Make Customers Happier: Case #2 for the BBI Methodology

Transparent estimates + built-in quality control + tangible service results = satisfied customers

Words by Graham Thompson

In my last article, I talked about the fact that, before I became an instructor at Barnett Bicycle Institute (BBI), I applied BBI's methodology as a technician and manager at the service department level. Not only did the application of BBI methodology make me a better bike mechanic, it was key in helping me to significantly reduce my turnaround times on labor. Now we’ll look at how following procedures with quantifiable and repeatable results can vastly improve the customer experience.

The customer experience begins at the service counter. It’s important to realize that, as a service writer or mechanic, you’re often coming into these interactions at a disadvantage. After all, your customer is visiting you because something’s gone wrong with his bike that forced him to bring it in, which he’ll likely perceive as an inconvenience. That said—and the conversation of repair vs. maintenance aside—application of BBI methodology can help you get the customer’s issue corrected efficiently and economically the first time.

Using specialty tools to measure and quantify errors allows your service writers to quickly and concisely recommend service. It also empowers your customers, because they can physically experience the cause of their problems. The use of specific, consistent procedures allows your service writer to explain things in a way that is both concrete and meaningful to your customer. Applying BBI methodology to the check-in process makes for a timely, accurate, and (this one’s important) transparent estimate that your customer will appreciate.

Take the common complaint of shifting issues. The more common causes of poor shifting—like a bent derailleur hanger or rusted shift cables—are easily observed by the customer, but chain and cassette wear can seem mysterious. By using specialty tools, like the Park CC-2 to measure chain wear and the Rohloff HG-Check to measure cassette wear, we can quantify the wear for both the customer and mechanic. This eliminates guesswork, which gives the customer a clear understanding of the scope of work, tells them the cost of repair(s) up front, and prevents them having to make return trips associated with trial-and-error.

Application of a set procedure for any given repair is beneficial for both the mechanic and the end-user. Set methodology provides parameters that define the tolerances to which your mechanic tunes the equipment, eliminating time wasted tuning beyond the set tolerance. If those tolerances are conveyed to your customer, you have created a definable expectation. Creating definable expectations makes the service purchase more tangible, resulting in higher customer satisfaction. In other words, the customer understands exactly what it is she’s buying.

My customers had a seamless and timely check-in process, knew exactly what it was that they were purchasing, got their bikes back more quickly and had to bring them in less often.

A great example of this is the BBI method of adjusting loose-ball bearing hubs. The procedure considers the compressive force of the quick-release skewer through the use of a specialty tool, the BBI Dummy Drop Out Device. By setting up reference points and starting from a condition of known looseness or impact, you make 10-degree adjustments just until the impact is eliminated. This gives the mechanic a defined stopping point, one 10-degree adjustment from experiencing impact. The benefit to the customer is two-fold; they get their equipment back sooner because the mechanic is more efficient, and they have the longest lasting adjustment. An overly tight hub adjustment galls the bearings and races of the hubs prematurely, requiring more frequent service.

Let’s face it—our customers are probably happier the less they have to see us. Following quantifiable and repeatable procedures builds quality control into the service itself. This allows us to deliver a product that is fixed right the first time, and is adjusted in a way that provides the greatest amount of time between service intervals. If the customer felt inconvenienced the first time they brought their bike in, imagine how they feel if they must bring it back due to shoddy workmanship.

Learning the BBI Methodology (  BBI  )

Learning the BBI Methodology (BBI)

Using BBI methodology in my service department enabled me to provide timely, accurate, and transparent estimates. It provided a means to get work back to my customers more quickly, and to make the purchase of service more tangible. It also provided me the procedures to get things fixed right the first time, with the longest time possible between service intervals.

In my case, it ultimately added up to a more positive experience for my customers. They had a seamless and timely check-in process, knew exactly what it was that they were purchasing, got their bikes back more quickly and had to bring them back less often. This meant they were spending more time on their bikes and less time in the shop, which is the ultimate goal.

These positive experiences have a way of snowballing and growing. In the case of my service department, the growth was exponential. The happier customers are with your service department, the more revenue you can generate. We’ll take a closer look at those numbers in our next installment.

Master Technician Graham Thompson is a Bicycle Mechanic Instructor at Barnett Bicycle Institute. For more information on Barnett, and how it can train your mechanics for success, visit