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The Anti-Customer

The Anti-Customer

“I just bought a bike somewhere else, can I join your team?”

 

“I crashed my bike last week at a race, it’s acting real weird. I need you to take a look at it, NOW. This won’t cost money, right?”

 

“I know you’re a dealer but I bought these parts online. They don’t match my bike; so can I exchange them here?”

 

Let me introduce you to the Anti-Customer: The Anti-Customer always demands you to tune his derailleur right before you roll out on a ride. The Anti-Customer likes to stand over you while you complete any repair, because anything he deems “easy” should be free. The Anti-Customer seems to show up at every recovery ride and attacks/rides off the front. The Anti-Customer will attend every event you put on, but only to drink free beer and eat free food. The Anti-Customer will show up at your shop once a week, all summer long, looking for you to pump her tires, because “her pump just broke”. The Anti-Customer buys parts online, breaks them, then demands you to handle the warranty. The Anti-Customer will expect you to properly fit them on a used bike they’re buying, all over the phone, for free. The Anti-Customer brags about the great deal he found at another shop or online while on your group ride. The Anti-Customer will interrupt every conversation because the Anti-Customer has an opinion about everything. The Anti-Customer will bring in receipts from other stores and ask for the same price on a repair before you even write a quote. When the Anti-Customer always expects you to drop everything to service his internet parts. The Anti-Customer will make late night appointments, forcing you to stay late, and not show up. The Anti-Customer will call over and over, sometimes using fake names if they don’t get what they want. The Anti-Customer will take an expensive bike on a 4-5 hour test ride, leaving you wondering if you should call the police or a self defense lawyer. The Anti-Customer always ask, “So, how’s business?” or say proudly “I’ve sent so many people your way”. You’re forced to spend a lot of time and effort with the Anti-Customer. But when you check your transaction history; you notice they’re not supporting you at all.

Fortunately we have the polar opposite: The Loyal Customer. For the Loyal Customer you’ll stay hours late so their new bike will be ready for the weekend. If you notice the Loyal Customer’s cable fraying before a group ride, you’ll quickly grab the tools to fix it.The Loyal Customer offers to pay for things you’d never even consider charging them for. For the Loyal Customer you’ll search dozens of distributors for the small part that will improve their ride. If the Loyal Customer broke a spoke, you’ll gladly loan them a wheel. The Loyal Customer might get a troublesome flat on their new bike, and you gladly pick them up when they call for help. When closeout season approaches, you offer the deals to the Loyal Customer first. The Loyal Customer doesn’t have to tell you how many customers he’s sent your way, you know. The Loyal Customer doesn’t incessantly ask you how business is, they know business is good because they are supporting you. The Loyal Customer buys a shop kit and wears it proudly. When you run into your Loyal Customer at the grocery store, they’re wearing your t-shirt and don’t ask you a bike question. The Loyal Customer comes to your races and supports the local businesses surrounding the event. The Loyal Customer is always top of your repair queue. You’ll gladly open early to fit into the Loyal Customer’s schedule. For your Loyal Customer you’ll cannibalize a floor sample or even your own bike for the parts that get them back on the road. The Loyal Customer is a important member of the race team, even though they never finish on the lead lap. For the Loyal Customer, you’ll always find the time to clean their bike. The Loyal Customer may be someone who only brings his tune-up once a year, or he may have spend tens of thousands of dollars in your store. The Loyal Customer isn’t measured in dollars. They’re measured by their character and their respect for your hard work.

For the Loyal Customer you’ll do just about anything. They’re more than worth it.

1669917_607356996005637_1313261899_oNicholas Moroder is the everyday face of Belgainwerkx. He has been wrenching on bikes for 10 years and is a Certified Retul University fitter. He’s the kind of guy who can tell you what tire is best for your wet rides, or what brake pads will make your rims last the longest. He manages the service, product , fitting, and day-to-day operation of the shop.

11 Comments

  1. Well stated!

    • I think there could be a similar list for “Anti-Bike Shop” and “Great Bike Shop.”
      The Anti-Bike Shop views and treats their customers in categories like these, The Great-Bike Shop views and treats their customers as loyal customers period.

      • Thanks for the comment Zach. We treat everyone who walks in here with respect, even if that means respectfully denying free service. If you never pay us for anything and take advantage of us, you’re not a customer. Period.

  2. Amen Brother! But I also think a whole article could be written about the perspective from the other side….about the “Loyal Mechanic/Bike Shop”

    In this day and age of high volume, poor service bike shops, finding a shop with old fashioned “vested interest” is almost non-existent. BELGIANWERKX is a diamond in the rough. A small shop founded on relationships and personalized service. I have witnessed countless times a mechanic who will bend over backwards to satisfy any customer, even an Anti-Customer, in an effort to earn their loyalty. For many of us, our loyalty is miles deep and the attention our shop gives to our needs is an expression of their gratitude. This doesn’t happen in big chain bike shops.

    If my deepest motivation is to pay the least amount of money possible by giving any profits to an online operation, I need to accept the fact that it comes with absolutely NO SERVICE OR ADVICE! For me, the small difference in price is strongly offset by the incredible value of the service and advice. This service and advice, I would wager to bet, has saved me hundreds of dollars by steering me towards better products and away from hasty, uneducated purchases on the Internet.

    Thank You BELGIANWERKX for being the shop that understands that service is still a viable business model.

  3. This is a great Blog. I will say this I have been dealing with Tom for many years About 15 or so. Without going into detail he has made sure I am always on the road even if it was an inconvenience for him. Thanks so much for being the best in the biz. Your loyalty to me has bought my loyalty to you. Thanks again.

  4. Daaaang, i’m afraid to RETURN to shop now and ask basic Fitting questions, maybe a Retul fitting necessary for me, but I didn’t purchase bike there ! Yikes. 🙂 All in fun Nick, enjoyed the post tho. I do get it. I’ll tread lightly. Whewww. 🙂

  5. Preach it Brother!

    I work in a small camera store…and we get the very same customers. Always shopping with my online competitors on their phones right in front of me…..demanding an hour long demo of 15 cameras, only to buy it on Amazon right in front of me on their phone just so they don’t have to pay sales tax! AND I EVEN MATCH THE SELLING PRICE ON AMAZON!!!

    But you are so right about the good customers. They make it all worth while. We’d do just about anything for them, including loaning them lenses right from my own camera bag so they can go shoot a wedding or a baby shower.

    Hang in there , Bike guys….we’re all in this together.

  6. thought i’d share a story from the other side of the world. i am from far away philippines and i have my 2007 specialized HR/XC serviced in a small bike shop in Antipolo, Rizal. 90% of their business are “commuter” bikes, these are local bikers who barely make ends meet in life and their bikes are absolute necessities to get to and from their work. i mean, if you saw their bikes, its the most basic of basic and its amazing how far they ride in dangerous traffic everyday just to earn minimum wage (equivalent to about US$7-US$10/day, that’s day, not per hour). Alon Bike shop is family-owned and is part of a string of small bike shops in the Rizal/Marikina area independently owned by relatives. They usually charge “commuter bikers” PhP10-PhP50 (PhP=philippine Pesos) (3 US cents to about a dollar). most times they don’t charge at all and a tiny tip is just given to the bike mechanics (who are just as indigent). they carry the cheapest parts available – whats important is they keep the commuter bikes running even if its just for a day until the user has enough for a proper fix (definitely “loyal customers” to their loyal mechanics). but they also carry what they call here as “Class-a” reproductions (ok, knock-offs) and the original high-end stuff and they sell it at prices that cost more than the big and more affluent bike shops in metro manila.

    anyway, this is where i get my bike serviced regularly and where i get most of my parts, the mechanics are really talented and the one who takes care of my mtb has been doing so for the last 3 years. the bike shop charges me more for service (socialized pricing schemes often discretionary 🙂 ), but i don’t mind, i know it goes directly to the owner and i often give a significant “tip” to my mechanic. the mechanic earns a daily wage of about PhP250/day (US$6/day) plus free meals. I would like to think i would fall in the category of loyal customer 🙂

  7. In 19 years of working in retail, I have never seen retailers act the way local bike shops do. Posting online about how bad their customers are. Really? No wonder it’s a dying business. Now I’m told that I should bribe my LBS with Coffee and Donuts if I want good service and a decent price. Shops and mechanics putting out lists of how customers should act when they come to their store. The only thing I agree with is to not “showroom” a store. The rest of it is ridiculous.

    How about instead of calling me an anti-customer, just call me a former customer.

    • Thanks for the comment Steve. We treat every potential customer with respect and care, and our business is thriving because of that. We also need to take the time to identify the people who do not spend money and waste our time. We could never stay in business otherwise, there are simply too many people looking to scam the system. Speaking of; I can’t find any record of you having ever been in our store. Am I wrong?

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