By Jeff Scherer, Associate Partner, Callbutton LLC — Everybody likes white teeth, right? I have yet to meet a person, however, who enjoys going to the dentist. Boaters like to be out on the water enjoying their time with friends, family, and fish, but similarly, I have yet to meet the person that enjoys bringing his boat in for service.
In light of the fact that the components used to build a boat are thrown into almost the harshest environment that could ever be concocted, some stuff may not last as long as if it were being used in your living room. Seasoned boaters know this and understand that their pride and joy is going to need some maintenance and attention that only their dealer can provide. I often wonder about the experience that the NEW boater has the first time he needs to bring in his shiny new baby for some TLC. This is really a crucial point in the dealer-customer relationship and can positively or negatively impact the lifetime value of this customer.
This time of year can be challenging for the back end of the dealership, to say the least. Everybody wants theirs serviced first, and wants it back yesterday. While that may not be possible for every customer, it may be a good idea to try to go the extra mile with this first-time buyer by giving him or her some extra attention. After all, in all the excitement to get ‘er out on the lake, this new boater may not have remembered that in the delivery walk-through you said to turn off the battery switch in order not to drain the battery. Sometimes simple stuff, but either way an excellent opportunity to (re)educate the customer AND show that the back end of the house values him or her just as much as the salesman who made the sale.
We all know that in Nirvana we will always have the needed part on the shelf, techs will be busy every minute, and that a new service customer will pull up just as we are backing out the just-completed repair, right? Until we all get there, it’s ALL about the experience — THEIRS. Sure, it’s not your fault that his battery died or that he ran over a nail, but it IS your problem and should be handled as such.
Take a few extra minutes with that first-time buyer when he calls, even though your phone is ringing off the hook. Explain the service that was done. Planting the right seed at a critical time should produce fruit for years to come.