Top 100 Ideas: ‘White glove’ approach to delivery

By Liz Keener
November 19, 2013
Filed under Features, Top Stories

When customers purchase a yacht from Spring Brook Marina in Seneca, Ill., they’re treated to a delivery process like no other.

After being congratulated for their purchase by everyone in the dealership’s office, buyers are escorted to their boat by the delivery captain. There, the “white glove” approach begins. On their yacht, customers find a chef in uniform and white gloves, who serves them hors d'oeuvres, a catered lunch and a chilled bottle of wine.

The customer is then given two personalized wine glasses and a corkscrew, along with two Spring Brook Marina logoed polo shirts, two logoed hats and a Spring Brook flag. The whole process takes about 90 minutes, before the actual instruction begins.

The walkthrough then includes hands-on instruction and a complete review of the manuals, before a customer is given a card containing information and important phone numbers for the dealership. The process has been in place and only tweaked when better customer service ideas come to light. Dede Grabowski says the delivery process is an important aspect of the purchase, so Spring Brook Marina wants it to reflect positively on the dealership.

“Buying a yacht is a big purchase, a major event in your life, so we want to make it as special as possible,” she said.

Following the delivery of smaller yachts, customers are given a wooden plaque with a photo of their boat mounted with the dealership’s logo, the delivery date, and the year, make, model and name of the boat. For more expensive yachts, a canvas is made, featuring the boat and its name.

“It turns out really nice, and they really appreciate that. It’s something they can keep forever,” Grabowski said.

Those buyers are also allowed to use a slip at Spring Brook Marina for two weeks while they get accustomed to their boat, a value-add that’s especially important in the spring when other harbors aren’t yet open.

“They appreciate that we’re letting them do that, kind of like a no charge thing,” Grabowski said. “For them to be able to come down and use [their yacht] when they wouldn’t be able to otherwise, it’s very important.”

Customers who don’t feel fully accustomed to their boat following the initial delivery can call to schedule additional sessions if necessary.

The full delivery process has not only led to happy customers, but it has also been a key factor in Spring Brook Marina earning referrals.

“It’s something that they talk about with their friends, and it has drawn people to us, I believe. I think it’s gained us more customers,” Grabowski reported.

Though the “white glove” approach is reserved to new yacht buyers, those purchasing less expensive or used units are also treated to a hands-on demonstration and logoed polo shirts and hats, while those spending a bit more also receive a bottle of wine and a pair of wine glasses. It’s a delivery process that sticks out among others.

“If I was in their shoes and got this kind of service, I would really appreciate it, and it would make me feel special,” Grabowski said.


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