Who’s really cheap?

June 21, 2011

When you fly with “cheap” airline EasyJet and you arrive early for your flight home, they will put you on an earlier flight for free if there is space. A nice gesture that costs them nothing (in fact it’s positive for them as it gives them a – be it slim – chance to sell the seat you just opened up on the late flight, whereas surely nobody was going to buy a ticket anymore on the flight that is just about to leave). But the point is, it costs them nothing, it’s a nice gesture, the customer is happy.

Try to do that at “full-service” airlines Swiss or KLM. If the person at the check-in is nice, you may be fine. If he/she follows the official rules, they’ll send you to the ticket office to BUY the change. The ticket office will then display the flexibility of a concrete wall, lecture about how your class of Economy doesn’t allow this, etc, etc (don’t get me started on how there can be a dozen classes of Economy that are neither logical nor clearly explained nor have any resulting effect on what the customer gets, except for how difficult you make life for him/her and how much you charge).

Anyway, the point is, if you have a business and there is something you can do that doesn’t cost you anything and makes the customer happy, do it. Yes, give some thought to whether the customer can game the system, but the vast majority of them won’t and will simply appreciate your gesture.

What could a bike company do to make your life more enjoyable? Let me know in the comments section of this post or on twitter.

10 Responses to “Who’s really cheap?”

  1. Will Taylor Says:

    P4 bottle that could flip open and store tubs, tubes, nutrition etc would make me very happy :-)

  2. G Says:

    a bike company that would warranty a frame that broke from a known issue regardless of if the current owner purchased new or second hand.

    • Thanks for the suggestion G, unfortunately handling warranties on products not owned by the original purchaser is anything but simple. Especially with carbon products, where damage can be sustained months or years before the final failure of a product (and hence potentially before the current owner owned the product).

  3. Have a professional forum: clean, intuitive, nice and good overview…

  4. S3 Fan Says:

    Put detailed ownership, maintenance and service documentation online. Assume the bike shop tossed this out with the box and packing.

  5. Dave Says:

    Ironic… I was set to buy an R5 from Competitive Cyclist when the news of Cervelo nixing online sales came out. Now if I want one I have to get it from a shop I know nothing about and have no relationship with that’s more than an hour drive away…

  6. Eric Says:

    I have to agree with Dave, you talk customer service just a few months after making access to your product more difficult for many of your potential customers. I too would have an hour drive to the nearest dealer. So instead of Cervelo being on my list of choices, it is now not even an option. I would love to know the thinking behind the decision to get away from internet sales.

    • Hi Eric (and Dave),

      While it sounds like in your situation it has gotten harder to access Cervelo, in the market as a whole that is not the case. Cervelo has increased the number of dealerships and the number of test fleets available throughout North America, and if the sales figures are any indication, this has led to better access for consumers as a whole.

      If in your particular case this is not true and you are that far from a dealership, please let me know where you live (you can do this via email at gerard@cervelo.com) and I will forward it to sales to see if the local representation can be improved.

      Best regards,


  7. FarAway Says:

    Publishing the protocol(s) of the test(s) that enables you to claim significant drag reductions or stiffness improvement, and their results.
    Eventually people could stop relying on 1h test rides or reviews too often stating things like “the bike tested “”feels”” fast ” when choosing a new bike.
    Manufacturers could therefore really get rewards for innovations, and consumers be more lucid about commercials. I just don’t see how it could negatively affect a manufacturer like you, because it would cost nothing and reveal nothing else that the achievements of your work.

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