Pilot program launched for dealer certification

CHICAGO – A Dealer Certification pilot program was launched last week in Chicago with a gathering of 33 representatives from 21 dealerships across the country who met to review draft Marine Industry Dealer Certification materials, the National Marine Manufacturers Association reported in a press release.

Those materials have been developed for the expected complete rollout of the program in the fourth quarter of 2005.

The program is comprised of a set of process tools and standards (developed by Five Star Solutions) that address the quality of participating dealers’ sales, service, operations, facilities, financials and marketing, and a “Consumer Bill of Rights,” which highlights the value of doing business with an industry certified dealer. Marine dealers can use the “Bill of Rights” as a marketing tool to differentiate themselves as a participant in an industry certification program.

Now that the pilot program has been unveiled, the meeting participant feedback received on the program will be incorporated to ensure that program materials are appropriate and can be supported by the retail dealer community upon introduction. The program process will receive additional validation through a series of dealer visits to “field test” the tools and materials.

Five Star Solutions in conjunction with the Grow Boating Dealer Standards & Quality task force will use the feedback to finalize the Dealer Certification Program.

Part of the industry’s Grow Boating campaign, dealer certification is being developed to provide a matrix of best practices to help improve interaction between marine products retailers and the consumer and, ultimately, the customer experience with boating.

“Using the excellent dealer feedback, we will create a program that will provide a great benefit to the industry and consumers, and that will go a long way in helping us reach our goal of increasing boating participation across the country,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said.

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