MRAA launches Virtual Business Development Center

In an environment where dealers are seeing unprecedented levels of activity and struggling to keep up, one area that can get missed is post-sale follow-up. To solve that issue and promote strong relationships with customers after the sale, MRAA announced its new Virtual Business Development Center (vBDC) for dealerships.

Business Development Centers, which have grown in popularity in the marine industry in recent years, provide a way for dealers to keep in better touch with customers.

“It’s a method of plugging a lot of profit leaks,” says Bob McCann, MRAA Lead Certification Consultant. “What I mean is, when phone calls come in, or web leads, and they aren’t responded to properly, it’s a missed opportunity. A BDC is designed to address that.”

However, the investment to set up and maintain a BDC prevents some dealerships from implementing the concept in their business. That’s why MRAA has partnered with Customer Service Intelligence, Inc. and is introducing a virtual option specifically created to address one of the most critical profit leaks — new boat buyers who leave the sport.

According to a study released by InfoLink in 2018, almost 40% of 2013’s first-time boat buyers sold and did not replace their boat within five years. That is scary in normal times, but recent data from CSI, Inc. shows that Customer Satisfaction Scores were down for the dealers they track in Q2 of this year, and the leading cause was follow-up, or a lack thereof.

MRAA’s vBDC will personally conduct post-sale follow-up via email, text or phone call (depending on the customer’s preference) to ask how the dealership did. In instances where a customer has a major issue, it will connect them directly with the dealership to get it resolved. For everyone, it will record areas where a customer was not completely satisfied and provide weekly, monthly and year-to-date reporting to help dealerships improve.

The service offers one branded email, two text conversations, one phone call, daily alerts, and weekly reports that cover every new boat customer submitted.

“If you can stay in touch with your customers yourself, great,” says McCann. “But for those who say ‘there just aren’t enough hours in the day” we put this program together with CSI to help you stay connected.”

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