of us on here regarding the conclusions and observations you have come to.
I really can not agree however with Rob O's conclusion about a lot of Superbike riders. Indeed it rather beggars belief in my experience. I have never found 'a lot of' any one genre of motorcyclist to be be greatly different from any other.
I think my comment was rather ill-judged and would like to retract it. The vast majority of the motorcycling fraternity are excellent people.
Hee-Hee. I make it my personal mission to wave at other bikers when I'm on my Harley just to prove that not all of us Donk-riders are too busy 'Living the dream' to notice other bikes on the road!
It's an interesting point though about the average customer in a motorbike shop compared to many other retail environments. Whilst there are a number of 'Tyre kickers' who simply want to go in and have a drool an awful lot of bikeshop customers simply 'Have a thing' for bikes and want to talk about them, discuss their needs and feel good about their purchase.
I wonder what, if any, research has been done into identifying the differences in outlook between bikeshop customers and those in other types of store. It'd make for an interesting read don't you think!
On a positive note I've found most dealerships here in West Yorkshire to be pretty good, the right mix of interested but not pushy.
The only real exception is our local Honda dealer who is fine right up to the point where you show interest and want to talk trade ins and best deals. He then asks you to wait while he goes upstairs. 25 minutes later you tell the other staff not to bother and go somewhere else. Had it twice now and others report the same experience.
As for other retailers, car dealers must be similarish but are much 'better' sales people on average. You walk in to have a look then you end up on an instant test drive then before you know it....
It sounds like the Honda dealer was making you wait whilst he made private calls in the trade to get a part exchange underwritten or get a pre-approval for finance? The pro for him is you are still in the shop and he can then negotiate post call(s). But, assuming this was the case, the lack of communication of this was his downfall.
It's all our pet peeve, poor customer service, isn't it? Equally, if a dealer has to pay a salesman well and train him well, then that cost has to be passed onto the customer to some extent. I like good service so I tend to stick towards the premium brands, but there isn't (unfortunately) a direct 1:1 relationship between this and service necessarily. Some small dealerships that maybe only carry one mainstream brand can often exceed expectations.
There is no doubt that there are good and bad dealers. I personally can not fault at all my Ducati dealer in Prague and they have now become personal friends.
There is never an excuse for poor service but I do know how hard it is to find people who take an interest in things. The margin on motorcycles is very low and thus often dealers can't pay high salaries but rather have to work on commission. The thing is that those people who see the potential to earn a good living by putting in the effort are not so readily available. There is no shortage of people who want to work in the motorcycle industry but they often get in there thinking how cool it will be and then realise that the advantage of being around something they like is actually not big enough over having to actually put in some real effort. The turn over of staff and indeed shops is thus quite high. That of course plus the bloody internet on line e-shops that is swiftly killing things off too.
I personally usually deal with local dealers or at least those within 50 miles of home. The best of these being Kent M/Cs a solus Honda dealer where the staff are always attentive and helpful without being pushy. I guess that's why we have 4 Hondas in the garage. I would always pay list price and get good service rather than discount prices and then find once you have bought the bike the dealer is completely disinterested.
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