Chris Zane is a veteran of the retail bicycle industry who bought his first bike shop at age 16 and built Zane’s Cycles into largest bicycle shop in Connecticut by the age of 30. Today, Zane’s Cycles is one of the largest retail bicycle stores in the nation. Chris is a sought-after speaker and the author of Reinventing the Wheel: The Science of Creating Lifetime Customers. Since 1985, Chris has been accumulating awards and accolades such as the Better Business Bureau’s “Award of Recognition for Customer Service and Outstanding Business Practices,” Fast Company magazine’s “Customer First Award,” and North American Bicyclist magazine’s “North America’s Best Bicycle Retailer” Award.
My conversation with Chris on My Quest for the Best offered a window into that award-winning business philosophy. He discussed the impact that taking full responsibility has on the culture of Zane’s Cycles, including why free lifetime service is included with every bicycle they sell. He also shared some of the factors his company uses to successfully differentiate from competitors, how the “magic number” helps his team members remember to treat customers with great care and respect, and how adopting his commitment to being in the customer service business – not the bike business – can benefit your company, too.
Chris has achieved uncommon success as an entrepreneur during one of the toughest economic periods in history through his commitment to create great experiences for his customers, his method of empowering his staff to make significant decisions that reflect the values of his company, and his insights into effective marketing and management. Once you understand how Chris thinks about the drivers in his business and industry, you can combine that thinking with your own ideas in order to steer your business into the fast lane for greater customer loyalty and higher profits.