Wednesday, June 14, 2017


 When it comes to branding, nobody does it better than Harley Davidson. The bar and shield is recognized world wide and appears on everything from genuine accessories to useless trinkets. It also appears as outerwear, underwear or even permanent ink on the bodies of many an enthusiast. The Motor Company has really got it figured out. We the consumer pay good money to advertise their brand.

 This post isn't about "us" or any desire to be part of a brand. I want to talk about the people that are actually paid to represent these brands. If we like a celebrity that represents a brand, then we maybe gravitate to that product. It works the other way too. What was the deal with Jeff Foxworthy in that super hero stuntman outfit representing Golden Corral? I hope he got paid well.
 My problem is with the paid employees we actually interact with. The people that work at the shops and dealerships. These people can take a good brand and absolutely foul up my perception of it. I own a HD Ultra Limited and I like it. I know what it can do and it makes me happy. It's the Lick Knobs at some stores that piss me off and lessen "the brand". Here's some advice for the owners of these shops. If you let your employees lie to customers and waste their time, you will lose those customers. I know because I'm an employee that represents a few different brands and we make every effort to satisfy the customer even when they are wrong. I should point out that not everyone I interact with is a "customer".
 Case in point. In a phone conversation, Lick knob A tells me they have a part in stock. After traveling quite a way to the store I discover that not only do they not have that part in stock, they have NEVER stocked that part. What the hell? As much as I wanted to go off on the lady at the counter, I knew she wasn't the one that I originally talked to on the phone. She was a perceptive old gal and could see I was on the verge of being one of those A-hole customers that didn't get the service they were expecting. I kept my cool and she did her best to locate the part at another store but struck out.
 And then I spotted Lick Knob B. This is the guy that was "helping" me when I walked into this shop a while back to buy the new Ultra. I had a lot of questions about the Rushmore models and this guy treated me like shit. A potential customer of a flagship bike shouldn't walk out feeling belittled and treated unworthy of the brand. He even implied that I couldn't afford the bike. Sure I was in my work clothes but so what. Who the hell did this guy think he was? I got even by purchasing the bike at a different dealership and I thought about that as I walked out during this visit. They got their second chance and blew it so I'm done with them.
 If you decide you want something then you have to decide where to spend your money. Is price always the deciding factor? Not for me. Sometimes I'll go out of my way to get a part if I need it now and other times I'll get a decent price and wait for it to be shipped to me. When I don't need the part right now then its about who I want to support. In this case I thought it was a nearby dealer but they pushed me away because of a few employees that don't get it.
 I won't name shops because I've found out that everyone doesn't get the same satisfaction from a given dealer. I may have a great experience at a place that you got snubbed at. That's why I usually give them a second chance but when you dick me around twice in a row then I'm done.

Rant over. Later.


  1. I understand these vibes from the experience with local dealers. Times and sales people change some for good some bad. In 2002 I bought a new H-D the next week went in for the first service and the salesman didn't remember me and tried to sell me a new bike. Then Alicia was in the market for a new bike and the same guy gave her a shit attitude so she spent her money at the Kaw Dealer.
    Now skipping ahead to this week, The Road Glide needed a few parts passing though the showroom a new to me Road Glide grabs me. The young salesman jumped into helping and offered the take my Kaw on trade also. He called the dealer where we have bought many other bikes from over the years always feeling our business was valued. To find they now are no longer a Kaw. dealer and that they are about to close the doors. I have heard many people complain about their attitude over the years.

    1. In '99 I bought a bike from a Kaw dealer. They always treated me top notch. It's been a long time between visits and I don't spend a lot of money there anymore but when the owner sees me he welcomes me by name and makes me feel like the most important customer in the store. If I were in the market for a new Kaw that would be my store of choice.

  2. Like you I employ a 2 strikes and you're out philosophy with most businesses. It's been proven time and again that good customer service is worth 10 times (or more) what you spend on advertising, yet some guys just can't seem to get it through their thick skulls (and here I'm referring to the people who hire and pay those Lick Knobs).

    1. I was servicing a lawn last week and the neighbor whos lawn we took care of a few weeks ago asked us to look at a section of rough turf with some weeds. We knew weeds would come back in this spot because there isn't enough grass to keep them choked out. I told my coworker to spray that section no charge. I said that guy will be happy and tell his neighbors and we'll make more money on word of mouth than if we had charged him. Yep, the phone rang today with one looking for a quote. That was a lot cheaper than any advertising campaign and everyone is happy.