Do your customers know who you are?

By Christopher Kourtakis, director of sales and marketing, 360° Industry Solutions — As I stood in a local dealership the other day, a customer who just purchased a boat from the dealership had a few questions and looked a little lost. So, I went up to the gentleman and asked him if I could point him in the right direction. As we started to talk, I realized that the only person in the dealership that he knew was his salesmen. 

This is not necessarily the salesperson’s fault, but the fault of the company’s culture. If the salesperson is not taught or trained to do a store walk through and introduce a customer to the various people in the company, then why would they do it?

Many do not realize that a simple walk through of the building and staff is the start of developing a lifelong relationship with a customer and insuring that they will return to your facility for all of their needs.

Think about it. “We all want to go where everyone knows our name,” or at least we want to go where we see familiar faces.  Nobody wants to feel lost, no matter where they are.

Now, imagine if the customer that I spoke with would have had a walk through. He would have walked right in and the facility would not have wasted his time. He would have gotten his questions answered quickly instead on not knowing where to go. 

Every person on the company’s staff is a salesperson. Every interaction potentially makes the customer feel more comfortable with the business. If the customer knows the sales manager, the service manager and even the gas dock attendant, then they can get what they need quickly, while developing lasting relationships with numerous people throughout the company. 

Don’t assume that things are being done within the business. Learn, listen and watch what is being done. If you don’t like what you see, act in a positive manner to correct it.  Positive corrections only lead to happy customers, and happy customers are repeat customers.


  1. Chris:

    Good points. I was part of the NMMA Dealer Certification Task Force Committee in 2005 and one of the topics that we addressed was “being able to tell the employees apart from the customers.” The marine business inheritantly is one of “causualness” on a lot of levels, but companies should set some dress code standards. Certainly walking a NEW customer through the business to show him the lay of the land (especially the service dept) is best, but minimally it is suggested that employees do wear something that is identifiable- be it a nametag or a company shirt. Your customers will unspokenly appreciate this and it will help to preserve your brand image in their minds.

  2. Jeff,

    Thanks for the comment. You are correct. Whether it is uniforms or a name badge, identification is needed throughout any business. Some businesses all have the same shirts, provide uniforms or vests (Walmart) for their employees to better service their customers.

    Identification is key to providing superior service to each customer that comes through the dealership’s door.

    the worst thing a dealership can do is be lax on what they allow their employees to wear, as ripped and greasy shirts do not set a good example for your facility. Just think, if this is how your employees look, how do your customers think you are going to treat their boats?

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