FilterAssistant Store Manager
Great Staff to work with overall.
Trade Price on bikes and accessories
Does well to provide great work life balance
Salary was poor for the amount of work being given.
HR were terrible to deal with
Advice to Management
Keep listening and acting on what people need
I have been working at Evans Cycles full-time (More than a year)
Evans Cycles is WAY better than a number of its competitors and has a very good infrastructure making daily work easy and streamlined. There is a process for everything and once you have learned and mastered these processes all tasks become relatively easy and straight forward. Their turnaround times on orders are remarkably good on the whole with 1 day accessory delivery and 2hr to 4 day bike collection in stores. The busier stores facilitate a large transaction count and see such a variety of customers that no day is identical and if you enjoy busy work environments then Evans will most definitely deliver. There is always something to do and if you are a motivated individual there is some room to move up the ladder from sales assistants through to store manager. The company responds well to up beat, lively staff who genuinely get motivated by sales, sales targets, store merchandising and campaign changes. If are lucky enough to work in a store that has a reasonable sales target then bonuses are decent and obtainable, however not necessarily all that easy to influence as Evans mostly operates on the basis that their sales comes from stock availability, competitive prices and delivery times. Although in the last 6 months a small but significant change has begun to improve shop floor sales staff's ability to turn browsers into buyers. The good news is this not only motivated staff that are driven by targets and goals but allows individuals who are looking to blend into the background and get an easy ride to coast as there is no punishment or reward scheme for individual sales performance in place. (A negative for some and positive for others i suppose).
It is often joked in store that if you work for Evans Cycles as supervisor, assistant or manager then you are more of a detective than anything else as a good portion of staff time is take up by navigating Evans Cycles' till system and back office to identify what happened to stock, how much a customer paid for a product or when it was purchased, as well as whether an item was stolen or sold under the wrong item code or transferred out of the store stock into the warehouse stock. Although this may sound like a negative and a poor use of a managers time, the opposite is true as it offers up a different dynamic for staff if you treat each problem as a mini challenge. It can be very fulfilling identifying and fixing these sort of problems. Many customers can be challenging to work with and often require a degree in psychology to understand how best to deal with each customer. Consumer habits are often very complex and coupling that with the types of customers Evans Cycles attracts, it can be very difficult for many individuals, including myself at times. Some customers are cycling veterans that fancy themselves professionals and can be very picky, requesting levels of service and customisation that you'd feel embarrassed to ask for at a Rolls Royce dealership at no extra fee. These customers often end up dissatisfied with the kind of service Evans Cycles is set up to provide (a retail/in and out style service) and large discounts given to appease the customers and avoid negative feedback. Meanwhile other customers are complete novices and struggle to understand the complex industry so are essentially looking for staff that will walk them through buying their first bike step by step, omitting as much choice/technical jargon and details as possible whilst also giving them a bargain. Although this is a negative it is not the companies fault and more an issue with the industry however it does provide massive variation customer to customer and I have seen some staff become very motivated dealing with these sorts of customers as they treat it as a challenge and an exercise in understanding different human behaviours. If you are inclined to treat everything in this way and can deal with high volumes of customers asking the same exact question in a million different ways then this is a decent position, especially if you are also looking to work in other sales roles such as clothes retail or food.
Working for Evans is demanding, and the repetition (not unique to this job), low pay and odd hours (some 7am starts, some 11am starts, 4pm or 8pm finishes) can be difficult to sustain full time HOWEVER, if you are looking for part time work, 24hrs sub, then it is a decent postition. The trade discount can offer up to £1000 worth of product and also 1 bike per year which you can go over if you ask for permission. The staff I have worked with in my time here have been a mixed bag ranging from funny, pleasant and enthusastic hard working folk who I have become good friends with out side of work as a consequence, all the way to a mixture of pleasant but useless, unreliable people. What i'm trying to say though is the staff are on the whole the best factor and asset of Evans Cycles and it has been a pleasure working along side some of them, although like any job there are individuals that make it difficult. If you are of the type of person that can remain impartial whilst still making friends and know how to pick your battles and when to let things slide then it can be pretty motivating to work here. This is the first job in my career that I have pushed through illness or fatigue, or offered to stay overtime to help/cover when periods were understaffed as i felt a sense of duty to my team to not let anyone down and force them to work unduly hard and pick up my slack.
Come work for Evans cycles and you will learn loads about the industry, loads about consumer habits, loads about your own ability to work under pressure and you could make some good friends along the way. This company is sticking around and has a good footing in the industry so you aren't like to be made redundant as well.
Where to start? As with any business there are many flaws, faults and glaring issues that cause the individual business to be viewed as poor. However over the two years I have worked here my opinions on Evans have changed many times. I began by viewing the company (after the initial 3-4 month honey moon period where you are still working out how everything works) like it was yet another business that prioritises customer satisfaction and profit above all else, not considering the bigger picture at all and ignoring glaring issues with its operation that would improve the happiness of the staff within it.
Over time this opinion changed though. As i learned more about the business, saw behind the scenes of the illusive head office, which might i add is nearly completely shrouded in mystery and comes across to new staff as a bunch of highly paid execs in an ivory tower in Gatwick with no interest in the staff themselves but only whether they are stealing from the company or hitting their sale targets. I slowly realised that the ivory tower is made of plastic and the complaints of the staff in the offices behind the store fronts are similar to that of the poor guys on the front lines. I realised that we were all in it together. So the Cons of Evans Cycles are two part. One side of the issues with the business comes from its rapid expansion and inherent problems with the cycle industry on the whole. The other issue comes from the opposite side, the staff, the public that use Evans' services and the position it markets itself into within the industry.
Evans Cycles has always, from the start been about market share and expansion. They have done incredibly well to expand into a relatively competitive and ever changing market and have identified that the competitive companies such as Wiggle and CRC have made a large profit by taking advantage of the online space. Evans has copied this well by setting up an efficient warehouse and large stock availability as well as quick delivery. They have also decided to stick within the Highstreet in order to take good portions of sales from small local bikes shops and grab new comers to cycling as they are situated in many places across the country. This however has somewhat acted as a negative from a consumer and staff point of view. It is certainly a positive for shareholders and those in upper management as sales growth equals bonus' and profits but it has adversely affected staff who now have to deal with incredibly large workloads. It is common for busy stores to have wait times of 10-20 minutes to be able to buy the smallest of items and the phones can often ring continuously for hours on end without being answered. In the time I have worked for Evans this issue has definitely worsened and even the most hardy of staff have reached braking point from time to time with walk outs and arguments happening due to stress. The low staff numbers are partially to blame for this but also the level of service that most customers require for the smallest of items as explained above. After working my way up in this company to a position where I have the ability to influence staff levels I have found however that staff numbers do not decrease this weirdly. I theorise this is due to the number of customers wishing to shop or browse in Evans Cycles is huge and when the staff number is increase to allow the staff to effectively serve these customers all that happens is we talk to more customers yet do not increase order numbers proportionally and make end up making same amount of money. Due to the rapid expansion many of the stores don't make anywhere near as much money as they should and stock levels are poorly managed being spread far too thin across the company. The delivery and storage of bikes across the company is poor as well with many stores lacking the space to adequately store bikes and a ridiculous amount of damage occurring to bikes during transit. All of these are reasons that ultimately staff and customers suffer.
Large amounts of sales assistants time is taken up with non sales advice like "how do i work this pump". The problem can't be solved by more staff it turns out but could be solved by a streamlining of the companies awful website, introducing a better FAQ system online before the customer can get our number to phone us, and maybe increase the wages that is clearly communicated to staff that the increase is to deal with the higher work flow as the company is growing. Finally a better bonus scheme that simultaneously benefits individual effort and is actually achievable and can be manipulated by the staff and not the whether, would make staff effort feel more valued as it can often feel like walking in quicksand trying to do anything in my store.
The other issues with Evans Cycles comes from the infrastructure in which the Cycle industry as a whole operates. For some, unknown to me,reason bike retailers focus primarily on bikes and not when actually makes money. having seen margins, sales figure and other stats it is clear. Bikes take time to sell but make little money, accessories take less time to sell and are profitable. I understand that selling a bike to a customer bags that customer for life but too much focus on bike sales makes us miss sales heavily.
Working for Evans can be infuriating at times as often processes can be illogical such as quickly moving stock between stores, difficult/lazy or unhelpful staff blocking work form getting done, especially the few in certain head office departments (not everyone, it seems an equal mix between poor and good staff there) and unreasonable over demanding, self entitled customers who have forgotten that real people work for this company and have been conditioned to consume and push employees for discounts by being rude for their personal gain.
There is SO much more i want to write here but I have given Evans Cycles and this review too much of my time already and cant be bothered to proof read this. If you plan on working here full time then make sure you are going into one of the 25k plus management rolls in head office as every job role less than that within the company that i have had contact with is not worth the stress.
Advice to Management
Mostly pointed out what could be done above but to summarise: FAQ and questions on website that you have to answer to get access to store phone numbers to eliminate the lazy people who don't want to google the answer they need, higher wages for lower end/ middle management staff (especially busy stores) who constantly go above and beyond only to miss ridiculous targets and miss out on bonuses, a better bonus structure that allows the individual to work hard and receive reward as well as the entire team.
I worked at Evans Cycles full-time (More than a year)
Some genuine people interested in serving customers the best way they can; some people really good in what they do; a fantastic HR team that really is focused on getting the employers feeling useful and meaningly. Good offer on products, good process in theory on how things roll. This company has its grounds set correctly. I think overall, and as a company, Evans is doing things right but...
... but it lets down by some other people. As any traditional retail company, people that work at HO think that the store employees are at the stores to do what they want/advice/plan for them. When it should be the other way around. The people at the stores at the face of the company to the costumer. The HO would never exist if it wasn't for the guys at the store. While the HP have a "relaxed" paced, the staff in the stores, are always on the pressure of making the numbers, Obviously you have targets to fulfill (just like any industry/company), but a little more acknowledge of the store staff work. Usually there's a lot of pressure on the communication via HO-store and the guys at HO feel "superior" when facing the store staff. This, sometimes, reduces the potential growth of the company's revenue. Sometimes, you get the feeling that the guys at H are just trying to do their jobs, just trying to "cover that behinds" (pardon my french). Guys in the stores are usually the less paid and the ones that produce revenue for the company.
Usually, a store environment is determined by its manager and management team. It is them who have to do the bridge between HO "demands" and get the most of the sales staff. Usually, this staff are young people, not to reliable and have a high turnover of sales staff. Again, this can be a lottery: you can have really good people (usually stay at the stores about 6 months to 1 years, until they find something better), or guys that just cover gaps (usually stay longer because they can't get better jobs than that and the managers see in them staff they can use). With the fast rotation of staff, it gives managers the work of getting more staff and usually the feedback from customers can range from excellent advise to stores understaffed and staff who don't care.
If you don't get in the grace of some key people, forget about being recognised and step up the ladder. Unfortunately, that's the truth. There is also no standards between the stores. As said above, it is about the management team, who creates the team spirit and, therefore, the shops ambience. Usually, you step up easily if you're on the South or North Region. On London region is harder to succeed.
One of the biggest cons is, again flat out across lots of industries and retail companies, the people that work in the HO never worked in the shops before. This is, again, a huge problem, as they don't recognise the colleagues issues.
Advice to Management
If, as they say, that are really focused on the customer service, than, pay more to the sales staff. They are doing your sales on the shop floors everyday. They are the company's face. The deal with the customers everyday. If you really want to succeed and have an outstanding customer service, it is just not giving them a Colleague Handbook, elect a Directeur Sportive to train them. It is about giving them the money for their knowledge. Get the guys at HO to work one month at a shop in Central London, to know the stores problems, issues and, when they return to the HO and perform their jobs, they can understand and address the stores issues.
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