What you can learn from: Delivering the dream

Ryan Brick has bought a few Lexus vehicles.

And some of his clients probably have too.

That’s why, when Village Marina (ranked 9 in Boating Industry’s Top 100) decided to overhaul its boat delivery process five years ago, the dealership president used that purchase experience as a template. Brick, who led the changes, also referred to his manufacturers’ surveys to ensure that his customers would be able to answer each question in a way that would reflect positively on his dealership.

With an increased industry focus on customer satisfaction, several of the Top 100 Dealers have adopted a boat delivery checklist, hired delivery captains and have begun offering free driving lessons, as has Village Marina.

What makes this dealership stand out are the details.

For example, its head delivery captain, a seasoned and certified technician, is the customer’s main contact for the first 30 days after the sale. If the boat buyer has a technical problem, they can call the delivery captain’s cell phone and he will arrive at their dock within an hour or two of the call. That means no waiting for the customer while the service department struggles to squeeze them in.

Then there is the Village Marina water in the boat’s refrigerator, the framed photo of their new purchase customers receive within 48 hours and the personal introduction to their assigned service advisor, with whom they’ll work once their first 30 days of boat ownership are over.

All of these little details are designed to make an impression, the kind a customer will want to share, says Brick. And they illustrate that sometimes the best way to make money is to spend it.

“We’ll spend any amount of money to take care of the client, if spending it will result in a positive story they’ll tell their friends,” he explains.

Those efforts have paid off. Since the new boat delivery process was put into place, Village Marina has doubled its sales, largely from referrals, and increased its margins. In addition, Cobalt has asked the dealership to present its process to the boat builder’s entire dealer network at its annual meeting.

“The whole process sets expectations and eliminates doubts,” he says. “Customers are never surprised, and if something doesn’t go right, they know who to contact.”

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