Customer Centricity on all Cylinders

Customer Experience
Customer Experience
Rich Brecht, director of customer experience J&P Cycles, shifts the best of in-person customer contact to J&P Cycles' electronic and voice interactions.

J&P Cycles may be a relatively small distributor of vintage motorcycle parts, but the company has had a big focus on providing superior customer service ever since it was founded by John Parham from the back of his van some 30 years ago.

Rich Brecht, director of customer experience at J&P Cycles, embodies that passion for customer centricity. Last year during the huge motorcycle rally known as Bike Week, Brecht personally greeted everyone who visited the J&P Cycles booth over the course of the 12-day event in Daytona Beach, FL, meeting with thousands of customers and prospects.

"Our organization was really built at swap meets," Brecht says. "That face to face with customers helped us learn how to build those relationships and then support them further through electronic and voice communications."

Brecht infuses customer centricity into various company-customer interactions. For instance, Brecht spearheaded efforts earlier this year to offer mobile self-service and chat services. He also led J&P Cycles'efforts to build an online community for motorcycle enthusiasts to share stories, ask questions, and gain insight from others with similar interests. To track customer comments, complaints, and questions in other social networks, the company now uses social monitoring software from RightNow Technologies.

The combination of these activities has enabled J&P Cycles to learn more about its customers and to react more quickly to their needs. For instance, customer feedback about the company's shipping costs led J&P Cycles to lower those fees, Brecht says.

Additionally, Brecht's efforts to capture the voice of J&P Cycles' customers recently led the company to begin offering customer service on Sundays. Many motorcycle enthusiasts are out on the open road on Sundays, but in the past had to wait until Monday to speak to a rep if they had a service issue. This made Mondays the busiest day of the week for J&P Cycles' customer support desk. Taking calls on Sundays made practical sense because it would "alleviate some of the volume on Mondays," Brecht says. In fact, since the company extended customer support to Sundays last January, phone and chat volume for customer support on Sundays has grown five times.

Responding to customer needs via social and other channels is benefitting the business in other ways. J&P Cycles expects revenues generated from Facebook and Twitter interactions to grow 300 percent in 2011, as compared to 2010. Meanwhile, customer satisfaction scores have jumped 25 points since the company launched its social strategy.

Under Brecht's direction, J&P Cycles continues to draw on customer feedback. Customer demand for different products has led the company to add nearly 100 new products to its inventory this year. "We leverage customer feedback very well," he says. Indeed, under Brecht's skillful direction, J&P Cycles' customer experience efforts have enabled the company to continue to perform in high gear.