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Customer Service vs Competency

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Old 07-12-17, 07:49 AM
  #1  
CadenceCrazy
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Customer Service vs Competency

I supported my LBS...my mistake.

I was able to ride my bike five times while on vacation to relatives. Everything worked fine but, after getting home, the front der no longer went to the big ring. Drat, it was perfect on the last ride and nothing looked out of whack. I tried to fine tune the barrel adjuster thinking the tension might have changed but it was stiff and frozen, probably the result of rain on the last ride and just a cursory after ride cleaning. Since I had to leave again in a week for a cycling vacation, I thought this was a great time to take it to my LBS to have them take a look at the entire bike for anything I had overlooked and off I went.

I explained the symptoms and frozen barrel adjuster to the tech then chatted with the manager while the tech did his magic.

10 minutes later, the tech was done and stated all was well with the front der. He stated he adjusted the cage angle, limit screws, and cable tension. Hmm, cage angle had been pretty much spot on but maybe he only moved it a degree or so, probably no big deal. Maybe limit screw had moved? Possibly.

I trustingly took the bike home. That evening, I had time to check out their fix. Did it move to the big ring? Indeed it did, but a little less crisply and smoothly than before. Did the der trim? Well, not really very well at all. On the big ring the chain rubbed on the last 5 cogs and wouldn't trim. Totally unacceptable. Either the tech didn't check his work or simply didn't care.

I was flabbergasted that they pushed the bike out of the shop in that condition, knowing I was soon starting a 500 mile ride.

Then I looked more closely at their work. The cage angle appeared significantly too far CCW and the in line adjuster was still frozen. Then I started wondering what else he had "fixed."

I completely reinstalled the front der when I bought the bike. Admittedly, I'm a hack but I can get a front der to work very well. However, I'm glacially slow. And this looked really messed up.

I know some folks hate the big chain that starts with P, but my closest one had given me solid service. So, the next morning I was at the door when they opened. I explained the situation and my observations to the tech and manager then watched the process. The tech put the cage back where it had been, fine tuning as necessary to kill the chain noise. Limit screws were reset. He cleaned up the barrel adjuster so that it once again worked properly.

20 minutes later, he was done. Trim was exceptional and ring changes were once again fitting of Ultegra quality. Darn, I need to do this a few more times each week to get that quick!

Unfortunately, my local LBS will never see my body break the plane of their doorway. Their quick customer service and smiles gave me a great feeling but their repair incompetence was a deciding factor. Presently, I'm still too angry to explain the situation to their manager. Maybe in a few days.
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Old 07-12-17, 08:43 AM
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Personally, I would not be too excited either way about either store. The mechanic at Performance could quit and go work for the LBS and then the roles would be reversed. Both stores are only as good as the mechanic on duty at the time your bike is being worked on.

I recommend that you give both the LBS and Performance a Yelp review. Be sure to mention the mechanic at Performance by name.

Performance lives and dies by online reviews and the manager of the store will get a call from their corporate headquarters In Chapel Hill, NC the same day you submit your review. You will literally make their day.


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Old 07-12-17, 09:20 AM
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There are only four settings that make the FD operate properly and the first mechanic did three of them but perhaps not correctly. You can do all of them yourself.
1. height above the bottom bracket - the FD cage has to clear the large chainring in order to move the chain on to it.
2. Inner and outer stops set so the chain doesn't go off either small or large chainring when you pull on the cable or release tension all together.
3. FD cage is parallel to the chainline
4. The cable tension is set so that the chain will easily go on to the large ring. If you set the stop correctly, no matter how hard you pull on the shifter, it will not go off the large ring.
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Old 07-12-17, 09:25 AM
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Bikes are relatively simple machines. Bike mechanic, outside of specialized gurus or owning your own shop, is generally not a highly paid or lucrative position. The majority of the mechanics I come across are my juniors, and I'm hardly old at 31.

Put those three things together, and I have taken the view in life that for someone who has a technical degree and works in an engineering capacity, I can probably work every bit as competently as the 50th percentile mechanic. To illustrate this point, I was offered a job as a mechanic at a local PB a couple months back, on the sole criteria that I told them I was building a bike for a trip (they were desperate, only had one part time mechanic at the time, but didn't want to pay close to my engineering salary). Generally, the point a shop mechanic will beat me at is how quickly they can do a particular job (and wheelbuilding, still need to learn that skill), but then again sometimes them being able to crank it out faster means it isn't getting the attention to detail I may give it.
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Old 07-12-17, 12:52 PM
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I've had good experience w/the P store; they were able to correctly adjust my front derailer when I (and another LBS) couldn't.
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Old 07-12-17, 01:18 PM
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It's hard to find good bike mechanics, harder still to hold onto them.

A friend is the chief bike mechanic for a well known sporting goods chain. She's young, good at it and has a lot of potential. But I doubt they'll keep her. Last time we chatted (not at work) she was thinking about going to another shop for a more favorable schedule while she trains for a health care job. I'd be sorry to see her go but, frankly, most of the health care industry pays better, has better security and more employment opportunities wherever you go.

Meanwhile the nearest LBS to me has a great mechanic, very experienced, close to my age (I'd guess he's early 50s). Really knows his stuff, including old school tricks they probably don't teach in school. I hope they can keep him. But it's not a very busy shop and rarely has more than one customer in the 30 minutes or so I spend there occasionally. I try to buy stuff like tubes, patch kits, etc., from them, just to pitch in a little for the local independent shop, because the mechanics have solved problems for me I couldn't figure out myself.
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Old 07-12-17, 01:40 PM
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I always bring my kit and helmet to test ride the bike after adjustments or repairs and make sure all is well. It does two things, one is that you are indicating to the technician, you always ops test everything, every time. Second is that you may find that a small adjustment is needed as part of the repair, and having at a shop, with tools, stand, and Mr. tech in the same Lat/ Long is going to save you extra trips to the LBS. In a perfect world, they would fix everything, instantly, no charge and perfectly. Not possible!
Always check the work, always ask for all the used parts back, always get an itemized receipt that spells out everything. And ALWAYS generously thank your LBS technician for his attention to your bike. Remember his name, and use it. My local bike store had an incident with my brand new $5K bike and chipped the unobtanium paint. Rather than get angry, I got into the "solutions" mode. They offered several solutions and I also get the feeling that I get special treatment now, every time I come in. Getting angry only puts people on the defensive and they just want to get away from you. If you come across as reasonable but a caring bike owner. I am sure they will do everything possible.
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Old 07-12-17, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post

Meanwhile the nearest LBS to me has a great mechanic, very experienced, close to my age (I'd guess he's early 50s). Really knows his stuff, including old school tricks they probably don't teach in school. I hope they can keep him. But it's not a very busy shop and rarely has more than one customer in the 30 minutes or so I spend there occasionally. I try to buy stuff like tubes, patch kits, etc., from them, just to pitch in a little for the local independent shop, because the mechanics have solved problems for me I couldn't figure out myself.
It's a narrow window. Too slow and the experienced mechanic gets laid off. Too busy and they hire a new sixteen year old to work on your bike.
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Old 07-12-17, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by CadenceCrazy View Post
Presently, I'm still too angry to explain the situation to their manager. Maybe in a few days.
I would have gone back immediately, explained the situation and had the work done correctly, but I know how to deal with situations like this, be it LBS or any other service provider. Stewing over things doesn't do any good. Neither does not broaching the matter with the shop.


Fortunately, I have a couple of fine shops that I can choose from. The owner of one built me a custom ti frame and has a great staff. They have never messed up anything. In fact, aside from the new bike tune up and replacing tubeless tires (no labor charge), the bike is in its third season without needing any work.
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Old 07-12-17, 03:34 PM
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He did a rush job while you were talking to his boss. Didn't know how to go through all the steps, or cut some corners, but either way my 2 cents: let it go. It's enough that they lose your business - any more complaining just costs you time and maybe emotional turmoil, and maybe costs the tech in his job prospects.
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Old 07-12-18, 03:05 PM
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Are you Scottish?
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Old 07-12-18, 03:35 PM
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I understand your frustrations. Here we are so often taught to revere the LBS or at the very least to support them. You did so dutifully and weren't well served. If I was that shop owner and that mechanic, I'd like to hear from you. If you don't provide feedback, you are cheating them out of an opportunity to grow.
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Old 07-12-18, 06:46 PM
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This is the sort of stuff that I find to be ridiculous. If I got work done at a shop and it wasn't totally fixed I would bring it back and have them fix it!

I always question stuff like this because I know any rational person would go back and say "hey I am still having the issue can you take another look and get it fixed" and then if they still cannot fix the problem and have their head tech take a look at it and they cannot fix it, then I would calmly and politely ask for a refund. I would never just randomly take it to another shop unless that shop truly couldn't fix it and that is something I would generally doubt unless the shop is totally staffed by really inexperienced folks which can happen anywhere at any shop.

If you do provide feedback go directly to them and be polite and respectful not angry. If they aren't able to resolve things positively, which I would highly doubt if both sides are respectful, then I would post an honest review online. I do not like dishonesty, when people tell lies about what happened to make their experience seem worse when it wasn't. We always have to remember we are all humans and as humans we can make mistakes. Our goal should be to help them maybe not make that mistake in the future rather than just trying to be punitive when we are providing feedback either in person or online. Of course if someone is truly rude and nasty towards you then that can go out the door but if they were respectful and maybe just didn't know it is a good teaching moment. I always try and imagine myself on the other side of it and how I would treat someone or want to be treated.

Also generally things don't seize after one rainy ride and a bike cleaning it is usually something that happens over time with poor bike maintenance usually at the beginning when things were not properly greased or lubed or anti-seized or pasted. If you check these things regularly you shouldn't have issues and if you ride in the rain a lot then keeping the bike dry when you get back and also regularly re-greasing (or lubing or...) parts that can seize. For instance pulling pedals, seatpost. quill stem and various bolts once a year and re-greasing as needed probably takes 30 minutes max but will likely only take 5-10 minutes and could really save you on down the line.
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Old 07-16-18, 10:19 AM
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the only ppl that don't make mistakes, are ppl that don't do anything. I've made mistakes & when ppl point them out to me I do my best to correct them or prevent them from happening again. it's called growing up & being a professional
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Old 07-16-18, 10:59 AM
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Why go through the trouble of taking your bike to a shop and spending the money when you can learn to fix it yourself and do it in about 2 minutes?
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Old 07-16-18, 11:16 AM
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The troll resurrection that keeps on giving.
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Old 07-16-18, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by CadenceCrazy View Post
I

I know some folks hate the big chain that starts with P, but my closest one had given me solid service.
I have had some mind blowing experiences at Performance and I will never go there again (for service). I remember when a mechanic was trying to put a part in my headset that he claimed was missing. He thought it was a standard headset that you tighten down with a hex wrench from the top and the expander was "missing". I repeatedly told him this is not the case and had to insist he stop doing what he's doing. My headset is an Acros "the clamp" so I found a video on YouTube showing how to tighten it on my smart phone and showed him the video, now he believed me. Unfortunately the store did not have a torx wrench set and the torx wrench that was supposed to be supplied inside the headset cap was not included with my bike when I bought it. I had to leave the store with a loose headset. As far as purchasing a bike at Performance or other equipment they are good. I have a couple of riding buddies that have recently purchased bikes and they got great treatment on the sale in terms of a good $$$ deal and extras thrown in. If you like Fuji, Kestrel, Ridely etc. then I would go there to buy. I won't go back for bike service ever.
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Old 07-16-18, 11:37 AM
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I wanna play too!!!

I haven't brought a bike to a shop in 25 years. I'm very comfortable with most repairs and have most of my own tools.

I got a new carbon fork the other day and was short on time. The fork had it's own lower bearing and cup and integrated race. I knew I could fabricate everything I needed for $20 at Lowes but I was short on time.

The shop was most certainly friendly and excited to meet me. It was also fun to wheel a rather rare handmade steel bike into a small town bikeshop. They did the repair and charged me more than I'd have guessed but it was done. Before I left the shop I noticed that the front brake was adjusted to the sprung position on my Campy levers. As if they didn't even realize that's how they worked. Easy mistake in a small town with no Campy, I made this same mistake when I got the bike, and easy enough to fix. I paid and went home.

As I adjusted the height of my stem, by changing which spacers were stacked above and below the stem, I noticed that the steerer tube cut wasn't perfectly perpendicular. Close enough to be fine but I paid a shop to make that cut and they messed it up. It's annoying. It's not a safety or cosmetic issue, it's just a matter of knowing that a better job could have been done.

Life goes on. I went on several rides and I thought maybe my bike wasn't as perfectly stable under braking pressure at fast descents. I blamed the fork.

5:30am this Saturday, I'm putting the front wheel on my bike moments before beginning the Triple Bypass. I noticed paint worn off my rims just below the braking surface. I check my pads. Sure enough, my nearly new pads have worn grooves too. Basically, the mechanic didn't bring the pads into perfect alignment of the braking surface. This rubbed off the paint and part of the stickers on the rims (the light pulsing/instability I was feeling at high speed braking). Of course there is also the concern of increased pad wear and decreased braking power. I didn't want to mess with it half asleep right before a substantial ride. It was fine for the Triple and I fixed it (re-aligned the pads and sanded them) in about 5 minutes at home.

I can't express how disappointed I was with my first professional bike repair experience since I was a teenager.
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Old 07-16-18, 12:34 PM
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Did you say that you completely re-installed the front der when you first bought the bike?
Did I miss something?
Why?
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Old 07-16-18, 12:40 PM
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indyfabz
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The LBS that built my custom frame, built the wheels and built up the bike did such a good job I have hardly needed any adjustments in over 3 years. And it went to bat for me twice when I had issues with my Chris King rear hub.
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Old 07-16-18, 01:21 PM
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Waaah !

Location, Location, Location...

so you sworn off your car mechanic too?

build your own computers, from now on..





...

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