With a track record of customer service and a commitment to its brand and craft, Doug Reynolds Suzuki of Little Rock, Arkansas, has been honored with Suzuki’s Cutting Edge award yet again. Powersports Business staff reporter Nick Longworth takes a closer look.
“We have the best service crew in the nation, and I guess this proves it,” said owner Charlotte Melton, whose father Doug started the shop 52 years ago.
No stranger to the honor, the award will be its seventh total from Suzuki. Each year one dealership from each of the company’s nine districts is presented with the award.
According to Suzuki’s site, the Cutting Edge Award recognizes the “best-of-the-best” and is presented only to dealers who have surpassed the already high standards of Suzuki’s Super Service Award. Its merit is based on a combination of top Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) scoring as well as e-learning participation, new model seminar attendance and an evaluation of customer complaints.
In conjunction with the award honor, recipients are given a ceremonious katana sword – something that, according to Melton, adds to its prestige.
The Cutting Edge Award first began in 1996, and Doug Reynolds Suzuki was the first shop to win it. Since then, the continued publicity helps add to the shop’s notoriety.
“It’s a very big honor to be given one as a result of our hard work and dedication,” Melton said. “It’s not just about prices, but the service people receive after a purchase. We’re not here just for numbers; we’re here to let people have fun. We keep that in mind when anybody comes through our door.”
Throughout a “normal” year – of which 2020 has been anything but – the shop would typically host bike nights as well as other community-focused events.
“This year has been mainly online giveaways and stuff,” said Melton.
Started by her father, Doug Reynolds, Melton said the shop has been a single line Suzuki dealer for 50 years, but has recently added CFMOTO, SSR, Benelli, Bennche and Mahindra ROXOR manufacturers to offer a wider range of products for customers.
“Our service department is known all over the nation. Some manufacturers even call us for information because we see so many things come through our doors – all makes and models and brands,” said Melton, who noted that most employees have remained with the family-owned shop for years. “They see and diagnose a lot, and are very good at what they do.”
Similar to numerous powersports dealerships throughout the nation, as an essential business Reynolds was able to remain open during the initial onset of COVID-19 allowing the shop’s sales to remain strong during a period of increased distancing, and demand.
“We’ve been triple some months, with others being quadruple the amount of normal sales,” said Melton. One hindrance to growth that she noted was the limited availability of product. “We have plenty of cruisers, but all other bikes and side-by-sides we were getting low on… People want to get out of the house. We can’t keep used machines in stock, and we can’t get many trades or consignment, so people were keeping them.”
As a rural region, the shop did not require or enforce any adaptions throughout the COVID onset, with Melton saying, “We haven’t had any issues with people asking for special services, but if someone didn’t want to get out of their car or something we would happily oblige.”
Mum on specifics due to the uncertainty presented by the current pandemic, Melton said their collective goal is to keep rolling the way they have been for more than five decades now – assuming inventory will let them do so.
“With all of this going on, more-so than ever people are looking for what we have,” said Melton. “My dad started this 52 years ago and always said ‘you’re always going to have ups and downs, but if you love it stick with it.’”