Seth Godin, special requests and bike shop service

The bike shop is busy in June. If you bring your bike in for a tune up, it will cost $39 and take a week.

A week!

What if someone says, “I have a bike trip coming up in three days, can you do it by then?”

At most bike shops, the answer is a shrug, followed by, “I’m sorry, we’re swamped.”

The problem with telling people to go away is that they go away. And the problem with treating all customers the same is that customers aren’t the same. They’re different and they demand to be treated (and are often willing to pay) differently.

What’s your opinion of this? Read Seth Godin’s opinion.

10 Comments

  • Anonymous
    July 3, 2009 - 6:01 pm | Permalink

    This kind of attitude is all too common with bike shops. They can't, or won't, think on their feet to make things work, like a good waiter or hotel concierge — people who serious about service. The thing is, bike shops claim to be all about service, and moan about losing business to mail order. But at every opportunity to actually provide service, they drop the ball.Part of this, I think, is that those who go into the bike business in the first place are into bikes (things) more than they are people. They're perfectly happy to twiddle with bikes all day, but get frustrated when they have to deal with a live person with an issue.

  • Anonymous
    July 3, 2009 - 11:01 am | Permalink

    This kind of attitude is all too common with bike shops. They can't, or won't, think on their feet to make things work, like a good waiter or hotel concierge — people who serious about service. The thing is, bike shops claim to be all about service, and moan about losing business to mail order. But at every opportunity to actually provide service, they drop the ball.

    Part of this, I think, is that those who go into the bike business in the first place are into bikes (things) more than they are people. They're perfectly happy to twiddle with bikes all day, but get frustrated when they have to deal with a live person with an issue.

  • cafiend
    July 3, 2009 - 8:11 pm | Permalink

    We always try to do triage on incoming repairs. Many customers are not in a hurry. They willingly take a later completion date, opening a gap in which we can schedule more urgent matters.And sometimes swe're just swamped.It's too easy for someone to say from outside the business "how it should be run." Alas, we are flawed human beings who sometimes want a scrap of our own life back, which interferes with the gratification of our masters' wishes.

  • cafiend
    July 3, 2009 - 1:11 pm | Permalink

    We always try to do triage on incoming repairs. Many customers are not in a hurry. They willingly take a later completion date, opening a gap in which we can schedule more urgent matters.

    And sometimes swe're just swamped.

    It's too easy for someone to say from outside the business "how it should be run." Alas, we are flawed human beings who sometimes want a scrap of our own life back, which interferes with the gratification of our masters' wishes.

  • GeekGuyAndy
    July 3, 2009 - 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Personally I find it a bit ridiculous that bike shops even make you wait a day. If a car can get a brake job, oil change, inspection, and car wash in an hour, what the heck is so difficult about bikes? At least the easy jobs should be in and out, not drop off and come back in a week.I've just learned through experience to fix things, and buy parts online because I got fed up with the time and cost of bike shops.

  • GeekGuyAndy
    July 3, 2009 - 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Personally I find it a bit ridiculous that bike shops even make you wait a day. If a car can get a brake job, oil change, inspection, and car wash in an hour, what the heck is so difficult about bikes? At least the easy jobs should be in and out, not drop off and come back in a week.

    I've just learned through experience to fix things, and buy parts online because I got fed up with the time and cost of bike shops.

  • cafiend
    July 4, 2009 - 2:38 am | Permalink

    Geek Guy Andy, buy a shop and run it for a year. Then tell me what a snap it should be to bang people's work through.You did learn to do your own minor repairs, which is the real lesson. We can't charge car shop prices and maintain car shop levels of staffing. Also, what sort of grinding hours do you want your personal servants to keep in order to accomplish what you feel is an appropriate work output?As yourself in ALL things who is being overloaded to service your lifestyle.We all need to ease up on each other a little instead of copping some hardcore demanding pose.

  • cafiend
    July 3, 2009 - 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Geek Guy Andy, buy a shop and run it for a year. Then tell me what a snap it should be to bang people's work through.

    You did learn to do your own minor repairs, which is the real lesson. We can't charge car shop prices and maintain car shop levels of staffing. Also, what sort of grinding hours do you want your personal servants to keep in order to accomplish what you feel is an appropriate work output?

    As yourself in ALL things who is being overloaded to service your lifestyle.

    We all need to ease up on each other a little instead of copping some hardcore demanding pose.

  • Yokota Fritz
    July 4, 2009 - 3:00 am | Permalink

    My opinion: If I know I need my bike for an event or a tour, I know better than to bring it to the shop at the last minute.(and who charges only $39 for a tuneup?)

  • Yokota Fritz
    July 3, 2009 - 8:00 pm | Permalink

    My opinion: If I know I need my bike for an event or a tour, I know better than to bring it to the shop at the last minute.

    (and who charges only $39 for a tuneup?)

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