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2013 Best Training Program: Colorado Boat Center

Best Training Program

Colorado Boat Center
Johnstown, Colo.

Being part of the Top 100 is about more than the bottom line. It takes not only financial success, but also a dedication to service, community involvement and the creation of a good place to work.

One of the most important factors in that facet of the business is the improvement and advancement opportunities dealerships provide their employees through a robust training program. In that regard, there are few companies that can compete with Colorado Boat Center.

“A business is only as good as the people who work it, making it a top priority that each staff member has the opportunity to refine their skills and can continue to grow themselves at a professional level,” said company vice president Nancy Smith. “Colorado Boat Center takes every measure possible to train employees on site, send them to schools, training seminars and various other activities that will expand their professional development.”

Colorado Boat Center invests thousands of dollars every year in training its employees on products, the latest service updates and more. The dealership pays all of the training fees, salaries and travel costs for employee training, a benefit that emphasizes the importance of the individual and their position, and the company’s desire to assist in their professional growth.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA well-educated employee leads to a better customer experience, Smith said.

“It is Colorado Boat Center’s ongoing goal to build awareness of the value of boating and thus increase potential revenue,” she said. “This can be achieved by continuing the dealership’s sound practice of training staff so they can in turn educate and service the consumer.”

Product training is important, but just as crucial are lessons on customer service and time management. Each employee also receives cross-training within the different departments of the dealership, allowing for flexibility and a stronger team by broadening their awareness of what takes place in other departments and how it all fits together. During the offseason, Colorado Boat Center offers a mentoring program so that employees can observe another department’s workday.

“A service tech is never going to need cross-training in the administration area, but spending a couple of hours to visually experience that department’s workday creates a better understanding and appreciation for areas that some employees never have any contact with,” Smith said.

Every department is required to attend educational seminars every year, both external and internal:

The sales staff is required to attend annual manufacturers’ sales seminars, webinars and training classes. Colorado Boat Center also provides in-house training in the areas of sales, presentation, customer service and behavior identification. A library of sales publications and motivational products is also available for their use.

“All associates research the competition, both manufacturers and dealerships, in order to learn about the competitor’s products and business, so they can present the features of our products and services that set the dealership apart from the competition,” Smith said.

The sales staff meets with manufacturer and product sales reps several times during the year to keep up-to-date with the products and programs.  It is mandatory that they participate in all available training.

Each service technician attends at least one manufacturer-sponsored training program annually. They are also required to attend regional and/or local training events, and factory service reps are asked to come into the dealership to spend time with the staff to update them on new products and techniques that will be useful.

The service department is also encouraged to utilize a full library of manuals, shop guides, videos and other reference materials to gain additional knowledge in their field. The rigging department is treated as an extension of the service department and receives a similar type of training.

Parts & Accessories
Much of the training for the parts and accessories department is in-house.

“Customer service training is paramount because, together with the service writer, they are the face of the service department,” Smith said.

Management receives in-house training that covers employee relations, customer service, policies and procedures. Management also attends the manufacturer training seminars and industry conferences, as well as specialty training for customer service and managing and motivating employees.


One comment

  1. Congratulations to Tom and Nancy as well as the staff. For many years, actually 15, I have seen Tom working to improve his business and learn what it takes to be not only in the top 100, but to be #1. He and Nancy have been a great customer and friends and I salute them as a great dealer espeically when it comes to training and selling boats.


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