Building a culture of service
New Triumph corporate location a suite of history
There’s a “cool” factor that comes with the Triumph brand, all the way down to the company’s Atlanta office space.
Autographed memorabilia from a range of Triumph fans — including Shaun White, Metallica, Tony Hawk, Mumford & Sons, Pink, Billy Idol and the Zac Brown Band — is only the start of what has to be slickest corporate locations in the industry. At any given time, up to 30 motorcycles can be found along the hallways and in individual office spaces. The entryway features a photographical look at the brand’s U.S. origins, starting with Evel Knievel’s thrills aboard a Triumph and a wealth of race bikes, along with pictorials of Steve McQueen and Ann Margaret.
In fact, the single-floor location — complete with building naming rights — often attracts consumers who simply want to come ogle at the collection of bikes and paraphernalia related to land speed, road race and flat track champions who have ridden Triumph. New retail initiatives like the retro-cool Johnson Motors T-shirt-in-an-oil-can also are displayed.
“From our employees to our customers, including dealers who come in, it shows we’re here and we’re here in a big way,” Triumph North America CEO Greg Heichelbech told Powersports Business during an exclusive tour of the digs. “It keeps our employees happy and keeps them immersed in the Triumph motorcycle environment.”
Packing the bags
A little more than a year ago, Heichelbech moved the headquarters office from its previous location 30 miles south on I-85 in Newnan, Ga., that included a warehouse as part of the rent. But Heichelbech soon learned that Triumph doesn’t do PG&A logistics well, so he turned that part of the business over to UPS and Bridgeline Digital, packed up and headed north. The new office is just a stone’s throw from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
“Since we don’t do shipping anymore from here, because we didn’t do it well, we went from shipping on time 70 percent of the time to 99.9 percent of the time now. About 60 percent of our dealer calls were related to not focusing on customer service, and that’s where the dealer loses the customer, so that had to change,” Heichelbech said.
Depending on the time of year, the office houses about 60 employees. A plethora of bikes — at least 20, sometimes 30 — grace the office space. All bikes on the floor must be operational. In fact, Heichelbech had to buy back one of the 40 Limited Edition Daytona 675s that were unveiled at the dealer meeting in Alabama last year. Dealers gobbled up the Jason DiSalvo replicas in less than five minutes, but it was then that Heichelbech remembered that he needed one for the office. And he paid dearly — “let’s just say over retail,” he says — for the numbered bike from one of the dealers.
There’s plenty of interesting stuff for visitors to see inside the 20,000 square-foot operations, but it’s not all fun and games. The entryway to the office is being transformed into a mock dealership showroom, complete with bikes, outfitted mannequins and apparel. A portion of the company’s retail branding is shown, with the brand now in 200 Lucky apparel locations. Newly designed T-shirts from Triumph’s various apparel partners also grace the retail space.
A sizable meeting room that hosts Triumph “20-Club” meetings for dealers fits a collage of movie posters. The posters, a few dozen strong, are from movies in which Triumph bikes had starring roles, like Mission: Impossible II, The Matrix, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
New business approach
There are amenities beyond autographs and posters. Sixty-inch monitors in each division of the company provide real-time project assessments. Heichelbech, a former Harley-Davidson executive, credits the Sales Force platform as a measurement tool, and “The 4 Disciplines of Execution” by Sean Covey, Jim Huling and Chris McChesney as the inspiration.
“This all used to be notepads and Excel files,” Heichelbech says we walk past highly connected and efficient cubicles. The sales staff has grown significantly since Heichelbech took over in 2010. The customer service staff, in particular, has grown from three to 12. In 2013, Triumph became the first OEM to offer 24/7 customer service support.
“We had a 20 percent pickup rate on the phone (in the customer service department),” he said. “Now we’ve connected them to SalesForce.com and we respond to questions from email, website, live chat and telephone within 20 minutes. Video’s next.”
Walking deeper into the location, an apparel wall full of future product allows staff to plan out the season’s retailing environment. Triumph’s new Clothing and Accessory dealer program provides the dealers with fresh monthly product, which includes planograms with each shipment delivered from the UPS warehouse and distribution center in Kentucky.
Heichelbech is developing reasons for customers — both dealers and consumers — to want to business with Triumph. Dealer profitability, brand awareness, ease of doing business and fixing the infrastructure have been on his to-do list since Day 1. Triumph has been revamping all of its business processes, including margin structure.
“We are now second only to Harley-Davidson in margin for the dealer and have a goal of being number one in several categories, including motorcycles,” Heichelbech added.
To monitor this goal, Triumph started and co-ops three dealer “20-Club” groups that are moderated by Sam Dantzler, and will soon add a fourth. “It’s the best way to be immersed in your customer’s business and monitor the impact of your strategies,” he said. “Based on the composite and dealer input at these meetings, we have a communication channel to sort out the facts and target hot spots.”
The attention to customer service has guided the brand to selling 8,400 units a year in North America in 2010 to 13,000 in 2013 to Heichelbech’s goal of 16,000 in 2014. His vision for the Triumph portion of a dealership’s showroom involves more growth in product offerings, increased sales volume per store and new sales tools to interact with the customer.
“There’s no reason for anyone to think that Triumph is less than the best brand out there,” Heichelbech said.