What is a Gearhead?
The word can mean a lot of different things, but here at Backcountry, a “Gearhead” is a customer service rep–but with a very big difference. We’re experts that go above and beyond to make outdoor experiences a part of every Backcountry customer’s life.
A Gearhead’s resume might include things like a Pacific Crest Trail through-hike, a year as an Outward Bound guide, a cross-country bike tour, or several years as a pro skier or snowboard instructor. As a result, we know exactly what you need to follow your own passions. We have a saying at Backcountry, “We use the gear we sell” – and it’s totally true.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to be taking on a summit expedition or be a pro-level athlete to benefit; in fact, we probably get more excited about someone taking on a new activity for the first time than anything else. In addition to know-how, we offer the kind of hands-on individual attention that creates new friends as well as customers for life.
We’re available around the clock via Live Chat, phone, or email.
You might wonder where the word Gearhead comes from. The first person hired specifically to work with customers, Bob Merrill (aka “Backcountry Bob”), was a professional ski guide as well as an expert in a variety of outdoors pursuits and the assorted gear they called for. He was, in his own words, a “Gearhead.” A term, and a concept, was born.
As Backcountry grew and hired more people, the Gearheads grew into a crew of dedicated customer service reps unlike any other—highly knowledgeable about the equipment and technical apparel Backcountry carried, and talking directly with customers to help them with their purchases. Gearheads were—and still are, 20 years later—former pro athletes, guides, gear junkies, 100-day skiers, and all-around experts drawn from all over the country by the incredible opportunities for outdoor recreation in Utah.
Like many Gearheads, Maia Menard originally came to Utah in pursuit of her outdoor dream,
in her case to help start a fly fishing company.
You can be sure that when we aren’t on the phone or chatting online with customers, we are out enjoying the state’s famous snow, winding trails, rocky crags, and more.
The most important thing about a Gearhead is passion—not just passion about gear,
but passion for the outdoors and the sports we enjoy.
Our enjoyment of the outdoors carries over into our connections with Backcountry customers. When you speak with a Gearhead, you may end up talking first about your goals and your skills before getting into the pros and cons of different products. Whether you’re looking for a new ski jacket to replace a trusty old favorite, creating gear lists for a dream trip to Denali, or embarking on a training program for a half-marathon, you’ll get more than just help with a purchase.
We’re natural teachers, and are eager to share our expertise.
A lot of times, we’ll work with customers over time to help them hone in on what they need to make their dream trip a reality. Jared Downs, for example, worked with a customer over several months to build his kit for hiking the Appalachian Trail, drawing heavily on his own extensive experience backpacking. You can read more about their collaboration here.
This level of attention and service gets noticed, too. Every day, notes from happy customers come in to the office:
“Just wanted to reach out and give some praise for Dan. I’ve worked with many of your chat support agents and have had great service from them but Dan went above and beyond. His product knowledge was incredible (he knew the typical length of the dogbones on BD quickdraws. I mean, come on.) [He's] a great employee and a pleasure to work with. Thanks!”
“I just wanted to comment on the excellent service I have received from my expert Gearhead Connor. I was a little skeptical at first with the whole Gearhead program, but after communicating back and forth with Connor for several months I have come to really appreciate this unique form of customer service. Connor is very knowledgeable about the activities that he represents and he always had great answers and suggestions to my questions. He always responded to my emails very promptly and had a positive attitude. I really appreciate all the time he put into helping me with my orders. Keep up the great service and programs guys.”
“I received such fantastic customer service from Karen that I just had to send a praise email. I was having an issue placing my order online, and she was so friendly, patient, helpful, and was also able to answer all of my questions. I always want to make sure to give praise when credit is due for such excellent service. It is the customer service that I received today, that will keep me purchasing from Backcountry … and of course, the awesome deals!”
We’re constantly updating our knowledge, thanks to frequent visits from
our vendors to demo new equipment and apparel.
And the relationship doesn’t end once the sale is made. We might check in asking about how the trip, or the expedition, or the race, went. One customer, in fact, recently got a knock on the door and the personal delivery of her new road bike by Gearhead Karissa Lamb. Karissa not only helped the customer get the proper fit on the bike, but she gave her a lesson on how to ride with clipless pedals, along with other tips and tricks to get more out of her new bike.
This may be an extreme example, but there are plenty of Gearheads building relationships that far exceed those of a service rep and a customer. Many customers are in regular communication with their Gearheads to share Strava ride data; they invite Gearheads over for dinner if they happen to be in the customers’ home towns for a race; they invite their Gearhead to go skiing or climbing with them when they’re visiting Utah, and more. We also sometimes invite customers along when we go on company trips, or demo new gear.
Gearhead Eli recently brought along customers Edward and Cesar to
a demo of Burton’s new binding technology.
So the next time you’re planning a camping trip, or it’s time to replace your trusty old duffel bag or your old mountain bike, or you’re on the hunt for some cool new clothes for an upcoming wedding, give us a shout! We’ll make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for.