Custom Bicycles
News: What’s your status? April 20th, 2011

I thought today I talk a little about the system I use to keep track and maintain customers during their order process. You can also see a similar rundown of the same process that is more customer-centric here. Those of you who’ve ordered from me are already familiar with my system. As you can imagine keeping track of dozens of customers and each of the hundreds of choices and all the changes can be very hard to do. I pride myself in not making mistakes and I credit that to my system and the documents I use. Here is a run down of how I make sure I get your bike right.

The first step is a file. For every customer I use a clasp style file. Once you’ve placed your deposit, I “open” a file on you. On one side of the file is all the info you provide like fitting, letters, images, order forms, etc. They are placed in the order I receive them. On the other side of the file is all the information I generate. I also maintain a log of every phone conversation we have on the outside of the folder. I record the date, what we discussed, what the result of the discussion was and what the customer and my responsibilities are as a result of the conversation. I also maintain digital copies of everything and back that data up regularly. I keep it all indefinitely so if you’ve ever purchased a frame from me I have all the info at my fingertips.

After a file is opened it will move through a series of different status levels. The first is what I call “Need Info”. Most of the time when a customer calls and places a deposit they have not yet collected all the information that I will want. So at that time I place them in the queue, put them on my board and give them “homework”. “Homework” will be things like their body measurements, bike measurements, pictures and anything else I think will help guide my design process. Once I receive this info I move them to a status call “Ready for Interview”.

When a customer file is “Ready for Interview” I process the information, review the file and then contact the customer. We discuss goals, priorities, riding style, etc. We consider current bike fit, any comfort issues, injuries and preexisting conditions. At that time I may need more info. If so, the file is moved back to the “Need Info” status. If not, we produce a preliminary design outline and move the customer file to the next status which is “Draw/Finalize.

“Draw/Finalize is pretty self explanatory. I use BikeCAD to generate a draft design and email it to the customer. We then review the design over the phone and discuss all the details. Typically we may revise the design many times so a customer folder can sit in this status for weeks. I only do design work on Fridays so if we do make revisions it will be the following Friday. This is one of the reasons I like to start design immediately after receiving their deposit. Once a design is done I get a verbal OK from the customer and move the customer file to “Ready to Pull”.

“Ready to Pull” means all decisions have been made and finalized. So each week I take the next four to six builds and pull all the tubes I have in stock. Then I generate purchase orders for everything else I need. I also generate purchase orders for their build kit or any parts they maybe getting. I order the frame material immediately, schedule the build on our calender and an order date for the build kit or parts. Once this is done the customer file is moved to “Ready to Build”.

When the build shows up on the calender, I pull the file and tubes and take it all and build the frame. Once the frame is done I have a quality control check list that I fill out and sign and include in the folder. I assign the frame a serial number and then if it’s raw titanium we finish, assemble and ship. If it’s steel, carbon fiber or painted titanium we ship it to the finisher and move the customer file to “At Paint”

“At Paint” is where the customer file sits until the frame returns. Once it’s back we assemble and ship.

So there you have it. My little system that assures I don’t make any mistakes and you get exactly what you ordered.