Don't Make Me Feel Stupid
When a relatively new rider goes into the shop looking for product advice or service, "There is nothing that's more of a turn off than the staff treating you like you're an idiot." New riders are sponges for information and they want the staff to help them learn.
The astute sales or service person must be able to quickly distinguish whether the customer is a beginner or a highly experienced cyclist. The experienced riders want staff that can give them expert-level advice and don't make them feel like newbies. This includes giving solid tips to home mechanics. "If I know more than the staff, that's a bad sign."
Attention and Attitude
Most riders want at least some acknowledgement that they have entered the shop. At the same time, most don't want someone hovering over them or applying high pressure sales techniques.
No one likes sales or service people that exude an attitude of "I'm too busy or bored to deal with you." Friendly, smiling faces that are willing to help answer questions are key to a good shop.
Most riders know that there are advantages to a brick-and-mortar store. If shopping for a particular item, most are willing to pay a bit more if the item is available at the store as opposed to having to order it online. At the same time, they don't want to feel gouged on price.
When it comes to the big-ticket items, expect riders to shop around. Deep discounting is appealing, but not at the expense of a high-caliber staff. Riders will pay more to support a shop that has quality sales and service personnel.
Some riders choose a shop based on the brand(s) of bicycles they carry and the selection of supporting products. If riders continuously go into a shop that has minimal stock on the shelves it leaves an impression that the shop is barely scraping by. People are hesitant to purchase from someone that might be out of business tomorrow.
It is nice when a shop offers to order something for a customer, but realistically the customer can often go home and order the item without their help and have it sent right to their door.