Executive Spotlight – Exceeding expectations

I think our biggest challenge in the marine industry in 2005 and beyond is meeting and/or exceeding customer expectations. Today's consumer has much higher expectations. This is true not only with our experienced boaters but especially to new and prospective boaters. They have come to expect, and in most cases demand, the same high level of customer service they get from other industries. Unfortunately, we fall short.
We've set our sights on our new customers here at Mount Dora Boating Center. We do all in our power to make sure their first adventure with their new boat is as enjoyable and hassle-free as humanly possible. We spend lots of time with the pre-delivery and delivery aspect of the sale.
Before we deliver a new boat to the owner we check them thoroughly. We assemble them, check out all the systems, test run them on the lake for at least an hour, leave them in the water over night checking for leaks, run them the following day, re-check all system operations, clean and detail them, then check all the system two hours before delivery. With this extensive delivery procedure we catch and correct lots of potential problems.
During the delivery of the boat, we do a walk-thru and walk-around the boat, motor and trailer with the owner. We explain operations of systems and answer questions. With new boaters we show them how to launch, operate and retrieve their boat. It takes a lot of time but it's well worth it. If their first experience is not a good one, you've got a problem. It goes back to the old adage about first impressions.
One would think with all this we'd be delivering problem free boating. We do in about 50 percent of sales. With others it's inevitable we'll see the boat for its first 20-hour service with two, three or four items not working. This is a lot better than the 10 to 12 item list we used to see before we started this program. It still shows we've got a ways to go.
Joe Lewis

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