I guess I am writing this to get it off my mind, but I am curious as to what others think/experience/believe as far as customer service and manners when you go to a store, or a bike shop in particular.
My experience yesterday was disheartening. As I was getting ready to go home yesterday, I noticed that my tire wasn't quite flat, and since it was full in the morning, I guessed it was a slow leak. Instead of riding on it all the way home, I figured I would stop in the first bike shop I passed and the tire filled with air and buy a new tube for me to put on later or just have them change the tube out for me and I pay for a new tube and labor. I stopped as the closest shop along my route home from work, a shop which I will not name. I rolled my bike in, and observed one salesperson in front of me at the bottom of the ramp, and two cashiers behind the register. None of them were doing much of anything but talking to each other since there were no customers in the store, or if there were, I didn't see them. The salesperson just looked at me blankly as I walked in, kind of a dead stare. No "hello" No "welcome to the shop" nothing, nada, just silent staring. The cashiers continued talking to each other. After an awkward silence, I tentatively asked him if there was an air hose available and the staring man nastily snarled - "the pump's over there" and pointed in the general direction of the pump.
Now, I know I came in asking for air for my tire, but I was slightly taken aback that there was absolutely NO friendliness from anyone in that shop- no effort to even try to encourage me to be a customer. If they were friendly, I would have had this shop fix my tire/tube for me or I would have bought my tube and considered coming there again. Of course, due to the attitude of the first person I encountered, I will probably just avoid the place from now on, and go farther out of my way for whatever I need or I will just order it online and avoid personal interaction whatsoever. In fact, all negativity toward this shop would have disappeared if I had received a simple "hello" Or "Hello, can I help you?" and I would have given my bike to them to fix or at least bought a tube from them.
Is this normal for shops, or bike shops in particular? I don't think I have ever felt so unwelcome in a store like I did yesterday. Or am I asking too much for some customer service and general politeness.
And I am also putting my critique on the Bike Shop Database for all it's worth.
When deciding not to frequent a store (of any kind), I like to give them the benefit of the doubt for a return visit. Sometimes it's just the particular day. For what it's worth, I had a vastly different experience at VCC where the mechanic installed a Velo-Orange wheel stabilizer for free after I bought cheap bungie cord from them while in a hurry on my commute home. He did it because he was admiring my bike and my interest in VO parts, which he had just convinced his boss to start carrying there. For Wells Street commuters their location can't be beat, although I try to stop by JC Lind if given the option. He's super nice.
I'll refrain from mud-slinging, but there is another shop where 3/4 of the employees are pretty great, and the one main mechanic is rude, condescending and misleading in his advice. I've since steered myself clear of them despite the fact that they specialize in gear and service that I need. It's unfortunate, but that one person has given me such poor service on more than one occasion. And he once tried to convince me of work that the other mechanics actually refused to do. Enough is enough.
I know a few people who bought bikes there that were not properly assembled and ended up dropping parts on the street after only a few rides.
The only time I went in there, my experience was similar to yours - apathetic attitudes and lack of service.
In contrast, I've gotten good service at Kozy's, Upgrade on Chicago Ave., Pony Shop and Turin in Evanston, Rapid Transit (both locations) and my neighborhood favorite, Beverly Bike & Ski.
I am going out on a limb and say this was Village Cycle Center? ("the bottom of the ramp" gives it away).
That store is a good place if you are looking for a new Trek at a sharp price. If you are shopping for any other reason (service, parts) you should avoid it. Service/Parts are not part of their business plan and hence they don't care.
Not sure what your exact route is, but a little further south from Village Cycle is Kozy's on Erie, just west of Wells. I've had good experiences there.
Does Customer service exist?
Yes. See Boulevard Bikes.
I too have had less than wonderful experiences at Village and won't shop there any longer.
Perhaps because I am just such an AWESOME person, I've actually had pretty good service experiences at all these major shops, including Village, where I've purchased a number of bikes. Certainly, some mechanics (at any shop) are more customer friendly than others, but I almost always get friendly, fast and efficient service at Village.
I've also gotten great service at RapidTransit. Even though it's kind of out of my way, I like to use it simply because one time, stopping in just to purchase a part, I ended up having a great half-hour conversation with the owner. And the RapidTransit people have always been friendly.
My best customer service experience, however, has been with Armitage Bike Shop. I went there once, to get a particular bike seat for my son, and their service was crazy friendly. I wouldn't have been surprised had they invited me home to dinner. And they did a great job.
Piping up for some more positive accounts, Armitage Bike Shop has always been courteous and helpful and Smart Bike Parts downright gregarious. I haven't been in Rapid Transit often, but when I have they've been quick and helpful.
Oak Park Cyclery on the other hand, their work's been shoddy more often than not and after getting my bike serviced and finding it put back together shabbily I'm entirely done with that place. I think it's more for the spandex weekenders than people who really stack the miles so a relationship with their customers is less important to them. Maybe, I don't know.
I've got much love in my heart for Uptown Bikes. I started going there six years ago with a vintage Schwinn varsity. Stopped there on the way home from the hospital after my crash last year. And when I was ready to get a Surly, that's where I went.
The staff knows me and knows my bike. I love going there and I love sending people there. When I was in earlier this week, there was even someone from Twitter there who chose Uptown because of all my tweets of love for them.
Now that I'm less intimidated by the world of cycling, I feel more comfortable in other shops (like Johnny Sprockets and On The Route), but the only place I'll ask lots of questions is Uptown.
So, yeah, there's still good customer service out there.
Village Cycle: Bought 3 bikes from there and comps at other shops were about the same price. Have had good and so-so experiences there for service depending on who I get. Mostly, however, good. The one bad was a tech who tried to sell me a new chain because of a little surface rust; have the same chain 2 years later. I like most of the techs and they recognize me when I come in. If I'm replacing a tube or tire, they'll check out/adjust the rest of the bike n/c. Yes, I do tip the techs b/c I thinks it's the right thing to do.
Kozy Erie: Great experience buying a pair of baggy cycling shorts with at coupon before Bike the Drive. Very friendly staff and check-out person. Had never been in this location before because of Halsted location. When I mentioned Halsted location, check-out lady was quick to point out this location is different.
Kozy Halsted: Probably will never go in again. Was shopping for a lock/cable for a bike and when sales guy figured out I wasn't there to invest in a bicycle, no dice on help for me. He pointed at the rack full of locks, etc. and walked away. When I went to ask questions he was on the computer and said all they had was on the rack, to check again if I didn't see what I was looking for.
Performance Halsted: Bought a seat from there and it broke just over a year later. Stopped on my way home and they replaced the seat including labor n/c. Nice.
Bike Nashbar online: Nice, esp sales/closeouts. WYSIWYG.
That's interesting & true, But I was in there not long ago and they said that same thing to my Marlene & I. As we were talking to the sale person I noticed an older couple in 60's they went outside with their sales person & a trike for a test ride.
Kevin C said:
About 15 years ago I accompanied a friend who was interested in buying a bike that Village carried. I was amazed to learn that they wouldn't let her test ride it. I haven't set foot in Village Cycle since.