“Thank you, I’m just looking…” 

Why service performance (online and offline) is becoming increasingly important and which key retail figures really count 

It’s funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same. 

Look at bicycle retail—if someone had described today’s landscape five years ago, you wouldn’t have recognised it. But despite the whiplash-fast pace of AI tools and other technological advances, one area of business remains unchanged: customer service. 

While the way customer service is delivered has undoubtedly evolved, the fundamentals remain rock-solid: anticipating customer desires and needs, communicating clearly, and providing and ideally exceeding expectations. Get these right, and you can expect an appreciative and loyal customer response. Get them wrong, and your customer will move on faster than a Jordi Meeus sprint to victory.   

So, how do we turn “I’m just looking” into something more lucrative? Here we explore:

  • Why customer service is so vital to success
  • What best practice looks like
  • What your team can do to deliver winning customer service 
  • The figures you need to keep your eyes on 

Customer service satisfaction is your ticket to higher turnover 

It’s not enough for customers to simply be pleased with your business and its service. You need to make them fans. 

They’re more likely to purchase, talk about, or share their positive experience when you win them over.  McKinsey research shows that improving customer service can increase sales by 2 – 7% and profitability by 1 – 2%. In a world where marginal gains matter, we all want to see that ROI. 

What does winning service performance look like? 

In the words of Zappos’s former CEO, Tony Hsieh, “Customer service shouldn’t just be a department; it should be the entire company.” 

Don’t choose between online or offline – be everywhere 

Since 69% of adults say they buy more from companies that offer online and offline services, having a foot on both sides of the fence is essential. 

However, it’s crucial to ensure the two work together and not as individual silos. Information and experience must be identical – the customer must ‘feel the familiarity’ whether scrolling through products on your site or browsing through a rack in person. Branding, messaging and information must be consistent. 

Tip: Ensure everyone on the team is hand-holding and not working as individual silos. Planning, preparation and communication are key – nobody should have to react in response to a surprise update from another business area.

Give them more, more, more 

As self-help author Nelson Boswell says, “Always give people more than they expect.” 

Rightly or wrongly, we live in a world with high expectations, and everyone wants everything easily. People expect a bike shop to offer a great selection of not only bikes but cycling parts and accessories, cycling apparel, nutrition and more. 

They also want to know that the same shop that sells to them can also service the products they purchase. Even better, they get a special service deal given they’re existing customers. Up- and cross-selling is expected, and it’s where you can make some real gains. 

Tip: Encourage the sales team to share experiences of how they identified upselling opportunities and the results. Create a culture whereby team members inspire one another. 


Ensure your customers can rely on you 

Customers expect open and easy communications channels. Whether they email, post a comment on social media, send a direct message, text a Whatsapp, or make a call, they want to connect. They don’t want to sit on the phone listening to bad hold-waiting music or feel like their message has gone to spam and is being ignored. They don’t want to be left hanging, and they do want a timely response. 

Tips: Set up an auto-responder that lets the customer know you’ve received their message and will be in touch within X time. Introduce a chatbot to triage enquiries and help streamline the customer experience. Develop a ticketing system that consolidates all customer enquiries onto a single platform for your team to triage

How your team can deliver customer service success  

So, what’s the secret sauce? How far backwards do we all have to bend to keep our customers on-side? Thankfully, it’s not that much of a gymnastics routine. You and your team can set yourselves apart in relatively easy and achievable ways. 

Getting to know the customer 

It’s not enough to know the customer likes to ride bikes. 

What are they riding, and where do they go? Why are they on the bike? How can your products enhance their experience? 

The more granular you go, the more relevant you can make your business to each individual. You’ve got everything they need (and more), but until you better understand them, you won’t know just how full that offering really is. 

Genuinely wanting to help customers 

If your team doesn’t care, why should your customer? 

Every interaction your business has with a potential or existing customer should be an attempt to build a relationship. You want them to know that you’re here not just to sell but to help. 

How? Maybe it’s by connecting them with a social cycling group or your own shop bunch ride. It could be giving them some nutritional advice they didn’t know they needed. It might even be to sway them away from that more expensive purchase and towards something you know is genuinely better for them (don’t worry – the difference will be repaid in loyalty). 

Solving customer problems 

When a customer complains, he is doing you a special favour; he is giving you another chance to serve him to his satisfaction. You will appreciate the importance of this opportunity when you consider that the customer’s alternative option was to desert you for a competitor.” – Seymour H Fine. 

Eliminate friction and any reason for the customer to feel ill will. Good news travels fast, but bad news is propelled by rocket fuel. We know the customer isn’t always right, but they at least need to feel like they are or believe that amends have been made. Quality communication, quick response times and respect are key to avoiding conflict and working towards a reasonable solution. 

Adopting a structured workflow approach 

What is your current approach to handling customer enquiries? If you don’t already have a ticketing system in place, now is the time to introduce it. As we all know from experience, things falling through the cracks and people misunderstanding one another is human nature. 

However, a ticketing process transitions all human touch points into a very ordered, systemic response that makes it straightforward and seamless for people to triage, treat in a timely manner and resolve. Also, anyone can quickly assess the real-time status of the matter, thus reducing the need for additional layers of internal dialogue (and potential further misunderstandings). 

The retail metrics that matter 

We’ve explored why quality customer service matters and how to achieve it. Now, how do you assess your service performance effectiveness? 

You need to take notice of these two stand-out numbers: 

1/ Offline KPI: Conversion Rate from Appointment to Sale

Objective: To evaluate sales process efficiencies and identify any room for improvement when converting prospects into customers. 

This measures the rate at which scheduled appointments convert into actual sales. To find the figure, divide the number of appointments that led to a sale by the total number of appointments. Then, multiply the result by 100 to get a percentage. 


2/ Online KPI: Conversion Rate  

Objective: To evaluate how effectively a website is converting visitors into customers or leads. 

This measures the rate of website visitors who initiate a desired action, such as purchasing, signing up for an email newsletter, or completing a contact form. The higher the conversion rate, the more persuasive the site. 

Additional metrics you need to be across include:

  • Customer satisfaction rates: could be via a third-party review platform or in response to your post-purchase questionnaires).
  • Response time to queries: establish response time expectations for each communication channel and provide feedback within these set limits.
  • Order fulfilment accuracy and timing: customers see red when products are delayed or inaccurate. Implement a thorough pre-dispatch vetting process and negotiate delivery rates with a reputable service provider that won’t leave you hanging 
  • Return and exchange:  If returns are high, find out why. Can product descriptions be improved? Is there an informative FAQ section offering further details? Does the team understand the product, and are they selling it appropriately? Make the exchange process as seamless as possible. 


BikeExchange has been the leading online marketplace for bicycles and digital services for over ten years. Our team is always on hand to offer innovative ideas and advice that can boost customer service satisfaction. To find out how we can help you become a service performance superstar, organise a no-cost meeting today. 

Connect your Bike Shop
Connect your Bike Shop