Mission statement: J&L Harley-Davidson is committed to providing outstanding service, quality products, and an extraordinary customer experience. J&L is “Your Reason to Ride."
Showroom Design and Layout
It is important to J&L Harley-Davidson that each customer feels like part of our family, from the moment they walk in the door -- which is why we have a full-time receptionist at our Welcome Desk to greet them. Whether the customer is looking to speak to someone about the newest models or to find out when the next HOG weekly ride is, the Welcome Desk and receptionist are there to assist them. The rest of the room is bright and open, with a variety of different bikes sprawled over the showroom floor. At any given time, we have around 70 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles and over 100 pre-owned motorcycles on-hand.
After passing through or around the rows of bikes, customers can easily access our MotorClothes and Parts and Accessories departments. Each of these departments is filled with eye-catching displays of the latest merchandise we have to offer. Around the edges of the showroom floor, people can relax in our customer lounge area, complete with Harley-Davidson leather couches, vending machines, free coffee and cappuccino, computer station with Internet, and television. This area leads right into our Service Department, making it convenient for customers waiting on their motorcycles to be serviced.
Customers looking to have service done to their bikes can pull up to the Service Write-up Area. A clear garage-style door opens automatically, allowing customers to ride in on their motorcycles. Our Service Advisers are right there to look at the bikes and analyze what work may need to be done and to log the customers' information into our computer system.
The motorcycles can then be taken by our advisers and pulled into the actual work room. Several windows into this area allow customers to watch the technicians as they work. Everything the technicians could possibly need to work on the bikes is readily available, including a machine room, dyno room, wash bay, exclusive parts counter, warehouse with three-tier shelving, and a private door for technicians to enter and exit for test rides.
Training and Employee Motivation Practices
J&L Harley-Davidson offers a number of training programs for our team members. There are many online classes offered by Harley-Davidson through Harley-Davidson University (HDU) and Kick Start. Employees are provided time "on the clock" to complete all of these courses and earn their certifications.
A few of the training opportunities offered by Harley-Davidson involve classroom time or workshops. At J&L Harley-Davidson, we hold weekly manager meetings to ensure communication within the business and discuss what is happening in each department. We also encourage weekly group huddles among each individual department. We strive to have our staff up to date on all of these opportunities so that we can offer the highest level of service to our customers. We also encourage cross-training between departments, which has become a focus for us. Several team members who have expressed interest in learning more about a particular department that interacts with their current department have been scheduled in either shadowing opportunities or hands-on trainings. This cross-training has led to a greater understanding between team members and how they affect their co-workers.
We also hold monthly staff meetings at J&L Harley-Davidson. Staff meetings provide the owners and managers the opportunity to share important changes and updates with the whole team. Birthday cake is served to celebrate employee birthdays for that month, and prizes are drawn as a thank you for attending.
A weekly memo-styled newsletter is published for the entire staff, as well. In this newsletter, the staff receives information on all current and upcoming promotions, events and sales. It also has a little humor and a weekly health tip. Our staff is very interested in becoming more health-minded. Inspired by this, J&L has created a small exercise area with various exercise equipment for our employees -- including a treadmill, elliptical and stationary bike. Many staff members utilize their lunch breaks or time before and after their scheduled shift to exercise. A shower room is available as well.
Commitment to Customer Service
We use a scheduling tool for our sales and service departments. The program allows us to track, email and mail customers service reminders, thank you notes, birthday cards and many other notes. These are all opportunities to keep in touch with our customers to ensure they are satisfied with their purchases and their experiences as part of the J&L Harley-Davidson family. While we have always tried to keep in contact with our customers, this program has simplified and streamlined the process.
While discussing customer service programs, we would be remiss if we did not mention our HOG chapter. Sioux Falls HOG was started 23 years ago and has grown from a small chapter to one of the largest in the nation, with 900 to 1,000 members annually. Monthly meetings are held at our dealership, where we clear all of the motorcycles from the floor to make room for the 300 chairs needed to seat those who show up. The chapter also has a regular newsletter, but it is not just a couple pages of minutes and upcoming events. The 12-page publication includes riding stories, messages from chapter officers and members, event calendars, reminders from the dealership, and lots of photos from all of the activities the chapter hosts.
Despite the fact that we have a short riding season due to South Dakota weather, our HOG chapter stays active year-round with social gatherings and other activities during the winter months. To help members keep track of everything that is coming up, a "HOG Hotline" number has been established so that members can call and listen to an automated recording that lists important details for upcoming events. The chapter also publishes a "ride book" each spring. This book is not only a collection of activities and challenges for the chapter members to participate in, but it also serves as a member directory, storing names and phone numbers. The directory allows members to find their new friends and connect outside of the chapter's scheduled rides.
Road Captains and Chapter Officers are also listed so that members who have questions can easily contact them.
J&L Harley-Davison rolled out a Rewards Program in 2010. This is a customer loyalty program that rewards customers for their purchases, and for attending events or volunteering at events. Customers earn reward points, which can be redeemed for gift certificates to our stores. The rewards program has become a great way for us to say thank you to our loyal customers and volunteers while also encouraging repeat business. It is just one more reason why J&L is a step above the competition when it comes to customer service.
Involvement in the Community
What began as a vision in 1996 has grown into one of the biggest events of the year in South Dakota. Sixteen years ago, J&L Harley-Davidson of Sioux Falls created a fundraising event for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Dakota, designed to give motorcycle enthusiasts a reason to ride for charity, while showcasing the city at the same time. With this vision, Hot Harley Nights was born – and so was an amazing annual tradition.
The first year, 250 people participated in the casino run. The “party” was held in a small downtown parking lot, and $3,200 was raised for the cause. The hope was to continue the fun and grow the event. J&L Harley-Davidson is pleased to announce that in its 17 years of Hot Harley Nights, over $1.7 million dollars has been raised, and hundreds of wishes have been granted to children with life-threatening illnesses.
In 2012, over 1,500 people registered for the casino run and 4,500 riders participated in a parade that stretches 6.7 miles through Sioux Falls, past thousands of viewers waving their American flags. After the parade, nearly 40,000 people converged at Falls Park West to enjoy live music, a bike show on Main Street, food vendors, a silent auction and much more. At the end of the final evening, a check for $164,129.68 was presented to Make-A-Wish of South Dakota.
In partnership with the Children’s Miracle Network, J&L Harley-Davidson created an annual ride called Bikes & Babes Rally for Miracles. This ride was structured similar to a poker run, but instead of stopping at bars or local convenience stores, the riders visit children’s hospitals around the area. There, they get see what their donations are being used for. This wonderful event raises thousands of dollars for the Children’s Miracle Network each year. J&L Harley-Davison serves as the registration location as well as an event sponsor, providing funding and information along the way. In the past years of this ride, registrations have taken place in four separate cities in South Dakota. This year, registrations took place in seven separate cities in South Dakota, with plans to add another two starting locations for the 2013 route. All of the rides converge for a post-ride celebration at J&L Harley-Davidson, followed by a police-escorted parade to a local music/rib eating event call RibFest.
In 2010 J&L Harley-Davidson introduced a new community event called Ride Pink. This event is a poker run to raise awareness about cancer in our community. We teamed up with the Avera Breast Cancer Institute and encourage everyone participating in the event to wear pink. We also utilize the “Pink” line of clothing from Harley-Davidson, which donates a portion of their profits to the Network of Strength. We have over a hundred riders each year who show up in pink gear. The profits are donated to the Avera Breast Cancer Institute for research.
Beyond these three encouraging events, J&L also is involved in several other activities in the community. We sponsor youth sports teams, donate to charity events like the Legends Golf Tournament, and also service on community committees and boards, such as the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and Department of Tourism subcommittees. We also encourage all of our staff to volunteer within the community on their own time.