Indian Victory Charlotte
Our Mission: To become the finest motorcycle dealer in the world. To treat every customer with respect. To provide an unparalleled buying experience. To exceed expectations in every way by focusing on the quality of the experience. To offer not only what customers want, but deliver exceptional service that goes beyond the sale. We are not interested solely in sales volume. Our goal is to win customers for life through our daily actions and attitude.
Individually and as a team, the staff at Indian Victory Charlotte are driven by a passion to perform at the highest level. We continually strive to maintain the highest level of product knowledge, technical competence, and customer service. We are committed to work hard to assure all who buy from us enjoy an experience beyond words.
We are thrilled to have been selected a Top 100 dealer in every year of our existence and we continue to work hard each and every day to incrementally improve everything we do.
Showroom Design and Layout
Indian Victory Charlotte is proud to be selling and servicing what we believe are the very finest American-made motorcycles — Indian and Victory. The layout and design features of our store are meant to be dramatic, welcoming and functional.
Our dealership was created to be a showcase of all things Indian. A spectacular Indian front fender serves as a key architectural element on the dealership’s exterior, while the showroom at Indian Victory Charlotte was designed as the “living room." From the beginning, we have always been the flagship dealer of the legendary Indian brand. The all-glass front of the building allows sweeping views of the showroom with beautiful motorcycles and merchandise on display for off-hour window shoppers. Just inside the glass front door is a motorized turntable that can display two motorcycles.
Our showroom has dramatically changed in the past six months. Here’s why: Polaris Industries acquired Indian Motorcycle Company in mid-2011. In January 2012, we added the Victory brand to our offerings, necessitating a significant redesign. The overall design influence remains Indian, but the Victory brand now covers about half of the showroom floor with an assortment of new Victory motorcycles, accessories, parts and apparel on display.
Our retail customer counter remains in the center of the showroom floor, with the Victory area and displays on the left side of the showroom and Indian motorcycles and gear in the center and on the right. Our customer lounge is just beyond the customer counter area, away from the entrance and toward the back wall, in the center of the showroom.
The customer lounge and much of the retail environment is influenced by our deep appreciation of, and reverence for, the Indian brand. In addition to displays of historic Indian motorcycle photography, we also feature many rare Indian-brand collectibles and specialty items not available anywhere else. Custom oil cans, vintage gas pumps, and other rare promotional items are offered for sale.
As America’s first motorcycle, Indian has a rich and storied history, and our showroom was created to reinforce the power of this legendary brand. We always have at least three classic Indians on display, including a 1913 model and a 1951 model Chief. Most of our walls are decorated with Indian photos and memorabilia, and the back wall of our lounge is upholstered in classic Indian red vinyl. Dozens of Indian Head nickels are woven into the design of our retail counter. Glass showcases throughout contain a variety of Indian “jewelry."
But Indian is only a part of our story. Polaris introduced the first Victory Motorcycle on July 4, 1998 -- only 14 years ago. Continual improvement, advanced styling and design, and a performance orientation have made Victory the fastest-growing motorcycle brand in the U.S. So we’ve been very happy to bring on the expanding Victory line.
New Victory signage and displays were designed and built to mirror the “feel” and general design of our existing merchandising fixtures. For maximum flexibility, most displays are mobile (with lockable wheels), to facilitate easy movement to showcase specific new or “on sale” items. Apparel for both Indian and Victory continues to an important part of our overall retail sales and online purchases continue to grow.
The most important aspect of our showroom is how well it works. We are very pleased to report that customers and prospects are continually letting us know how much they enjoy being here and what a responsive and engaging staff we have. Our customer lounge area is a favorite place to sit and relax with complimentary coffee, tea, cold refreshments, baked goods and dozens of up-to-date motorcycle magazines.. There’s workspace for those wanting to do some paperwork. Free WiFi is appreciated by those with laptops or iPads. And because our displays are always changing, most customers spend at least a half-hour wandering the showroom, checking out new bikes, accessories, apparel and collectibles. Naturally, our staff is always available to answer questions.
The Service Department at Indian Victory Charlotte is hospital-room clean and designed for optimal customer convenience and efficiency for our certified technicians. A separate overhead door entrance and service adviser counter makes the sign-in process fast and completely hassle-free for customers. Depending on the extent and estimated duration of the service, our comfortable customer lounge is only a few steps away with free WiFi, flat-screen television and complimentary snacks and beverages.
Service is a critically important component of our overall mission to be the world’s finest dealer, and we are committed to provide excellent service on all American-made V-Twin motorcycles. If a customer’s V-Twin machine becomes disabled within 25 miles of our shop, our policy is to pick it up for service in our enclosed trailer at absolutely no cost. (We have to admit that the quality of the motorcycles we sell has made this an extremely rare occurrence.)
The overall layout and design of the Service Department is both welcoming and functional. A significant inventory of parts and accessories is located within a few steps of the service counter. The actual service area is separated by an interior all-glass overhead door that provides a view into the work area with six lifts, operating-room cleanliness and a staging area for customer bikes.
A separate washing/detailing stall is used to prep incoming new motorcycles as well as clean customer bikes prior to delivery. The entire area is climate-controlled, and features a high-performance air exchange system that can replace all air within 45 seconds. It is also the place where we assemble the custom components to build our Charlotte Special Edition machines.
Training and Employee Motivation Practices
Indian Victory Charlotte strongly believes in the idea of continuous incremental improvement in everything we do. We hold regular employee training sessions at least once monthly, supplemented by weekly staff meetings which address and discuss a variety of new product knowledge, factory promotions, marketing and operational issues. As the flagship dealer for Indian Motorcycle and a Victory dealer for 10 months, we are constantly sharing new information among all team members, as well as learning from their most recent experiences.
We do not have a formal incentive program, but all employees are rewarded on a regular basis for demonstrating “customer obsession” in a measurable way. It may be the result of customer feedback, assistance with a difficult problem or simply going above and beyond in making sure that a specific task gets accomplished on time. We have found that by creating an atmosphere where good things constantly happen and extra effort is rewarded, we have created and maintained a company culture that is recognized and fully embraced by all our team members.
Our staff is relatively small but as a working team, we accomplish an incredible amount of work on a regular basis. The right chemistry, skills, talent and mutual respect ensure that our customers receive the very best treatment, work and advice. Our dealership continues to enjoy success and business growth in relatively difficult economic times. We believe that constant interaction with staff and continual customer feedback helps us identify ongoing needs for specific communication and training initiatives.
This emphasis on constant communication helps us maintain outstanding overall performance in the critical area of customer relations and helps us toward our stated goal of developing customers for life.
Commitment to Customer Service
As Indian Motorcycle Charlotte, and now as Indian Victory Charlotte, our consistent goal has been to attract and maintain customers for life. These are simple words, but they are at the core of everything we do. Call it customer obsession, relationship management or whatever, but we have a very long view of our customers and the motorcycle business.
Some of this stems from the fact that our Indian motorcycle clients tend to be better educated, financially secure -- price is rarely the deciding factor. Most are long-term Indian motorcycle fans and many have Indian stories of relatives who rode Indians in the 1920s and '30s and more recently. The key deciding factors for these client-customers is competence and trust.
As the world’s leading Indian dealer and newer Victory dealer, we work to apply this customer philosophy to everything we do. One ongoing example is that we typically spend an hour or more delivering a new Indian and making sure all questions are answered. We believe the joy of owning and riding an Indian is one of life’s greatest experiences. Taking the time to make sure they understand how all the systems work is very important to them and us.
So while this customer-obsession culture is fully ingrained among all team members, it is not without challenges as we adapt to marketing Victory motorcycles, as well. Victory machines are great American-made motorcycles with advanced styling and very impressive performance.
What we have found is that our Victory customer demographic is very different from our Indian clients. While it is our constant goal to fulfill the needs of every customer and deliver superior service, we are discovering a larger emphasis on price than we expected. This is disappointing, but not unexpected, and we will never lower our standards of quality to compete with dealers who only focus on low price. It is not who we are.
Our response has been to communicate to potential Victory customers that we will meet or beat any written price on any new Victory from any dealer within 100 miles. This has been somewhat but not always successful since there are several Victory dealers competing in our backyard. Bottom line: our goal to attract and keep customers for life, and this will always be our working philosophy.
The Victory line also has two different kinds of customers, and rarely does someone interested in a Victory Cross Country Touring machine cross-shop one of the Victory cruiser models. The touring machines tend to be husband-and-wife purchase decisions, while the cruisers attract a slightly younger rider. Victory products are excellent alternatives to Harley-Davidson, especially among those who appreciate cutting-edge styling and design at a reasonable cost.
We feel quite confident that we will continue to excel in the area of technical expertise, competence and ongoing customer service, but those are qualities that become recognized by customers over time. We know our approach will prevail over the long haul, even if we lose some sales to price-cutters along the way. Our dealership continues to enjoy great success and solid business growth and we look forward to greatly increasing our Victory volume in coming years.
Involvement in the Community
Our community involvement philosophy and goals are rooted in the knowledge that life is short and good works are essential in defining our value as human beings and as a business entity. We all have a responsibility to assist those less fortunate in situations out of their control and to support non-profit organizations that work to improve our overall quality of life. Our goal is not necessarily to become visible and well known for our contributions, but to inspire others to help. We strongly believe in giving back to the community that supports us.
As the world’s leading Indian dealer, our customer base is scattered and relatively few sales are made to those in our immediate neighborhood. Our few staff members mean that time is always an issue, so we are not able to personally volunteer on a regular basis. However, against that backdrop, we believe in and support the local chambers of commerce, civic organizations and broader-based children’s charities like Make-A-Wish and the Victory Junction Camp. (For example, our owner and general manager, Mark Moses, served on the board for Make-A-Wish for several years.)
As a leading motorcycle dealer, we support many motorcycle-associated organizations and events such as the AMA, ABATE, Motorcycle Riders Foundation, Iron Indian Riders, Motorcycle Cannonball Run, Trail of Tears, and others. Quite frankly, there is never enough time and/or resources to be involved with all the worthy causes that we are interested in.
The community that has supported us consistently since our opening in 2008 has been the broad “Indian owner” community at large. We are in constant contact with this group and are aware of many of the projects and programs they are working on. We always try to find the time to assist in things that matter to them. (It’s an obvious extension of our “customer for life” philosophy.)
We have been a Victory motorcycle dealer for only nine months and are starting to become acquainted with the interests of this diverse group of customers. The reality is that we select our community involvement projects in a way that satisfies our own interests first and then, those of our customers. We believe this “enlightened self-interest” approach makes sense for anyone in business.
Customer feedback is important, but not usually the guiding principle for our charitable involvement. Our company culture encourages charity in any form, but as a dealer, we cannot put ourselves in the position of over-committing our few resources. From a public relations/community relations standpoint, we want to be known as a dedicated, responsible, community-oriented organization that is always willing to help. At the same time, we will never make promises we cannot deliver on and we believe our community respects that.