2014 Best in Class: Best Customer Service Program

2014 Best Customer Service Program:

George’s Marine & Sports

Ottawa

 

George’s Marine & Sports has always been keenly aware of how to best serve its customers. This year the dealership’s recent implementations have led to an impressive increase in overall CSI scores.

George’s key addition of its Relationship Management Centre has helped improve scores, which is the department’s fundamental objective. The team is dedicated to customer care, follow-up with service department customers, communicating any occurrences that could lower the dealership’s CSI score, and acting as the entry point for all leads.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Having a relationship with all customers is crucial to our longevity plus they are more willing to share when we keep the dialogue open,” said Jeff Wilcox, president of George’s Marine & Sports. “This department means we respond quicker to any electronic lead than most other dealers.”

The RMC department is the dealership’s central hub for tracking and lead generation – specifically Internet leads. The RMC team is notified immediately and is specifically trained to understand how to turn all types of leads into an appointment.

“The ability to manage leads through a centralized system gives us control over a process that was extremely difficult to monitor in the past,” said Wilcox. “Managing the lead from the time it comes into our RMC department until the customer takes delivery of their new product is a huge advantage over our competition and ensures that no one falls through the cracks.”

While the RMC is dedicated to customer care, George’s emphasizes with all employees the importance of focusing on customer service at all times.

“Every time a customer emails, speaks on the telephone or in person to one of our associates, the outcome must be positive.  Even if the customer has a problem, we want them to know they have been listened to and we are doing everything possible to resolve their issues,” said Wilcox. “If we can’t solve a problem immediately then we keep the customer in the loop though the entire process until they are happy with the result.”

George’s warranty administrator has also been instrumental in improved CSI scores. This employee speaks to customers directly regarding their warranty claims and acts as their liaison and direct contact with the manufacturer. This has led to more organized warranty claims and improved efficiency, as well as happy customers.

Employees can credit customers up to $500 on a case-by-case basis, without management approval, and provides a written account of why the credit was necessary to solve the customer’s concerns and how the customer felt about the overall outcome of the incident. This has decreased the amount of time it takes to resolve customer issues.

“The more we empower our staff the more responsibility they take for their actions,” said Wilcox.

Last year, a George’s technician suggested using reusable numbers that would mount to the bow to identify a boat, as opposed to using the plate numbers, which would allow technicians to find the unit without leaving the tractor cab. This saved 2 to 3 minutes per repair order, which is significant when considering the 4,500 ROs yearly in each location.

“Having engaged staff is half the battle in doing things better. I like it when our employees are engaged and find solutions to the own work environment. Everyone has great ideas,” said Wilcox.

This year the dealership focused on engaging two specific types of customers: the French-speaking and the disabled. George’s started with a goal of having one bilingual staff member in Ottawa, which it exceeded by hiring one bilingual staff member in Ottawa, two in Eganville and one in Kingston.

“With being so close to Quebec, having these staff members on board will be a huge benefit when communicating in person, by phone or by email with customers,” said Wilcox.

George’s added accessibility training for its employees and owner Joan Marie Wilcox has undergone extensive training herself to cross-train staff on how to help and support those with disabilities in a meaningful and non-demeaning manner. The dealership has also installed ramps and other infrastructure to create easy access for the disabled.

The dealership has an overall sense of awareness for its customer base. George’s looks at the specific demographics and psychographics of the regions it serves. For instance, its Eganville location is a more country-like atmosphere and calls for a more casual environment where customers want to know who they’re buying from and how George’s is involved in the community. George’s stays on top of this through Statistics Canada’s website to view the trends in income, age and education of its markets.

 

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