With unit sales in the toilet, we found that a lot of our Top 100 dealers found profit elsewhere in the store, many of the focusing on the service department. While many had to tap their creativity to stretch more dollars out of the back shop, all seemed to focus on one thing: customer service.
Donahue Harley-Davidson/Buell of Sauk Rapids, Minn., tapped into its fleet of service techs — in this group that has a combined 38 years of experience is a guy they call the “motorcycle whisperer” — by offering discount parts and labor for customers’ bikes stored during the winter months.
In 2009 Washington, Mo.’s J&W Cycles Inc. instituted a discount pre-paid card program for customers who purchase a new unit. The card can be used on service work or purchases, and can be recharged at a discounted rate.
Visitors browsing the website of Fun Bike Center Motorsports in Lakeland, Fla., can catch a break on service work by downloading the web-only service coupons, which change on a weekly basis to get customers coming back to see what new specials are being offered. Once their machines are on the lifts, customers can watch technicians work through the service area’s glass walls.
Technicians at Hayden Honda Powerhouse of Kendallville, Ind., are required to attend up to two factory training schools each winter.
Cyclewise Inc./Ducati Vermont of New Haven, Vt., offers free pickup and delivery for service vehicles, especially during inconvenient weather. And, if kept in storage during winter months, those vehicles receive “spa-like” treatment.
‘Nuff said: Steve Seltzer Honda in Altoona, Penn., offers its service techs shower facilities.
Customers at Golden Triangle Powersports of Beaumont, Texas, who take advantage of the “Pit Pass” service program can get same-day service on scheduled maintenance at 33 percent off regular price.
Roswell (what aliens?), N.M.’s Champion Motorsports has in its service department two slatwall displays featuring “Free Installation of These Items With Service” products.
Don Jeka’s store, Great Bay Motorcycles in North Hampton, N.H., offers loaner bikes to service department customers, and has a dedicated employee for pickup-and-deliver service during the riding season.
Strokers Dallas of Texas has an in-house fabrication shop that allows the store to create one-off custom pieces for customers. And, should they be so inclined, these customers can watch these parts being installed in the service department.
There’s usually a 24-hour turnaround time for vehicles in for service at Del Amo Motorsports in Redondo Beach, Calif. The dealership also offers a $20 oil change special, and free barbecue and drinks on the last Saturday of the month — the event has attracted upward of 75 bikes that are lined up outside the store starting early in the morning.
How big is the service department at Washington state’s Downtown Harley-Davidson Renton? Big enough to house 23 service bays and 30 bike lifts big.
This story originally appeared in the Dealernews April 2010 issue.