My wife came home tonight after visiting Libertyville Cyclery — the bike shop right next to the train station (Metra) north of downtown Libertyville. My better half is interested in purchasing a road bike soon — after purchasing a hybrid (Giant bicycle) at Libertyville Cyclery about 4 years ago.
I could tell she was annoyed after her visit and complained, “They seem to have an attitude in there. They’re not in a hurry to serve you and it’s like you’re disturbing them!”
One of my goals when dealing with friends and work colleagues is to be a good listener and provide empathy when necessary. So at this point, I smiled and thought about my experiences at the largest bike store in Libertyville over the years and the first thing that came to me was, “I feel your pain.” This is something I’ve experienced over the years but her mentioning this helps vindicate some of my experiences at Libertyville Cyclery (LC).
Image from Schwinn.com
A little more perspective might be useful. Being responsible for repairing and maintaining all 5 bikes for the family, I’ve frequented LC 1-2 times each year over the last 9 years. From my past experiences there, it’s a crapshoot on your service experiences. Sometimes, you visit looking for a bike gadget or new inner tube and they are very casual about serving you. When I say casual, I don’t mean they were easy going and friendly. No, they weren’t in a hurry to wait on me. Perhaps just another customer that is getting in their way of fixing bicycles. I don’t think it’s their intent or if they even care but it sometimes comes across that the roles are reversed and the focus and attention goes onto the service provider and not on the customer.
Other my visits to LC are fine and without attitude — the attendant may answer my questions directly and service me with a smile and no attitude. That’s a pleasure to see but again, you don’t know which interaction you will experience.
Many years ago, when I was much younger working in retail, I had my moments when I was casual with some customers or sometimes didn’t care — an air of superiority. When the owner caught me engaged in this snotty attitude, he gave me a tongue lashing emphasizing that customers are our bread and butter and we need to treat with respect and support them wherever we can. In retrospect, I deserved that lesson in customer service and often use those benchmarks to evaluate the level of service I may receive at a given store or restaurant.
Their business appears to be doing fine although you wonder how many current or former customers have sometimes complained about their service. Perhaps they have such a strong reputation, they worry little about some of the annoying or inadequate service customers may experience.
Perhaps they show so much competence so locals automatically bring their bikes back each April or May knowing they may have to deal with attitude at LC but at least the bike will be fixed properly. Or perhaps, George Garner, the owner, is aware of some of his current or former employees displaying this attitude (hint, see below). You can’t take anything for granted.
ONE SIDE NOTE I FOUND ON THEIR WEBSITE THIS WEEK — LOOKING FOR NEW EMPLOYEES WITH GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE SKILLS…
That’s right — we’re looking for a few good new employees. If you think you’ve got the right stuff, apply today! We are currently looking for seasonal help at all three of our locations and there is also an opening for full time employment. Outstanding customer service skills are a must. Please call George at 847-272-2100 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org