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What do you generally like to see from the back shop in a ski store? - Page 2

post #31 of 41
the shop for hire thing sounds cool.

reminds me of my college days when i could go down to the student run bike shop and use their equipment for free (as long as i presented student ID...i think there was a nominal charge for non-students). they also gave monthly seminars on how to fix your own bike and then I think they had repair services you could pay for if you wanted to.

i dunno what the liability would be on that...do you need a license to run what would ostensibly be a co-op/learning center?

i'd be down for something like that. in fact the buddy i mentioned earlier said he'd be more than happy to teach me the basics of edge sharpening and base grinding and waxing if i was willing to spend the time.
post #32 of 41
Somebody who doesn't run "help wanted" ads in the Daily for ski techs that say "no experience necessary".

See it every year in the Summit Daily. I wish I knew what shops run those so I could be sure to avoid them.
post #33 of 41
Honesty goes a very long way with me. Example: Beginner/intermediate skiers who get their skis waxed every time they go out....no matter if they ski one run or 3 hours....These folks complain to me about the high cost of skiing...duh.

Customer service--90 questions the first time....then remember the answers and offer the tune and guidance based upon those answers. Get a computer---take a digital photo and enter key info about the skier.....Its your cheat sheet for your crew... "hey Bobby told me about you...how was Jackson hole last year.....did you still want the 1/3 bevel?, you still waxing your self or do you want us to do it today?

Teach or educate. Bottom line, unless your customers spend tons of money they cannot do what you do. However they can give a fast wax in a pinch....teach them, have workshop nights, what is the best iron...wax for the situation/wallet. You teach them, they know you 1) care about them, 2) know your stuff....and they will come back.
post #34 of 41
I've been tuning my own skis since the late 60's when I was on the High School ski team.
Then I had children who skied & raced.
Did their skis and eventually taught them how to acheive an edge that felt (skied) good to them.
I worked in "Repair" for more than 15 years.
I've seen alot of employees ruin skis while attempting to tune them.
Or what their concept of tuning is in their mind.(?)
It is jaw-dropping to watch some "tech" stonegrind, edge, and then completely erase the work that they just did, with a well grooved Gummi.
7, 8, 9 full length strokes........... there, your all set to go.
The edge is so rolled over that it is literally impossible to ever bring that edge back to any level of acuteness.
My point...........
You pay peanuts, you get Monkeys.
post #35 of 41
Having worked in shops and what not, I'd say the one thing I'd look for in a shop that I have never seen anywhere would be a solid QC program in effect. One of the reasons why I no longer work in the industry is that I got very, very frustrated with the fact that no one was willing to take quality seriously. "Process control" is a foreign concept. Some customers get better treatment than others, all customers occasionally get lousy treatment due to poor implementation of best practices. True at every shop I've ever seen.

The other thing that would be nice to see (and something that some shops do quite well) would be a workflow organized so that all work is done in a short and reasonable timeframe like 24-48 hours, while enough warm bodies and machines are available during the day for "emergency/quick" jobs in order to please customers. This means the shop owner needs to delegate and usually means the shop needs to remain open after the retail store closes...but I've seen it done beautifully.

Keeping track of the individual preferences of each skier with a computer is a great idea, but the problem there is the bottleneck it proves to be upfront. Much like computerized rental/work forms, it works great until the morning when 25 new customers walk through the door. I think a clever person could put some hybrid system into effect there which could track skis/customers preferences and settings as a secondary administrative task in addition to the traditional workflow and greatly improve the customer experience.

The biggest issue: Very, very few customers can tell you why they do or do not like a tune. A small difference in your process will ruin their day and you might not be able to determine exactly why without time consuming and frustrating trial and error, something both customer and shop hate. At the same time, trying to implement a one-size-fits-all process will make a third or more of your customers less than elated.
Example: Beginner/intermediate skiers who get their skis waxed every time they go out....no matter if they ski one run or 3 hours....These folks complain to me about the high cost of skiing...duh.
Hmm. I wax my skis every time I go out even if I only ski a few runs. This is a widely accepted best practice. The key is that the shop should explain that best practice to the customer, admit that it is expensive/time consuming to have the shop do that sort of routine maintenance, and offer free clinics and low priced beginner supplies to get the customer involved in their maintenance experience. This is a winning situation all around, the customer learns more about the gear and when to get it serviced, the customer has more fun on the hill, and the shop sells an iron and builds a relationship.

(and Phil is right on about the back door. Nothing like a liquid tip. )
post #36 of 41
Taking "QC" seriously when your considered a "warm body" by the customer is oxymoronic
post #37 of 41
Originally Posted by hickorystix View Post
Taking "QC" seriously when your considered a "warm body" by the customer is oxymoronic
Thats just bitterness talking. People treated me a lot better working in a shop even as an unskilled kid than they treat all sorts of far more skilled service industry folks. And other service industries make a much, much more serious effort to ensure a quality product. Even when a shop screws up royally, customers tend to be polite and patient...arguably to a fault in some cases. Good shops will do what it takes to make it up to the customer but it doesn't change the fact that they shouldn't have screwed up to begin with.

If specialty ski shops want to survive, they'll have to take that respect customers give them and respond with a high quality and consistent product. Many retail segments that failed to do that simply don't exist anymore.
post #38 of 41
The thing I want to see in the back shop that makes me the most comfortable is the same folks I see deep in the trees and/or in the starting gate where I spend the majority of my hill time.

If you find a tech who not only can "talk the talk" but also "walk the walk" and KNOWS that you can too, you're set

As for the stealthy beer compensation, I know what my favorite tech drives and the 'ol case under the back bumper works wonders
post #39 of 41
Originally Posted by MelloBoy View Post

It's been ages since I've posted here. I've been continuously working in the winter/spring seasons in the back shop for the past 8 years or so and it's the first time since '99 I've considered not returning to the industry.

I'm considering an opportunity to go back to work and quite possibly manage the back shop of a rather prominent store that took a significant hit in the quality of worksmanship in terms of tunes due to people leaving and hiring of what I would consider to be less than qualified individuals; ie. people not knowing the difference between bevel angles, not understanding the importance of base structure, why to deburr after edge sharpening, etc.

That said, I just wanted to get an idea of what you guys would want to see out of a shop that you visit regularly in terms of tunes, staff knowledge, customer service, etc to see if I can even start to help them out with the limited time I would have (I work in the science industry full time).

I'm not sure if this is the right forum or if this should more specifically be in the tunes section...but thank you in advance for any input given
First, welcome back. When I saw "MelloBoy" attached to this thread I thought at first that someone had resurrected a very old thread.

To get to your question:

1) A back-shop that knows how to properly operate a stone grinder.
2) Shop policy and techs that know how to bevel per the customers instructions or know the standard major factory bevels so that Atomic, Fischer and such will be tuned standard at 1 & 3 instead of 1&2 or something else.
3) Techs who will not take it upon themselves to detune the tips and tails of skis, especially carving skis.

If you can accomplish these three things, you are well on your way to establishing a great reputation for your shop (if you take the job), far better than average.

Again, welcome back.
post #40 of 41
Originally Posted by MelloBoy View Post
Thanks for the input, everyone, thus far.

This was actually one of my biggest gripes, particularly in regards to brand new equipment. Management kept pushing for ALL equipment, regardless of request or not, to detune tips and tails. Something about skis inherent quality to be "hooky" without detuned tips and tails leading to liability issues.

The "liability issue" sounds more like an urban myth, but I'm not too versed on legality of such things. I know boot/binding interface is generally what's critical in regards to liability issues, but anyone ever hear of such a thing in regards to detuning?
Skis that are feel hooky are usually a result of a skier alignment problem. The answer is to alter the bevels at the tips or, better yet, for the skier to get his/her boot soles canted. Dulling the tips will simply make skis perform worse in most on-piste conditions where 80% or so of skiers spend most of their time and won't solve the alignment problem.

You are likely correct that liability concerns are an urban myth. If there were really tuning based concerns then few shops would be tuning at all since sharp edges anywhere along the length of the ski have an increased possibility to cause injury or damage in the case of a fall or collision.

The more plausible explanation is that the shops figure that most customers are skidding their turns even with shaped skis (likely true) and they want to make it easier for the customer to do so. The problem with that kind of thinking is that skiers don't improve, have less control at even fairly low speeds eventually get frustrated and ski less or quit. This is ultimately not good for ski shops.

BTW, did I say welcome back?
post #41 of 41
Originally Posted by Lostboy View Post
1, 2, 3
Those are some pretty easy marks to hit, though number one is a bit broad.

I've never heard anyone call a bad tune a liability issue, and I sincerely hope I never hear that again. That would be one heck of a slippery slope...
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