Make your team accessible
Although it’s part of the daily routine for service departments everywhere, when John Doe’s boat has a minor breakdown at 10 p.m. on a Friday, it’s a big deal for him. If he can’t connect with his boat dealer, he’s out of luck for the rest of the weekend, even if it’s a simple fix he could have made himself with a little guidance from an expert.
Making your team accessible starts with the phone. During business hours, the service department phone must always be answered promptly. While this sounds like a given, it’s often not a reality. The next step is to give out your technician’s phone numbers — or the numbers for company-issued phones the techs carry — to service customers so they can connect with someone when the shop isn’t open.
With the right structure, offering customers 24/7 access to service help isn’t as painful as it might seem.
At Clark Marine (Ranked 66), all techs are on call at all hours for answering customer concerns. The Manchester, Maine-based company includes the emergency numbers with its Very Important Customer Gold Card for new boat buyers. If techs answer and heed a customer’s call for help outside of normal hours, the company makes it worth their while. In addition to being paid for any billed hours they accrue during the incident, the techs are paid regular overtime and they get a $100 bonus just for answering the call. Having that 24-hour availability has gone a long way toward ensuring customer loyalty, said Rob Brown, owner.
“This is proving to be an exceptional value to our customers,” Brown said. “They are boating with more confidence knowing that if a problem arises, we are on call.”