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Old 08-16-07, 05:40 PM   #1
madfiNch
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+1 for Specialized

A few weeks ago I bought a Specialized Allez Elite. It was technically my third choice bike, but after receiving dirt poor service at the shop with the Trek bikes, I headed to the shop that had the Cannondale and Specialized bikes. I was immediately unhappy with their selection of road bikes in my price range (~$1000), and the guy helping me got extremely noticeably unhappy about helping me once I told him I didn't want a $3000 bike. They didn't have any Cannondales in the $1000 range, which is stupid because they're the only C'dale carrier within like 50 miles of me. So, I finally settled on the Specialized. It turns out that even though it wasn't my first choice, I really like it a lot, it's a great feeling bike and I have almost no complaints about it.
So, I later went to the Specialized website to register my bike and they have as part of the registration process a form to fill out about your buying experience and how you like your bike and stuff. So, I filled it out and today I got this email from their regional sales manager:

Dear Megan,
Thank you for your recent purchase of an Allez Elite. That is a very nice bicycle. While you indicated that you were quite satisfied with the bicycle, you indicated that you were somewhat dissatisfied with our retailer, Erikís. We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves and I would certainly appreciate it if you could give me a little insight as to the issue(s) you experienced while shopping. Obtaining information like this is important for us if we are to improve the shopping experience going forward. Iím glad you like your bike and thank you again for choosing Specialized. I hope to hear from you soon.
Best Regards,
Bill Schouman
North Regional Sales Manager
Specialized Bicycle Components
231-343-8931

I think that's really cool. We'll see what happens when I tell him about my buying experience. It's good to know that someone cares about the people that sell their bikes.
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Old 08-16-07, 05:47 PM   #2
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That's awesome. I wish other manufacturers did this sort of thing, and not just for bikes. We'll see what follow through there is though. Money talks, unfortunately. I just can't figure out why some shops are so successful, and staffed with total jerks.
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Old 08-16-07, 06:25 PM   #3
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Knowing Specialized, they won't do jack ****.
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Old 08-16-07, 06:33 PM   #4
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Knowing Specialized, they won't do jack ****.
Well, hopefully this isn't true. I have sold specialized before, and the district rep was also a good friend and riding/racing bud. I've seen this guy bend over backwards with customers for things like saddles, gloves, stems and the whole range of bikes. Of course, not every rep is good, nor do they always go the extra mile, but hopefully the rep that deals with "Erik's" will talk to the shop owner(s) and the employee about customer relations. But I'll take a second to say, that stories like this one are double edged for me, on one hand, that "greater than thou" attitude is one reason I finally left the cycling industry, but the other hand, it makes me want to go back just to give people overall positive buying experiences, no matter what they are buying. Good shops build good cycling communities, and that is good for all of us.
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Old 08-16-07, 06:50 PM   #5
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But I'll take a second to say, that stories like this one are double edged for me, on one hand, that "greater than thou" attitude is one reason I finally left the cycling industry, but the other hand, it makes me want to go back just to give people overall positive buying experiences, no matter what they are buying. Good shops build good cycling communities, and that is good for all of us.
Yeah, you know, my mom was surprised when I was telling her about what happened. I guess Erik's started in MN as a small shop and now it's branched out into several states. There was an article in the paper that she had read recently that said the reason why Erik's was doing so well was because they had such great sales people. Initially a different guy had come to help me, but I asked him to come back in a few minutes. The not-so-great guy got to me before the other guy came back.. Oh well. At least someone will hear about it, even if they don't do anything about it..
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Old 08-24-07, 01:12 PM   #6
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So have you heard anything from them? What did you write them?
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Old 08-24-07, 02:01 PM   #7
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Once a small business becomes a chain, it's hard to maintain the same level of service because the management oversight that resulted in the quality service in the first place doesn't scale. The owner can't monitor all of the stores.

There are lots of bike shops in the twin cities of all different sizes and styles. Just about anyone should be able to find at least one. Some of my favorites are Grand Performance, Freewheel, Hub co-op, One-on-one, and Flanders. I've been to several other good ones whose names don't immediately come to mind.
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Old 08-24-07, 05:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by madfiNch View Post
A few weeks ago I bought a Specialized Allez Elite. It was technically my third choice bike, but after receiving dirt poor service at the shop with the Trek bikes, I headed to the shop that had the Cannondale and Specialized bikes. I was immediately unhappy with their selection of road bikes in my price range (~$1000), and the guy helping me got extremely noticeably unhappy about helping me once I told him I didn't want a $3000 bike. They didn't have any Cannondales in the $1000 range, which is stupid because they're the only C'dale carrier within like 50 miles of me. So, I finally settled on the Specialized. It turns out that even though it wasn't my first choice, I really like it a lot, it's a great feeling bike and I have almost no complaints about it.
So, I later went to the Specialized website to register my bike and they have as part of the registration process a form to fill out about your buying experience and how you like your bike and stuff. So, I filled it out and today I got this email from their regional sales manager:

Dear Megan,
Thank you for your recent purchase of an Allez Elite. That is a very nice bicycle. While you indicated that you were quite satisfied with the bicycle, you indicated that you were somewhat dissatisfied with our retailer, Erik’s. We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves and I would certainly appreciate it if you could give me a little insight as to the issue(s) you experienced while shopping. Obtaining information like this is important for us if we are to improve the shopping experience going forward. I’m glad you like your bike and thank you again for choosing Specialized. I hope to hear from you soon.
Best Regards,
Bill Schouman
North Regional Sales Manager
Specialized Bicycle Components
231-343-8931

I think that's really cool. We'll see what happens when I tell him about my buying experience. It's good to know that someone cares about the people that sell their bikes.
Don't hold your breath. I used to manage an Erik's some 10 years ago now. Back then I tried to convince him to bring in more entry level road bikes. He was just not interested. "Sell what we have," he would always say and turn his back on you as if you were an idiot (which is probably why your salesperson was a little distressed).

Erik is the #1 Specialized dealer in the U.S. and right up there with Cannondale. When it comes to buying for each season, he pretty much runs the show because he doesn't have to listen to the dealers the way a smaller outfit would. In other words, neither company will communicate your complaint to Erik as they are too busy jockeying for more floor space.

If they did, I know what his disintrested, condescending, monotone response would be: "Well, she bought one of your bikes didn't she?"

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Old 08-24-07, 05:51 PM   #9
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Once a small business becomes a chain, it's hard to maintain the same level of service because the management oversight that resulted in the quality service in the first place doesn't scale. The owner can't monitor all of the stores.
Erik monitors all of the stores. He reads the sales reports every day and redistributes product around accordingly.

His philosophy is that if Erik's doesn't have a Cannondale at pricepoint X, then there is no reason that the customer can't be talked into a Specialized at that same pricepoint.

He's right for the most part. Erik's moves a ton of bikes.
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