For those that know me personally, you'll know that my brother loves motorcycles, and that recently we have purchased 3 motorcycles within the last 8 months. Our experience through this time has definitely confirmed to us why customer service and interaction is the most important aspect of business.

When my brother first moved to Seattle to work at Microsoft, he was gung-ho for getting a new bike. We went to several places, and ended up getting a Ninja 650R from Kent Kawasaki. Not too bad service, but as we learned later, nothing compared to our next experience.

After riding for a few months, he decided to upgrade to a super sport bike, and I would take over the Ninja. He had his eye set on the 50th anniversary edition of the Yamaha YZF-R6, and so we went to Lynwood Cyclebarn and asked to test ride the R6. The salesperson gave us an incredulous look and said that no one would ever let you test ride a sport bike. We asked him how one was expected to purchase a bike without a test ride, and he said you would have to purchase it by the specs. We quickly left that place and will never ever go back.

Next, we visited I-90 Motorsports, and a salesperson named Frank greeted us. Frank was extremely open and kind, and not only did he let my brother test ride a brand new R6, but he also let him test ride a whole variety of sport bikes. My brother ended up getting the Daytona 675 from Frank, and he absolutely loves the bike.

After another month, I decided that I wanted to trade in the 650R for a super sport bike as well. It didn't even cross my mind to look at another dealer, even though potentially I could get a better price; we automatically went back to Frank. He let me test ride a brand new CBR600RR, and I ended up getting the CBR600RR from Frank.

It struck me that as a consumer, I was completely turned off by poor customer service. Even if Cyclebarn had a better price on the CBR, or some special deal, I would go back with Frank. And in the future, if I were to get another bike, I would go back to Frank. And I recommend my friends to Frank.

Now I wonder too; what do customers think of Microsoft? What do customers think of Visual Studio? What do customers think of Visual Basic? Because at the end of the day, how a customer feels while interacting with you is so much more important than the price or the product.

Look for me in the VB forums if you run into trouble, leave a comment, or give me a shout at timng@microsoft.com. I'll do my best to help you, or point you to the right people.

And if you drop by I-90 Motorsports and want to pick up a bike, tell them Tim and Sam sent you :)