Ultimately, what drives the owner of Hampton Watercraft & Marine (Ranked 13 in 2006) is not a desire to prove he can hang with the industry’s giants. It comes back to his customers. Tony Villareale lives in a small town – the same one he grew up in and where his business is now based.
“I can’t go out to dinner at night and look across the room at an unhappy customer,” he says. “I make everyone happy somehow.”
Behind that casual “somehow” is actually a well-thought-out customer satisfaction policy, overseen by a CSI manager – a position rare in the industry at large and unheard of in a dealership of his size. His pledge to offer 100-percent customer satisfaction, no excuses, carries across his dealership to every employee – each of which has a “100 percent” sign hanging in their office, tool box or locker.
This dedication is the result of lessons learned, says Villareale. While he once would question an inexperienced customer about a new boat problem, he often pays to fix those problems today, no questions asked.
“With CSI, you have to look through the small dollars to see the big dollars,” he says. “A confrontation with the customer ruins his day and ruins your day. Then you spend half the day talking to the manufacturer because the customer called and said you didn’t treat him right.”