Skip Fordyce Harley-Davidson Buell
The Skip Fordyce Harley-Davidson mission is "to bring to life dreams of motorcycling by establishing stakeholder and customer relationships that are fair and balanced, while continuously striving for operational excellence. We achieve this by instituting our four core values:
- Integrity: revering honesty and adhering to high ethical standards
- The Golden Rule: respecting all people and valuing their differences
- Excellence: constantly striving to improve in order to meet and exceed the highest expectations of our customers, shareholders, and people
- Profitability: rewarding those who most enhance the health and happiness of their customer, communities and people.
"Supporting our core values, we have infused into our culture the four disciplines of execution. These instate a common WIG (wildly important goal) throughout the dealership that every department is focused on aiding to meet; which then trickles down to the individual employees. It is a system used from the grassroots upward through to upper management."
Showroom Design and Layout
The dealership, at 7688 Indiana, is a state-of-the-art, 36,000 sq. ft. architectural masterpiece. From the exquisite detail of our storefront, which highlights the display of our used inventory, to the peaks of the building, which diversify us from the surrounding area, every detail has been scrutinized and thoroughly thought through by our ownership to reflect the individualism and dreams that are Harley-Davidson. Our showroom is an exposed foundation to display and articulate the beauty that Harley-Davidson offers from their motorcycles, parts and MotorClothes.
Our sales department is the center of our dealership. We have more than 100 beautiful units out on display at all times, ranging from brand new to slightly used. All are ready to be driven home to become the newest member of our customer families today. We have a dream come true for each and every type of individual who walks through the door. We can customize and specify every desire our customers have. Our exterior is built to draw and excite the customer, and the ease of display of our bikes expertly complements that. Our new units are all inside, displayed by model, to ease the customer into choosing the bike that fits their needs and wants.
Our parts department has differentiated itself from the competition by being organized, well-stocked and completely open and communicative with its customer base. If we do not have the product in stock when the customer walks in, we will special order it and get it to the customer as soon as possible, while staying in complete communication with them at all times.
Our parts showroom is completely organized and set up for easy browsing to enable complete customization of the customer’s dream motorcycle. It is a place where dreams are completed. Our Skip’s Custom area further aids in this creation. Our customers have access to our Customs Associate, whose creativity and knowledge allow them the ability to make each customer’s bike unique and truly specialized.
Our MotorClothes department houses one of the largest and most complete Harley-Davidson authorized collections of clothing and accessories. We can clothe and equip any man, woman, child and canine that walks into the dealership. Our apparel covers all seasons and enables our customers to be 365-day-per-year riders. There is not a season we cannot prepare them for.
Our seven staff members have more than 30 years of experience between them and are excited for customers to experience the love of the road they all have. We sell America’s No. 1 cruiser, and we provide an experience that is second to none. We give an unforgettable experience, one that excites and unites our customers for a lifetime. We create a relationship that transcends the traditional customer employee experience. Our employees are trained to know that it is not about the sale of the moment but rather the experience of a lifetime for the customers. Harley-Davidson is not a brand or a motorcycle, but rather a lifestyle and way of life."
Our service department is 11,000 sq. ft. of a technician’s dream. We offer seven factory-certified technicians with over 82 combined years of experience. We have 14 lifts, one pole lift and one flat lift to provide the technical assistance in anything our customers may need to aid and heighten their riding experience. We have three digital technicians and have the capability for mobile recording for diagnostic trouble codes and/or running conditions that do not populate engine lights on vehicles. There is not a service issue we cannot find and resolve.
Our full detail setup, with soft water washing aided by our eight-year detail specialists, demonstrates our commitment to producing the most beautiful and quality-performing vehicles possible. We are open seven days per week with a certified technician available at all times. Our service advisers combined have over 20 years of experience between them, and are focused on what the customer wants and needs. Nothing is more important. The purpose and intent of a Harley-Davidson is to live the lifestyle. This is only possible if our service department is prepared and able to create solutions and enable a flawless experience. After all, Harley-Davidson is not just a brand, it is an identity.
Training and Employee Motivation Practices
A dealership is nothing without their employees. Having the right employee in the right place with the right skill set is absolutely crucial. There are no bad employees. There is only bad leadership. Good leadership is aided by good-quality training and a solid system of encouraging behavior and activities that are in direct alignment with the dealership’s ideology.
Our employees go through one week of training, focusing on everything from when Harley-Davidson was founded, in 1903 by William Harley and Arthur Davidson, to the infusion of the four disciplines of execution, our company WIG, and the fact that our dealership has differentiated itself by creating an experience and encouraging the lifestyle that is Harley-Davidson. Our new-hire orientation is a mixture of facts about our past, information of our present and goals for our future. We emphasize the privilege we have to work for a Harley-Davidson dealership and offer our customers the opportunity to be a part of the lifestyle that is second to none.
Our orientation covers the main points of our specific history, core values, mission statement, departments (sales, finance, rentals, riders edge, general merchandise, parts, and service), and what they offer the customer, and the Harley Owners Group (HOG chapter). We also discuss the benefits of belonging, our community outreach and why it is important, and provide an overview of our employee handbook, our store WIGs and what they mean and an explanation of how they stem from the four disciplines of execution.
New Hire Orientation also explains our employee engagement practices (our incentive program). Lastly, each new employee gets a tour of the dealership and introductions to all current employees. Skip Fordyce Harley-Davidson values its employees. Management knows that without the employee, we have nothing. Therefore, we have instated a very important employee engagement program.
We recognize an exemplary department each and every month. Each department manager pleads their case to the jury (the owner principal, general manager and assistant general manager) as to why their department has stood out and focused on their commitments during that month and, therefore, deserves the recognition. The winner receives the trophy, which is displayed in the department all month long, and each member of the team receives a gift card of their choosing.
Each month, each department that meets or exceeds their budget nominates a Star Performer. This individual is chosen by the manager for going above and beyond the call of duty. A certificate is placed in the employee breakroom announcing all-star performers and the winning individuals will receive a gift card of their choosing. Every month there are three Rock Stars, chosen by the jury, based upon the employees who deliver exemplary customer service. The winning three employees receive a certificate and picture is posted in the customer lounge. The employee also receives a gift card of their choosing.
Our employee engagement program instills into our employees the two WIGs (goals) of our dealership: Profitability and Customer Experience. It recognizes those who are able to deliver above and beyond. Our employees are excited and happy. They do not come to work every day but rather go to a place they are excited about and get to show their joy for the lifestyle they live.
Commitment to Customer Service
Without customers, we are nothing. It is crucial that each and every customer is treated with respect and superior customer service is expected in all areas. We are not after the sale of the moment. We are after a customer for life. We offer a premier experience for the No. 1 cruiser in America. We take every comment seriously and train off of every piece of feedback we receive.
Our employees are constantly asked to think about and make weekly goals on how they can individually impact and improve the customer experience. We know we are not perfect; and the motorcycles, parts and accessories we sell are not perfect. We also know that the way we handle a mistake is what makes a relationship. It is about the recovery and the respect we give the customer that makes them a customer for life. It is immensely important to us that our customers receive the respect they deserve.
Our General Manager is on call 24 hours per day. We had an instance where a brand new motorcycle with less than 10 miles on it blew up. It was during business hours, so the customer called us. We immediately picked up the bike, diagnosed the problem -- which turned out to be a manufacturer error -- and were able to get in contact with tech services and get a new motor shipped out that same day. The longest wait time for the customer was in the transport of the motor, which takes five days. However, the day we received it, we installed it. The customer was not only pleased but has become a loyal customer for life. He was kept in the loop at all times and was given the details of what the problem was, where it arose, how we were handling it, and what the timeline was.
The constant communication with the customer, as well as the honesty of what we were communicating, is what created a lifelong bond with this customer. Although upset at first, the customer eventually understood that we were not to blame and that we were out to make their purchase experience truly memorable in a positive way. We were able to ensure that this customer knows that, at the end of the day, his happiness and joy of his Harley is what we want.
Involvement in the Community
Skip Fordyce is an essential part of the Riverside and Inland Empire community. We have been here since 1941 and have become a destination dealership for the Southern California region. We realize that community is what keeps us breathing and without it we cannot exist; therefore, we are rooted in it. We do numerous events throughout the year that were created in order to aid the community.
Skip Fordyce does not financially gain anything from these events but we also recognize their importance and the positive impact that they have on the community. They are about the people; the people who make us who we are.
One of our biggest events is West Coast Thunder (WCT). WCT is a ride on Memorial Day that leaves at 9:11 a.m. and consists of riding to the Riverside National Cemetery (RNC) and continues to a venue where participants can eat and enjoy entertainment ranging in past years from Uncle Kracker, the Marshall Tucker Band, Aaron Lewis and the Farm.
All proceeds from the event benefit RNC. Since the inaugural ride in 2000, we have raised and donated over $350,000 to the cemetery. WCT was the largest private donor in erecting the NATIONAL POW/MIA Memorial statue at the RNC. WCT is currently raising funds for the planned Vietnam Wall West at RNC. Memorial Day 2013 will be WCT XIV and we estimate 8,000 to 10,000 riders to participate. Watching this parade route lead by the Mayor of Riverside are thousands of patriotic Riverside citizens. The cause and mission of this event is to give the motorcycling community a way, on the west coast, to honor and pay tribute to the men and women of the military who have fought and died for the freedom that we, as Americans, experience every day of our lives, as well as, to honor our current troops and all veterans who have dedicated themselves for the greater good that is the United States of America. We are also the site for the Buffalo Soldiers ride which raises money for the Inland Empire Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Association (IESHA).
The IESHA plans to build a monument to honor the first African-American military unit, the Buffalo Soldier Cavalry Units. WCT and Buffalo Soldiers are core representation of Skip Fordyce Harley-Davidson’s brand. We are part of our community first and foremost and a dealership and place of business second. Our community is what makes us who we are, and we are America’s cruising motorcycle. Without our veterans and what those who are in the armed forces do for us day in and day out, we simply cannot be.
That appreciation of their dedication and passion is what keeps us motivated to make dreams come true and places the focus on our relationships. We also put on numerous other community-beneficial events, like Dogtoberfest, which raises money for the local county animal shelter, as well as, aids in the adoption of dozens of animals each year that are in need of a loving home. We are the beginning and end point for Taryn’s Ride 4 Hope; which raises money for mitochondrial disease and offers customers live entertainment, vendors and food.
We put on the annual Corset Run that aids in breast cancer awareness. We put on four or more garage parties that are for women who are curious and interested in riding. It enables them come in after hours and enjoy an evening meant to break down the barriers of entry into the Harley-Davidson market. We do an outreach, sponsored by Hillclimb, for Young Adults, we have a Jumpstart for people to use that enables them to feel what it is like riding a Harley-Davidson and to feel the experience of physically being on a bike, Cinco de Mayo events for the Latino community and a portion of Harley-Davidson’s documentary, "Harlista," was filmed at our location, and we have Poker Rides for the Ronald McDonald House. We have also supported the Make-a-Wish foundation, and we have been long time members of the SoCal Harley-Davidson Dealer Association, where our Owner and Dealer Principal, Judson V Dabney II, was Vice President.
We are involved in numerous local community and school events on an annual basis. There are well over 300 members active in our IEHOG chapter and 33 percent of them were new in 2011. They have logged collectively over 440,000 miles and six members have over 10,000 individually. We even have one that hit the 12,000-mark last year on a commemorative ride with Jay! Our Rider’s Edge program, lead by former two-time HOG Director and 26-year Navy veteran, demonstrates our commitment to the community’s public safety and creating new motorcycle riders, turning dreamers into Harley riders one interaction at a time. Skip Fordyce Harley-Davidson is not merely a motorcycle dealership.
We are a staple in the Riverside community; one that makes dreams come true. We surpass the stereotypical ideology of a traditional organization and continuously push the boundaries of what we can do to better the lives of those around us. There is more strength and joy in numbers and we are strong and joyous because of the community we are ingrained into.