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Sound RIDER! Dealer Survey 2000

Who's hot, Who's not

First off, I'll take a moment to thank everyone who participated in the dealer survey. The response was sensational! As a rider myself, it's interesting for me to drop into any location and have my own opinion about it, but that's rather subjective. Each of you have added a new perspective to my own experiences. I'll never walk into a dealer with the same frame of mind again.

Indeed, there were certain dealers I thought would ride to the top, but that all changed when we started running the numbers. Dealers I never thought twice about started showing up in the top scores, and then there were those who I thought might be at the top who showed up in the center or below somewhere. In the end, it proved the point that we each have our own opinions and this writer indeed does not see it the way the majority does.  

Those who did the survey know how it was broken down, but for those of you who didn't, here's how it worked. Each dealer was rated in four categories - Sales, Service, Parts and Overall Vibe.  Within each category they were rated on five sub-categories, which ranged from product knowledge, selection, and cleanliness to parking, pricing and refund policies.

Scoring was done in a similar manner to how Consumer Reports doles out theirs.  Each category is scored as a whole and the overall score is based on the sum of each. Results were checked for any sort of bilking. Any reader who put more than one survey in on the same dealer was eliminated as it was stated that the submissions were limited as such. Because this was done via the internet it wasn't hard to tell if one dealer was being bilked. We knew when, and from who, a submission was coming from. For the most part everyone played fair, and where they didn't adjustments were made to keep the input real. As for the winning dealer in the overall category, it was tripled checked.

Sound RIDER! readers are not the least bit nice when it comes to rating dealers. You're honest and you make it hard for someone to be the best. In fact, the best dealer could not even score above 80 (out of 100), which means everyone has room for improvement in this market. While many dealers try to be the best, there is indeed a lack of understanding by most about what it takes to be the best. Most dealers aren't willing to sit down with their customers in a formal session and find out where their strengths and weaknesses are. So they continue to develop their store strategy based on hearsay and their own likes and dislikes, instead of really listening to what the customer has to say. In the end, most dealers are missing the mark. If dealers want to know what their customers think it's time they started asking. In the meantime we have the results and we're happy we made this move in the market.

The top five dealers for each category are listed. Dealers wishing to get a detailed report on their dealership can contact the Sound RIDER! office at 206-329-7808 to arrange for the information.

And the number one dealer in Puget Sound for motorcycles is...

OVERALL TOP DEALERS

Maryott's Honda
MARYOTT'S HONDA 79.66
I-90 MOTOR SPORTS 78.38
DESTINATION HARLEY DAVIDSON - Tacoma 77.14
RIDE WEST BMW 76.13
CASCADE MOTORCYCLE INC 73.54

This was indeed a surprise all the way around. When you consider what some dealers have invested in appearance we had to look at other aspects to find out just what it was that made each top 5. Below you'll find the answers.  

MOTORCYCLE SALES

CASCADE MOTORCYCLE INC 94.23
CLIFF'S CYCLE & WATERCRAFT CTR 89.44
DESTINATION HARLEY DAVIDSON - Tacoma 81.19
LYNNWOOD CYCLE BARN 80.72
I-90 MOTOR SPORTS 80.71

Cascade Motorcycle took the tops in product knowledge, customer service, satisfaction, selection and pricing. Anyone who's been to Cliff's knows it's not a fascinating place to walk into, but it doesn't take long to get someone's attention.  

PARTS & ACCESSORIES

Maryott's Honda
MARYOTT'S HONDA 78.38
DESTINATION HARLEY DAVIDSON - Tacoma 75.63
I-90 MOTOR SPORTS 75.60
RIDE WEST BMW 75.36
UNIVERSITY HONDA/YAMAHA 73.61

You want your parts right the first time, and you want them fast if you special order them. Pricing has to be right and you want a refund if you buy the wrong part by mistake. No one hit the high marks here and it's an area all local dealers could improve on.

SERVICE 

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LAKE CITY HONDA 85.42
I-90 MOTOR SPORTS 85.00
RIDE WEST BMW 78.98
AURORA SUZUKI 74.38
EVERETT POWERSPORTS 72.27

Customer service, turnaround, quality and pricing were all rated individually here.  This goes to show you don't need to have a dyno to be the top service guy in this area.  

STORE EASE & APPEARANCE

Maryott's Honda
MARYOTT'S HONDA 90.21
DESTINATION HARLEY DAVIDSON - Tacoma 84.04
LYNNWOOD CYCLE BARN 82.71
SKAGIT HARLEY DAVIDSON 79.86
CASCADE BMW MOTORCYCLE INC 75.57

You like a store that's clean, easy to get to, feels good when you're inside and is easy to navigate. Maybe Maryott's hasn't done a million dollar remodel, but customers seem to like it the way it is, anyhow.

In the end, Maryott's won the overall, but it's interesting to note that Destination Harley Davidson placed in three of four sub-categories. Guess you guys like that free barbeque every Saturday!

Patrick Thomas/July 00


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