Green Mountain Harley-Davidson
Core Purpose: To create life-enhancing experiences for everyone we come in contact with.
Showroom Design and Layout
In January, 2012, we unveiled our new customer lounge during our annual dealership birthday party. The lounge is a perfect place for our guests to hang out while their motorcycle is being serviced. It is also used to host new-rider education classes and video presentations/meetings. The lounge is equipped with tall, oil barrel round tables and barstools. Guests can watch their favorite shows on the large, flat screen TV or work on their laptops with our free WiFi access. The front side of the lounge is a large garage door made out of windows, and it rolls up like a typical garage door. The space is pleasant and well-lit with natural light and we often leave the garage door open during nice weather.
The Customer Lounge is decorated with motorcycle memorabilia on the walls and in glass showcases. Our local pinstripe professional decorated the doors and walls with cool pinstripe accents. In return for this service, we display his cards and a photo album of his work. We also have him at our events, working on pinstriping projects. With this exposure, he has built his customer database. It’s a win-win for all.
In addition to the customer lounge, we converted our TV monitors to show pictures of our events and customers with their bike purchases. One TV monitor is at the parts and service counter, and other monitors are around the MotorClothes and showroom floor. Our guests enjoy watching the pictures and it lets them know that we host a multitude of events throughout the year.
Our service department is unique. A few years ago, we combined our parts and service department areas. Physically, they are one department. There are four main team members (Parts And Service Specialists, aka PASS) that manage our customers’ parts and service needs. It’s a convenient one-stop-shopping experience for our customers. Customers can order a part and, at the same time, schedule the service to install the part. We have found that our labor-to-parts volume has increased since we combined the departments. We have seen an 8 percent increase in service labor and a 12 percent increase in parts sales year-to-date for 2012.
Additionally, it has eliminated the common challenges between parts and service. We no longer hear a service writer complain that the part guy ordered the wrong part, because the parts person also schedules the service. Not to say mistakes don’t happen. The co-mingling of the two departments mitigates confusion and fosters better communication and teamwork.
We have also added new technology to increase the efficiency of the Parts and Service Specialists. The PASS department utilizes a Google Platform to facilitate a smooth and immediate flow of communication. The service schedule document is a multi-access Google document that is shared with all PASS team members so they can see the schedule in real time and make updates and changes as needed.
Cloud computing facilitates constant and up-to-date communication between team members. All GMH-D team members utilize the chat feature to send messages between technicians and PASS members as well as other members of the team. This is incredibly helpful, especially during the spring rush. The chat feature helps cut down on lost time and those pesky sticky notes getting misplaced.
Training and Employee Motivation Practices
We use a variety of continuing education and sales incentives to maintain top performance. Training ranges from weekly team meetings, one-on-one meetings/reviews and outside and in-house yearly training for technicians and team members. Yearly, the Leadership Team has four off-site meetings to work on budgeting, leadership management, marketing and developing new ideas/systems.
Additionally, we participate in a mystery shopping service. Sales, service, parts and MotorClothes are all tested by our mystery shop program. The mystery shoppers grade the interaction and send us detailed reports and voice/video recordings of the interaction. We employ phone shoppers as well as full dealership visits. They include overviews of the facility and the ease of finding products within the dealership. We share these reports with all team members for educational purposes. Employees who achieve a perfect 100 percent score receive a $50 incentive bonus. This award is given out at our monthly all-staff meetings. It’s a great educational tool to reinforce excellent customer service skills (bad examples can be as helpful as good examples).
Education, training and incentive programs are an ongoing process throughout the year. We feel that our consistent focus on training enables us to have an outstanding team to deliver Life Enhancing Experiences. Our performance metrics (From Gart Sutton Group) indicate we operate within the top 20 percent of dealerships in the country for profitability, margin and customer service.
Commitment to Customer Service
We strive to entertain and educate our customers. Our business is centered around the enjoyment and escape that motorcycles provide. We aspire to create Life Enhancing Experiences.
In one example: We had a customer, we can call him Sam, that came in looking for a sportster. As the conversation developed, we learned he was looking to buy a bike for his wife, Jennifer, for her birthday. She was turning 40, and Sam knew she would love a brand new motorcycle. We invited them both to a VIP party with catered food, free spirits (wine and whiskey) tasting , custom motorcycles on lifts, rider education, cool videos, etc. While at the event, Jennifer browsed the motorcycles and found her dream bike. After the event, Sam made the purchase (without his wife’s knowledge) and we had the bike delivered to her garage before she arrived home from work. It was wrapped in a bow and placed under the garage spotlight. When she opened the garage door she was surprised by the vision of her dream bike. Tears of joy followed. Jennifer was impressed by the event and the details involved to make the purchase of her dream bike memorable. She speaks very highly of GMH-D and is a great addition to our GMH-D family.
Involvement in the Community
Our Philosophy is Community Re-Investment. We are very proud of the organizations we have partnered with. We are constantly involved in numerous charity/community programs year round. These benefits typically take place at our shop but sometimes we reach outside our dealership.
Here are a few examples of events at our dealership:
We typically host 15 to 20 charity events at our dealership every year.
In June, the local homeless shelter hosted their third annual ride and barbecue at our shop (they raised close to $3,000). We support these charities by providing volunteers to help at the event and, more importantly, we help spread the word by putting their event on our website, on Facebook reminders, email blasts to our 9,000+ email database, and fliers and handouts at the dealership.
Additionally, we strive to be a designated registration point for as many charity rides as possible. We will open our doors early to accommodate registration time frames. It’s important to support these charities and, in addition, we have an opportunity for ride participants to visit the store and make a connection with us. Often, these riders have never been to our shop but they are affiliated with the charity or benefit. For example, we host a Pink Party Ride every year in October to raise awareness and donations for Breast Cancer Research. We raised a significant donation for the American Cancer Society. Additionally, we sold two bikes to a couple that came to our shop because of the charity benefit. It’s a relatively new event for us but it’s gaining popularity and we are confident that we will increase our fund raising capabilities each year.
We also support charities/benefits outside our dealership. Here are some examples:
We contribute motorcycle rentals and gift cards in support of many donation requests for door prizes and silent auction items. Through these donations, it’s great to help raise money for these charities and in turn, the donations give exposure to our dealership. For instance, the H-D rental certificates lets people know we rent H-D motorcycles. The gift cards bring customers into the shop which gives us an opportunity to connect with the winners of these prizes. We budget over $5,000 each year for donations.
GMH-D is also involved with numerous motorcycle raffles each year. In 2012, GMH-D supported four motorcycle raffles. GMH-D sells the bike to the charity and the charity raffles off tickets to raise money for their benefit. For example, the Burlington Chamber purchased a raffle bike from us this year. They raised $3,000+ for a local, children's advocacy nonprofit. We often will help them transport the bike to different locations to sell tickets. H-D raffles help nonprofits raise money and in turn, we get exposure for the dealership and potentially a new customer.
We work with the charity on creating the raffle literature, fliers and web promotions. In turn, we ask for the contact info of those who bought tickets so we can send them a thank you letter for supporting the charity and ask them if they would like to be added to our e-newsletter (they can opt out if they decline). We find that often, people buy motorcycle raffle tickets from nonprofits to 1.) support the cause and 2.) they often have a spark of interest in owning a motorcycle someday. Allowing themselves the glimmer of hope in winning an H-D, is sometimes the small push they need to take the next step toward buying their first motorcycle. It is, therefore, important for us to 1.) thank donors for supporting the charity and 2.) reach out to these donors who have a spark of interest in owning a motorcycle.
Motorcycle raffles are great opportunities for gaining customers' interest in learning to ride. Over the last year, we have sold at least five motorcycles from our followup efforts with motorcycle raffle participants. Therefore, motorcycle charity raffles help raise money for nonprofits while also providing an opportunity to connect with potential new riders.