Thursday, July 27, 2017

Ghost Customers: What exactly are they... and why should you be aware of them?

You may have heard the term “ghost customers” before, but what exactly does this term mean? To put it simply, a ghost customer is equivalent to a ‘mystery shopper’. These hired, anonymous shoppers essentially visit businesses (both in person and online), acting like interested customers, who then report back with ratings of customer service and experiences with the business. In order to properly judge their thoughts on a company’s customer service, they often frequent the store, visiting a business multiple times. These ghost customers are used in nearly every marketplace — the question is, do they fit in the motorcycle industry?

The answer is, without a doubt, yes. A growing company, Pied Piper uses a unique and patented process to evaluate a business’ prospect satisfaction, and focuses many of their studies on the automotive and motorcycle industries. A recent article on the company in Powersports Business featured the results of Pied Piper’s 2017 Motorcycle Industry Study, which was conducted over the course of 9 months and utilized nearly 2,000 anonymous shoppers. Countless motorcycle dealerships across the U.S. were analyzed for customer service, and numerous findings were published, including the fact that BMW dealerships ranked the highest in this year’s study.

However, Pied Piper’s president and CEO, Fran O’Hagan, warns that online customer service is becoming more and more important in the motorcycle industry. According to O’Hagan, since the majority of motorcycle buyers’ research and information gathering happens online, the number of visits a customer makes to a dealership before making a purchase is dropping nearly twofold. Recently, the majority of studies have found that an average of 4+ visits before a purchase has dropped to 2 or less in 2017. O’Hagan went on to explain that the most successful motorcycle dealerships combine a number of customer service approaches, but all tend to respond relatively quickly to customer inquiries that come through various online portals. Examples of some of these portals may include a dealer’s website, social media profiles, or Cycle Trader listings.

What’s the point? 

At the end of the day, two things are important to remember. First, since ghost and mystery shoppers are just that - a mystery - they are virtually impossible to target, and you can pretty much say goodbye to trying to figure out who they are. Our advice? Treat every single customer like they are a ghost shopper sent by satisfaction ranking companies, and give them your all when it comes to service and commitment to quality. This may seem like common sense, but rather than reminding yourself to “do the best you can” every day, approach each customer like they are the ones who are going to determine your ultimate customer ranking for this year.

Second, but just as important, is to remember to give as much attention to your customer service online as you do to those people who walk through the doors of your dealership each day. You wouldn’t wait hours or days to respond to an inquiry from a potential buyer on the phone, or in person, so why would you do that to prospects online? Check your Cycle Trader TraderTraxx platform daily, and make it a habit to field questions and answer inquiries. Check-in with your social media platforms as often as you can, as many buyers can and will find you through shared listings and posts by friends.

Above all, though the idea behind ghost customers can be intimidating, don’t let their presence make you uneasy. These essential and helpful customer service ‘surveyors’ can help keep your business and staff on its toes, hopefully ending in even better customer service each day than the day before.
Trader Online Web Developer

In Case You Missed It: July Moto News

Cycle Trader is your go-to when it comes to finding resources to sell your inventory and keep up-to-date with best powersports business practices — so why not come to us as your ultimate resource on all other things motorcycle news-related? To keep you informed with moto industry news, new product launches and upcoming model reviews, here’s a recap of some of July's most viral cycle stories. 

Check them out and see which story you think was the highlight of this month.

Image: Dealer News

Rumor has it that Pence may address the motorcycle industry at this year’s AIMExpo in late September, according to trusted MIC sources and event leadership. The Vice President would be delivering the keynote address, but only time (and us, since we’ll be there) will tell if the whispers are true.

The new tool for dealers, housed in Cycle Trader’s one-of-a-kind inventory management platform ‘TraderTraxx’ allows dealers to finally gain an accurate snapshot of pricing trends across the country and local arenas. Using the tool, dealerships will now be able to better determine a fair, competitive purchase price for buyers, taking the guesswork out of deciding on the best price for a unit. 

Provoking a feeling of nostalgia and honoring the 1970’s Americana classic Brutale 800 range, 
the new model comes with the 3-cylinder it’s fans know and love… with the added allure of a “star-spangled banner” motif.

Presenting almost 20 new models, the new lineup includes motocross, street, offroad, dual-sport, and Supermoto bikes, plus new youth ATVs and King Quads. 
Click to link above to see the full lineup of Suzuki’s new 2018 offerings.

Image: Powersports Business

Earlier in the month, an event at Classic Car Club Manhattan housed the unveiling of a limited edition Ducati Diavel Diesel series, a line produced from a partnership between Ducati North America and Diesel, an Italian design house.

Described in Powersports Business as “post-apocalyptic,” 
only 666 units will be available for the coveted luxury line.

After over two decades with the Marine Propulsion Systems Division, executive leadership team member Alain Villamure is set to close the curtain on his time with BRP.

Minimalistically styled, the new lineup is said to pay homage to the motorcycles that graced the years of ‘America’s post-war past.’ Complete with sleek black machinery styling and two-tone leather seats, the units are said to become available to dealers in late September of this year.

The Chicago Business Journal recently reported that plans were in place for Fox Motors to open a Harley-Davidson dealership in the Addison & Clark complex, conveniently located just yards away from Chicago’s famed stadium. With special events already being planned for the dealership’s first year in business, its doors are said to likely open sometime in 2018.

Image: Apache Junction Independent

Arizona Kawasaki honorably repaired the veteran’s Slingshot free of charge, even customizing it with the vet’s airborne brigade insignia. Click the link above to read the patriotic and inspiring story.

While the manufacturer garnered a permit to film in multiple intersections on streets across the U.S., 
things got a little awkward when they decided to shut down a street in Milwaukee  
the birthplace of Harley-Davidson.

We’ll be back in August with more top highlights, but in the meantime,
 you can stay up to date by clicking here.
Trader Online Web Developer

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dealership Hosting College's Moto Maintenance Certification Courses

A recent article from Powersports Business has reported that a New Hampshire Harley-Davidson dealer is set to begin hosting training certification courses for a local community college this fall.

Great Bay Community College (GBCC), based out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, offers a 24-week course resulting in a Certificate in Motorcycle Maintenance and Repair Technology. Seacoast Harley-Davidson is sponsoring this year’s students, and is currently working on putting together a lab-type environment for the students to use for classes. Together, experienced motorcycle technicians from Seacoast and instructors from GBCC will help students develop the skills and experience necessary to obtain a job in the ever-evolving and challenging world of motorcycle maintenance, repair, and more.

According to Seacoast, this type of dealer-sponsored program is the first of its kind to their knowledge, and is setting a standard when it comes to opening doors for the next generation of workers to dive into careers in the motorcycle industry.

Will Arvelo, current president of GBCC, explained to Powersports Business:

“As with many technical occupations, connecting employers with the next generation of skilled workers is an important priority that requires working together and creative thinking. We appreciate and enjoy when local businesses - such as Seacoast Harley Davidson - take initiative to help create training opportunities that enable students and businesses to thrive, because it’s precisely why GBCC exists in the first place."

While the concept of these types of partnerships is largely new to the industry, the idea could be revolutionary when it comes to turning the tides on the number of people interested in starting careers in the motorcycle world. Would your dealership be interested in a program like this? Do any colleges offer motorcycle-related courses near you? Comment and let us know.

Click here to read the full article from Powersports Business on the business-education partnership.
Trader Online Web Developer