Often I am confused why people are in utter amazement about the growth of their business . . . or lack of growth, I should say. Of course, at this time of year I am strength training and trainer bombing to prepare for next season. My B bike gets all of the attention, and my A bike is stripped down for a total makeover. I am headed to a mid-compact Rotor crank and some new Zipp 202 wheels with a different cosmetic look to boot. Here is where my bewilderment comes in:
When I buy things, generally anything of significant cost or anything to do with anything really, I like to do a proper amount of research. When it came to a new wheel set, I started digging and found a company in Colorado that custom builds wheels to need for a good price. It took a bit more research on their background, but decided that I should go with them. It took a couple of calls to the store before reaching someone (red flag?). When I talked with the owner of the company, he was very nice and helpful. Okay, disregard the red flag and get a quote for the build I want. A couple of days go by, so I call . . . repeatedly. I only get an answering machine. Now, understand that this is not a dude’s wheel company in his garage; this is an actual wheel company who sponsors a Cat 1 team in California. Next, I go to back to the website and do a “contact” email. I wait. No response on that either. Finally, I call again and get a guy who helps there in the shop. I relay my frustration, and he tells me that guys are in and out of the office and mainly stay in the warehouse building wheels and shipping them out. What? I’ve got an idea: hire a teenager or college student to answer the phones and deliver messages. Just a sweet voice: “It’s a nice day at _________ wheels. What may we do for you?” The dude who did answer was nice and apologizes, but the damage is done. Wheels aren’t cheap, and I have to feel confident in the process of any purchase. What’s my option? I ended up paying more for the Zipps, but I know that it is a reliable company with a good track record for customer service . . . and it’s not like the wheels are crap. The new Zipp 202s are incredible, but that is for another post.
The sad thing about this business mentality is that it is not an isolated incident. I am astounded at the lack of customer service at many small businesses and medium size businesses. Even at some local bike shops, it is a laissez faire attitude. “Yeah, we don’t have it in stock, but we might can order it.” Crap, man! I can do that on Amazon.com. Of course, there are many exceptions. There are many hard working people in the world who try to do it the correct way. I try my best to support local folks, but to meet up with businesses that have no desire to improve and grow is nuts to me.