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Views on Halfords..... floodgates opened!

guillianoguilliano Posts: 5,495
edited August 2011 in MTB general
I am looking to get some views on your experiences at Halfords Bike Huts. Please be constructive rather than just slating as I am looking at putting some training in place in my own shop to ensure that the service offered is what customers are looking for rather than just the usual supermarket offering.

Posts

  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Some are good, some are bad, some are indifferent, the ones were the BH team are cyclists seem better than the ones where it's staffed by 'jobbers', its not just training, it's attitude as well. Whatever the 'numbers' say, the staff who don't know about the better bikes shouldn't be selling them, it just puts the buyers off.

    Simon
  • oscarioscari Posts: 10
    The main problem I find with Halfords is lack of Knowledge and ability of staff.
    They employ youngsters who are mostly there because it's a job but don't seem to have any real interest in cycling.Also they are low paid so don't have any incentive to improve.
  • RaymondavalonRaymondavalon Posts: 5,346
    This has been done a hundred times on this Forum. I suggest you search using "Halfords" in the search criteria to read the good and bad. Also understanding that many a Member is very quick to whinge and rant about Halfords (and other outlets) the moment they feel hard done by.

    My personal opinion is that, yes I do buy odds and ends from Halfords, they often have what I need at the time and I cannot fault the service.

    I recently exchanged a Halfords Professional Series bike rack that had the tensioner seize up and it was exchanged without any argument or issues. That is good service, irrespective of the outlet.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    Everything's been said really, but to summarise my experience it's really just a general hit and miss with the expertise of the staff depending if you get the unexperienced kids, the adults who are filling in on the bike department but know nothing about bikes, or someone who at least knows a bit about what they're selling. They can also provide good value on the better bikes as they go by a fixed price and spec the bike to fit the price, and can get you some good components as a result.

    If you know what you're after, what they offer and what to watch out for, they can be okay.

    My main concern with Halfords is for people who are clueless and want to be told what to buy. The same goes with PCs and PC World. I shudder sometimes when I hear the advice people get in these kinds of places.

    In short, quality training of the staff, make sure they're doing the job right and care, and don't rely on getting cheap labour (school kids), hand them a spanner and tell them to get on with it because it gets a job done quick.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 15,475
    I've had good and bad service from Halfords- some of the best I've ever had actually- but the main thing is, they've never actually tried to steal from me unlike quite a few LBSs.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Bought the Boardman in a box, built it at home.

    The lad behind the counter handled the debit card transaction very well, but didn't offer to help carry the box to the car..
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    oscari wrote:
    The main problem I find with Halfords is lack of Knowledge and ability of staff.
    They employ youngsters who are mostly there because it's a job but don't seem to have any real interest in cycling.Also they are low paid so don't have any incentive to improve.

    I generally find this with all shops I visit. Not just Halfords.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    But some Halfords are just fine same as any shop.

    :wink:
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • 97th choice97th choice Posts: 2,305
    Training, training, training, training.
    Too-ra-loo-ra, too-ra-loo-rye, aye

    Giant Trance
    Radon ZR 27.5 Race
    Btwin Alur700
    Merida CX500
  • wordnumbwordnumb Posts: 847
    That O on the sign is wonky. You ought to fix it before it falls off and hurts someone. I wouldn't buy anything from a shop with a wonky sign, it's against my principles.
  • wordnumbwordnumb Posts: 847
    supersonic wrote:
    oscari wrote:
    The main problem I find with Halfords is lack of Knowledge and ability of staff.
    They employ youngsters who are mostly there because it's a job but don't seem to have any real interest in cycling.Also they are low paid so don't have any incentive to improve.

    I generally find this with all shops I visit. Not just Halfords.

    Yes. Throw in overconfidence and a tendency toward aggression when frustrated and oscari just described humanity as a whole.
  • Greer_Greer_ Posts: 1,716
    The reason i keep going back to my local halfords is because the guys who help me actually cycle and have a far better idea about what they're talking about than me. The staff have been a great help to me so far :)
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    That's why I prefer an LBS where the guys working there actually ride. Those that do local rides so you know they do proper riding, and let you demo bikes on local trails especially.

    They tend to be ones based near trails of course. The "kids" who work there often want to work there because they ride themselves, want to pick up some knowledge, want to work there. As well as getting some cash of course.
  • RaymondavalonRaymondavalon Posts: 5,346
    TBH I don't use Halfords as a repair centre at all, I am quite capable of undertaking most repairs and maintenance myself.
    However, I do buy quite a bit from the shop section and to be honest find the BikeHut guys quite helpful when I ask the occasional question.
  • CatfishCatfish Posts: 141
    I've had a few bikes from Halfords, The customer service in store has been fine. The bikes however are far from fine. The more expensive the worse the quality. Carerra Vulcan for my lad was fine, My Furry went back because the paint was censored and started to fall off, and my Pro Hybred had censored paint and the rear triangle was twisted. Both the boardman and the Furry were re funded under warrenty for manufacturing defects. Most of the problems i came accross were because head office dragged there feet and kept passing the buck. I now ride a Kinessis xc130 and a Specialised Tri Cross. I've done with Halfords.
  • sheepsteethsheepsteeth Posts: 17,418 Webster
    i dont mind halfords too much, the nearest one to me is considerably more helpful than the utter cheesewands who work in the independant local bike shop.

    the LBS is staffed by those smart so and sos who wear designer glasses and sport witty t shirts whilst being completely useless but incredibly smug about it. reminds me of someone, i cant quite put my finger on who.....

    the halfords on the otherhand will happily sell me anything i ask for provided it is in stock without suggesting they know more about what i want than i do.

    the last time i went in i paid over the odds for a mech and a shifter than i should have done because i wanted those items there and then for the last build and i was too impatient to wait for buying the same things for half pice on line. the guy who dealt with me made time to find exactly what i asked for and the workshop was chocker block, loads of customers were coming in and out and all of the staff inthere were buzzing about.

    i would suggest that there are plenty of decent halfords, i certainly think the chatham one and the cambridge ones are decent in my experience.
  • before i got into mountain bikein i had a bike from halfords anf i took it round a route and it was terible it fell to bits first ride
  • RaymondavalonRaymondavalon Posts: 5,346
    before i got into mountain bikein i had a bike from halfords anf i took it round a route and it was terible it fell to bits first ride

    Right, now type that in English and provide a little more info for the nice man from Halfords and the equally nice, well punctuated Forum Members..
  • Seems to be a swarm of terrible quality english typers coming onto the forum recently.
  • NatoEDNatoED Posts: 500
    it's squeaker season ( school holidays) it will be over soon
  • GT1984GT1984 Posts: 5
    I used to work in Halords but on the Car stereo/ alloy wheels section.

    When I was there you had 'Specialists' in each area, ie a Parts, Bikehut and Stying and performance Specialst. So if there was a more inexperienced member of staff or someone unfamiliar with that department, the Specialist should be close to lend a hand and give any needed information. But when I started , I got alot of my knowledge from reading magasines, talkng to other staff members etc, the only reason I did this was because I had an interest in what I was selling/installing. So I'd say the best way is to have people interested in each field working there, horses for courses really.

    Do Halfords still have Specialists??
  • heez29heez29 Posts: 612
    GT1984 wrote:
    I used to work in Halords but on the Car stereo/ alloy wheels section.

    When I was there you had 'Specialists' in each area, ie a Parts, Bikehut and Stying and performance Specialst. So if there was a more inexperienced member of staff or someone unfamiliar with that department, the Specialist should be close to lend a hand and give any needed information. But when I started , I got alot of my knowledge from reading magasines, talkng to other staff members etc, the only reason I did this was because I had an interest in what I was selling/installing. So I'd say the best way is to have people interested in each field working there, horses for courses really.

    Do Halfords still have Specialists??

    Nope, went a wee while ago. In the Edinburgh stores there were nine (when they were called specialists) now there is only one left.

    Unfortunately the company want staff who can do eveything. ie, be able to sell bikes and sell sat navs which just doesn't work. Like everybody else has stated in here it's about knowloedge rather than being able to. It's incredibly easy to figure whether or not a member of staff is sprouting bullshit infront of your face when explaining things about bikes.
  • tom_howardtom_howard Posts: 792
    Seems to be a swarm of terrible quality english typers coming onto the forum recently.

    Wot d u meen? i spk gud!

    Aaanyway, back on topic, I worked in Halfords while I was student, and the thing that really got to me was that (at my store anyway) was that there was no perceived incentives for the manager to send the knowledgable staff to do the specialist training, (or even basic training if the new starter had no previous experience) mainly because he'd have to pay us more and his view was 'Why would I send you on a training course meaning I have to pay you more for something you already know?'

    This means that the people who have this knowledge think 'f*ck it ill go somewhere that rewards knowledge' as I did. Then they employ people to fill a rota, I cant tell you the number of rows i had when managers wanted me to work in the car dept and I wouldnt as I knew the ar$e end of FA about car stereos. We used to have guys filling in on Bikehut and I wouldnt trust them with a finger bike, never mind anything else.

    Finally from me is the desire to sell the 'Halfords specials' you know the sort, apollo and brands youve never heard of for <£100 in the hope to sell accessories. My old manager would much rather sell 10 £100 apollo's than one £1500 Kona, so no training was ever given on higher end bikes

    Halfords has really hit a winner with the last few years of Carreras and Boardmans, its just a shame that they haven't invested in getting the staff up to speed as well.
    Santa Cruz 5010C
    Deviate Guide
    Specialized Sequoia Elite
    Pivot Mach 429SL
    Trek Madone 5.2 Di2
    Salsa Mukluk Carbon
    Specialized Turbo Levo Expert 29er
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