Are all customer interactions the same? I used to think so.
At its simplest level, people come here for a transaction: we provide a service, or a product, in exchange for money. While true, that’s a pretty cut-and-dry observation which isn’t very humane or personable. The folks who come here are generally as excited about their bikes as we are, so we get the pleasure of developing and maintaining meaningful retailer-consumer relationships. But this one-on-one model is only part of a bigger picture, of which there’s different dimensions.
Last week, two Tour for Kids participants in the store who were previously strangers struck up a conversation, and then a connection. Phone numbers were exchanged and ride plans were made. And that was it. We, as a store, don’t have to be the focal point of every relationship. We can also be the conduit for relationships which transcend the store, thereby fostering a community of riders. Does this mean we’re turning into a community centre? Or a social enterprise? Not yet, at least, but elements of it are there.
As a bike shop, creating and maintaining ‘retailer-consumer’ relationships is nice, but there’s deeper value in creating and maintaining ‘rider-rider’ relationships with those who are just as passionate about their bikes as we are. It seems the transaction itself is only the beginning of what’s possible here. Once business changes from being transactional- to relational-driven, it is nothing short of disruptive, with unknown synergistic results. But what happens to that community of cyclists outside our four walls?
I personally get out of bed everyday wanting to share my excitement for bikes with anyone whose attention I have: the sense of adventure, discipline, camaraderie, sustainable transportation, knowledge empowerment, etc. But to share this just with our customers would be too limiting. We really do believe in the importance of community, and a culture of giving. We want to give you a platform to elevate you to have experiences that we both didn’t know was possible. In this disrupted economy, we can measure what we do by its social impact, and not just by hard-nosed economic sensibility.
In this third level, where our activities are driven by selfless generosity to support the cycling community at large, there’s still tremendous value to be created. The object is to draw you further into the delightful world of cycling, regardless of where you shop, or what you ride. As long as you're out there, everyone wins.
This year, we’re getting involved in the cycling community in some fresh, new ways (which you’ll be hearing more about):
1. Jet Fuel - La Bicicletta racing team
2. RealDealRacing - La Bicicletta racing team
3. A series of cycling workshops and group rides at the Evergreen Brick Works.
4. Road to Valor book launch, with the authors present, telling the heroic WWII stories of Gino Bartali, on June 26th
5. Tour for Kids Ontario 4-day mechanical support
6. The 5th Annual Gran Fondo, returning to Niagara County, on September 30th
See you out there!