One and done

“First call resolution” is what they called it in a call center I supported. The core concept is that when you are contacted by a customer with a need or an issue, service providers work to meet all the customers needs during their first contact.

Our local bike shop could certainly take a lesson from that. (Well, it used to be our local bike shop, but they were recently bought out by a major bike brand from Wisconsin.)

My wife’s bike needed a tune up, so we brought the bike into the shop. (A whole other story that will be coming soon.) When it was time to pick up the bike, my wife and I walked over to the shop. I brought my bike along so we could ride home together.

With Covid precautions in place at the shop, I waited for my wife out in the parking lot while she went in to pick up her bike. Luckily, it was a lovely warm Spring day.

My wait for her turned out to be forty minutes but more on that in the upcoming post. While I was waiting, a couple went into the store to pick up a bicycle. Soon they rolled out a nice-looking bike with disc brakes and thru axels and proceeded to try to get the bike into the back of their car.

Sizing up the situation, it looked like if they removed the front wheel, they would be able to get the bike in with little problem. But, as near as I could see, they had not brought any tools with them. After several unsuccessful attempts at loading the intact bike, I asked if I could be of any help since I had the necessary tools in by saddle bag. The couple politely declined and continued their struggle, while I went back to reading my book on my iPhone.

A little while later, I saw one of them reenter the store and return shortly with one of the bike techs. The tech had brought along a small set of hex wrenches. After sizing up the situation, the tech proceeded to loosen the seat binder bolt and removed the saddle and seat post. Then they turned and, without checking if the couple might need anything else, walked back in the store as the couple returned to their struggle with the bike.

Removing the seat post did allowed the bike to slide into the trunk of the car and onto the lowered back seats much easier. But it did little to remedy the four inches of bike wheel that was still hanging out of the trunk. The couple tried several different ways of sliding the bike into the trunk, but they were always left with four inches of front bike wheel hanging out the back. They looked briefly at me then one of them returned to the store.

Several minutes later, they returned with the same tech. This time he had the couple slide the bike out of the car and using the allen wrench he brought along, removed the front wheel. Then he turned and walked back into the store. With the front wheel off, the couple was able to slide the bike into their trunk, place the wheel on top of the bike and were finally able to head home.

As a former bike shop supervisor, I could tell that there were several times when the service broke down.

The first was before the couple left the store with the bike. The service person should have checked to see if the couple needed any help getting their bicycle loaded up. Giving the bike tech the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they did ask, and the couple had declined.

But the bike tech’s service in the parking lot clearly failed the customers. After they returned to the store once to ask for help getting the bike into the car, the tech should have made sure they got the bike in the car.

Most times to transport a bike easily in a car you remove the front wheel. He ignored this common fix and instead removed the seat post. I can only hope that he marked the post in some manner so the customer would be able to set the height properly when they got home. (I did not see the tech mark the post.) Certainly, before he returned to the store, he should have made sure that the couple could get the bike in the car. But the tech had failed to resolve the customer’s issue.

This required the couple to once more return to the store and to get the tech to come out and remove the wheel, something that the tech should have done on the first trip. If I had been in the couple’s shoes, I would have been frustrated with the tech, disappointed with the service the shop and the brand provided and probably a bit angry.

The two key take-aways from this situation are:

  • Service providers, whether they are techs, salespeople, cashiers or customer service employees, should anticipate customer’s needs and preemptively provide solutions to them.
  • When working to solve a customer’s problem, they should solve it the first time.

Now, I only hope the customer had the required hex wrench to replace the seat post when they got home.

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