As Boulder County bike industry confronts sales slump, retail trainers focus on manners

Steve Cepek of Full Cycle bikes in Boulder on Friday runs through the features of a touring bike the Lawson Drinkard is considering upgrading to in advance of Drinkard’s ride in the 120 mile Triple Bypass. ( Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer )

From the Daily Camera

Local cycling shops are investing in a training program to teach their employees not how to fix a flat or fit someone for a bike, but how to smile, greet customers, maintain eye contact, say please and thank you — basic manners that, business owners hope, will save their shops from the decline ravaging the industry as more shoppers move online.

“Almost all the training that bike shop employees get is technical training or how to sell products,” said Ray Keener, former board president of Community Cycles and executive director of Bicycle Product Suppliers Association. “Nobody is teaching them how to interact better with their fellow humans.”

Keener, through his industry training company Growth Cycle, is developing the CST (Customer Satisfaction Training) program with retail training firm The Mann Group to develop the content. Australia’s Myagi will create the presentation platform, consisting of more than 20 videos covering everything from phone behavior to selling service.

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3 thoughts on “As Boulder County bike industry confronts sales slump, retail trainers focus on manners

  1. I just recently had a pretty wonderful experience at a bike dealership. I walked in where I was immediately greeted courteously and enthusiasticly. I was welcomed and asked what I might be interested in and if the sales person could assist. The whole experience of bike buying was just outstanding from beginning to end. But this was a Harley Davidson dealership. To be honest I’ve never been more warmly welcomed by a retail shop as I was at that Harley Dealership. And it’s not just one dealership. They all strive to be like that. And whether you are buying just a pair of gloves or a new bike, they make you feel like you belong. HD is a community. The bicycle industry could learn a thing or two from Harley Davidson.

  2. I’m glad this is happening. One of the reasons I almost exclusively order online is because I don’t like the “vibe” of most bike shops. I don’t need anyone to hold my hand, but most staff seem cold and dispassionate. I’ve mentioned this to many of the people I ride with and it seems to be common knowledge that this is just how bike shops are.

    I will say that I think University Bicycles in Boulder is a fantastic exception to this rule and, if I lived closer, would certainly buy from them more frequently than I currently do. Also, oddly enough, most Performance Bike staff seem to be pretty friendly, but this might be a function of pre-existing training that staff go through as part of a major retail chain. Whatever the case, the experience in these kinds of shops should be the norm rather than the exception!

  3. Interesting! This is also an indicator of what has been lost in Retailing, and keeps driving online purchasing: poor or non existing customer interaction and empathy. All the cool and sometimes important (even fun!) stuff we know and/or care about matters not in marketing and sales if we don’t or won’t or don’t like sharing it with others.

    Good luck with your program; may I suggest some mentoring for employees, from ANY business happily customer-involved persons? Those of us who like such activity know the benefits, regardless of what business we are in! Some firms hire only from outside their specific business, focused on attitude and people skills (hard to teach, maybe!) and then teach their required field’s knowledge. Training is never optional, I believe, it’s what one does, everday!

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