48 Miles Apart, But Difference is Night and Day

Discussion in 'General OFF TOPIC' started by Gas Gauge, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. Gas Gauge

    Gas Gauge Junior Member

    I got a call (at work) Thursday from our local dealer in Southwest Houston (Republic Harley Davidson) informing me their biggest event of the year was coming up this weekend and why didn't I come on out for the festivities. It was called Tattoo, Burnout, & Bikini. I have to admit, several trips to this dealer over the last year have left me feeling like I didn't measure up to their standards but I thought, what the heck, I'll give them another look-see and perhaps I'll run into some fellow riders from the area.

    Fool me once, shame on you.....I pulled in and parked and was in a state of confusion from then on (although there was a decent band playing on an elevated stage at the end of the (small) parking lot). There were 30-40 guys in cheap orange T-shirts (staff & temporary sales tools). I saw all of the dealerships inventory parked in tents behind the building, along with a few orange shirts dodging the sun. There were food and drink vendors along the front of the building charging ridiculous prices for fried something plates or a small beer. Went inside and the whole dealership was converted into stalls with tattoo artists. No one to say welcome, no one to say here is my dealership, thanks for coming out? Not a wiff of any discounted merchandise (not even an old T-shirt). There were more orange shirted salesmen (??) than visitors.

    It has been extremely hot in Southeast Texas for several months now and I could sure have used a drink of water, when I asked one of the orange shirts if they had any bottled water they pointed me to the water fountain. When I asked around at what was the attraction I just got a blank stare, when I tried to meet the owner and/or manager I was asked why? The final straw came when one of the orange shirts asked me if I wanted to enter the burnout contest and I told him I couldn't afford it. He said "What are you scared of" (in a mocking tone)? I said the cost of a new tire and whatever other abuse this would cause to my beloved EGC.

    In contrast I could only hearken back to my trip to GOE Harley Davidson in Angelton, TX on the 4th of July. I was looking for a dealership that I could form a relationship with and they were recommended. So I took a ride down there (50 miles one way). They had parking for "bikes only" all set up. When I parked my bike a nice older lady came up and told me thanks for coming, complimented my bike, and told me to grab a bottle of ice cold bottled water out of a huge ice chest (one of many spread all around). Found out later the lady was the owners Mom. In a field on the side they had tents and picnic tables, cookers cooking chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers and a nice Country & Western band. Food & drink was free, they had people to sew on patches, pinstripers, and just a festive atmosphere. I walked inside and was given another greeting, asked where I rode in from, given a couple of raffle tickets (for door prizes and such), and a goody bag which included a shopping bag that I could use to get 20% off anything that would fit in it, as many times as I wanted. There were about 100 visitors spread out everywhere, and everyone was chatting about their ride there and you could just tell, this was their dealer of choice.

    I went to the service department and told the manager that I was looking for a dealer that I could depend on. He made me feel like I was the only customer he had that day, although they were moderately busy. He asked what I needed and then cut me a deal to do a spot visual inspection for $34.95. I was floored! I had just had a 20,000 mile inspection done at an indy (again, recommended), but I was suspicious of the quality of work I had paid for. They put my bike up on the jack, lubricated everything (including cables), checked the fluids, checked the primary tensioner (didn't charge for the new gasket) replaced the rubber stop on the jimmy stand (no charge), replaced a nut on the exhaust mount (no charge), checked any (common) loose bolts, then told me the air filter needed to be replaced (torn rubber seal, gave me 20% off listed price) and that if I just had a 20,000 mile this should have been pointed out. Then they had a kid completely wipe down and polish my ride, and check my tire and shock air pressure. The service manager said this was standard.

    Now keep in mind, Angelton is a small town and Sugar Land is affluent, but for customer relations should that matter? After this weekend and that experience I just had to get this off my chest. Thank you to this forum for giving me the platform, and for y'alls patience. I'm certain I will never pull into Republic Harley Davidson again, but hey that's just me. I'm very careful with my (riding) funds, and treat my ride as something that took a lifetime of savings to aquire.
  2. threesteps

    threesteps Junior Member

    Thanks for the story. Hey, it may be "just" your opinion, but you are a potential customer. I don't like arrogance or a feeling of being taken for granted from any business. I don't treat the folks working in businesses with arrogance or with a "I'm better than you" attitude. I sure don't expect that kind of attitude from them.

    Some folks just don't get it. A little respect can go a long way.
  3. Skratch

    Skratch Active Member

    I know where I'd be taking my ride.
  4. 03classic

    03classic Junior Member

    The level of customer service you get starts at the top and it does not matter what kind of business.If the owner has an attitude the employees will as well.The beautiful thing about this country is the amount of options we have.It sounds like you found a very viable one and from your reaction it sounds like thats where you be spending your money.Its a win win for everyone.