At the helm: Better late than never

Over the years, Boating Industry’s editors have often marveled at how much we’ve learned from the Top 100 Dealers. The window they’ve allowed us into how they operate their dealerships has helped us become better in our business as well.

You’d think, then, after so many years of reading about leading retailers’ strategies to measure and improve their customer satisfaction, we would have launched our own customer satisfaction survey long ago.

Well, it took us six years, but finally, this December, we asked award winners from throughout the history of the Top 100 Dealers Program to evaluate how well we’ve served them and how we could serve them better.

We were thrilled with all the great suggestions for improvement. In fact, we’ve had trouble deciding which to pursue first. Here are a few of the initiatives on which we’re already hard at work:

One question we asked on the survey was what month would be most ideal for the Top 100 Application deadline. Of the 74 dealers who responded to this question, more requested a deadline earlier in the year than the same month as last year (July) or later in the year. Therefore, we decided to move the application deadline up one month to June 15. To help dealers meet this deadline, we unveiled the 2011 application at the end of January.

Another question we asked was how we could improve the application itself. Some dealers suggested we make the application process less time-consuming, while others requested that we add to the process in an effort to make the ranking as accurate as possible. Therefore, we’ve made a few changes. In updating the application for 2011, we removed questions that we felt were no longer essential but also added a few to allow us to make the best decisions possible going forward.

But we knew we needed to do more to make the application process simpler and less mysterious for participants. Therefore, we decided to pursue one dealer participant’s brilliant idea to hold a Top 100 Webinar. During this event, which will take place the first week in April, Boating Industry’s editors will debunk many myths about the Top 100 ranking process, and share insider secrets and best practices that will make the Top 100 Application process easier and more effective for participants.

Finally, many dealers suggested ways we could help them market their Top 100 status both within the industry and among consumers. Stay tuned for announcements regarding the tools we are developing to help you do exactly that.

When you boil it down, our business – like yours – exists to serve our customers. We delight in providing you with tools, information, best practices, tips, advice and solutions that allow you, our customer, to achieve better results in your business, whether that’s through our magazine, events, white papers, e-newsletters, website, the Top 100 Dealers Program, or any other medium.

And we appreciate any opportunity to better serve you.

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