Corporate and franchise bicycle shops all have a common problem: employee turnover. Some pay their staff more to defeat the problem, and it works. It at least works to keep the employee from quitting. But it doesn’t always give the business what it needs – knowledgable staff.
Businesses all have this problem no matter the subject matter. Bicycles are no different, and the solution to the problem is no different. Go ahead and pay your staff more to keep them, but before you do, get them the essential training they need. And even if you don’t pay them more, training has been proven to increase the morale and productivity of the employee.
Employee turnover provides the business, customers and the new untrained employee a big dis-service: lack of morale and productivity. No one feels good about that. Customers are more likely to purchase more when the employee in their service knows the subject matter.
The staff in department stores with bicycle shops are notorious for being ignorant about bicycles. Next time you’re in a department store, do a convenience survey by just asking normal questions to the sales staff you find available about the bicycles being sold. More often than not, the sales staff won’t even claim to know anything. Those that claim to know something won’t really know anything.
This creates an additional problem besides just sales: products liability. It can and should be the responsibility of the person on the sales floor to do one last reasonable inspection – not a mechanic’s inspection – of a bicycle before releasing it for sale. Why?
Finding a defect in a bicycle is quite easy if there is a defect. In this context, the most important potential defects to check for can be detected in a minute or less, and without tools. They concern the steering of the bicycle, the braking (stopping) and if the bicycle will bear the rider’s weight.
Products liability arises when there is a defect in a product (bicycle) released into the stream of commerce. It doesn’t matter if your staff or your business did or didn’t assemble the bicycle. THAT is why the sales staff, or the staff that actually releases the bicycle to the purchaser, should take responsibility to perform a reasonable inspection.
Training your staff will result in more than just employee retention. You’ll reduce risk, costs, and injury. You can also enjoy the peace of mind that results from better safety practices.