Customer Satisfaction is the Best Advertising
Manchester, New Hampshire
For some bike shops, providing great customer service is the difference-maker against the competition in their market, and often it's the primary focus of their advertising message. For other shops with very limited marketing dollars, customer satisfaction is their advertising, in the form of positive word-of-mouth and online reviews.
As word-of-mouth marketing and review sites like Yelp.com become increasingly influential to consumers, retailers in general must place greater importance on providing excellent customer service, regardless of their advertising budgets. The challenge for many bike shop owners is accurately gauging how well they're performing in the eyes of their customers. By implementing tools that actually measure satisfaction, here are two shops who really do know what people think of their service.
Dan Wallis of South Mountain Cycles (Phoenix, AZ) started using a mystery shopping service offered through The Biking Solution earlier this year, and has been pleased with the results. "Mystery shopping provides several very important measurables for our business. First, it confirms the effectiveness of our sales training. Just as important, mystery shopping gives us a 'fresh eyes' evaluation of how we are perceived by new customers. The evaluation helps us understand everything from how visible our store is to a passerby, to helping refine our store's layout in an effort to improve a customer's ability to flow smoothly through the various departments and bicycle segments throughout the store. Mystery shopping is a very important tool that we utilize to stay ahead of the competition."
Wallis adds, "Our customers have many choices including several large sporting goods chains and big box superstores to a handful of IBD's all within close proximity. That means we need to service our customers better than the rest and separate ourselves from the competition if we expect our customers to refer to South Mountain Cycles as their preferred shop. Customer satisfaction is key to customer retention. Exceeding our customer's expectations is our mission, and it sets us apart from other IBD's in the market. It's why we stay busy in an economically strapped time period."
Staying in contact with customers after the sale is key to ensure they are completely satisfied. Communicating with the customer after their purchase is not only a way to collect their valuable feedback, it's also an additional revenue opportunity. Santos Trailhead Bike Shop (Ocala and The Vllage, FL) owner, Dawn Phelps, also a member of The Biking Solution, was an early adopter of TBS' Ride Club customer loyalty program. Ride Club sends out personalized email and direct mail communications to Dawn's customers on her behalf (she uses customer appreciation postcards, promotional and newsletter emails, and has created a highly successful rewards program). These pieces give Dawn's customers additional incentives to return, but Santos doesn't stop there. Each email and direct mail piece provides their customers with an opportunity to share feedback on their shopping experience via a Net Promoter Score survey*.
With the NPS survey responses she's received, Dawn can see the scores given by individual customer, as well as a summary that compares her overall score with those of all other Biking Solution members using the Ride Club program. "Good retailers focus on good customer relationships so we knew we needed to implement a program like The Biking Solution's Ride Club," Phelps said. "With all the competition from retail business in general it was extremely important for our growth as a business."
TBS managing director Greg Brodsky adds, "The Internet has given consumers a true voice, and it's why word of mouth is so powerful today. With review and social networking sites, people are no longer sharing their shopping experiences with their neighbors and friends- they're sharing them with everyone. And we know they are many times more likely to share their bad experiences than they are the good ones. Retailers should be going on these sites and reading what people are saying about them, and should be asking their customers for feedback. Customer satisfaction, or lack thereof, can make or break a business today. That's one of the main reasons we've developed mystery shopping and Net Promoter Score tools for our members- to give them a way to measure their customers' satisfaction. As we like to say, you can't improve what you can't measure."
TBS works best for retailers who are ready to take their businesses to the next level. Members have reported dramatic stories of lives changed for the better because of the increased profitability brought about by TBS services. On average, TBS retailers grow about 30% faster than non-TBS retailers. The Biking Solution is the industry leader at improving the profitability and quality of life for specialty bike retailers. For more information contact: TBS Member Services 1-800-450-7595, or www.thebikingsolution.com.
*What is Net Promoter Score?
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a relatively new metric used by large companies to measure customer satisfaction. NPS is now being embraced by many small business owners. To determine your NPS, you'll need to start by asking your customers one question - how likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend or colleague?
Your customers' answers should be on a scale of 0 (would definitely not recommend) to 10 (highly recommend). Customers who give scores of 9 or 10 are considered "Promoters". Customers who give scores of 6 or less are "Detractors".
The NPS is calculated by taking the percentage of Promoters minus the percentage of Detractors. A shop with 70% promoters and 10% detractors would have an NPS of 60. The average for most US companies is much lower- in fact, a score above 50 is considered excellent.
More from The Biking Solution:
Over 100 Bicycle Retail Stores Attend Business Improvement Training Provided by The Biking Solution
Children to Benefit from Sale of Special Edition Bicycle
TBS sends one lucky retailer to the Tour de France
The Biking Solution Opens Retailer Doors
Training Even More Crucial in a Slow Economy
The Biking Solution Member Expansion Continues
IBD's Offer Longer Term Consumer Financing to Sustain Higher Sales in Tough Economy
Customer Satisfaction is the Best Advertising
The Biking Solution Holding Prospective Member Meeting at Interbike