Professionalism pays off

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Subpar service and a lack of professionalism have plagued the marine industry for years. Now, more than ever, folks on the service side of the business need to make improvements. The old ways — if they left the consumer frustrated or confused — have to change. These days, who can afford to lose even one customer?

For boaters, high repair bills can be a whole lot easier to swallow if the personnel at their service yard are professional, polite and patient. This summer I took my 1998 Neptune walkaround with a 2002 150-hp Mercury OptiMax to MarineMax in Sarasota, Fla. The engine had been overheating and then refused to start.

I tried to troubleshoot the problem, but after many hours of toiling away, I decided to take it to a certified Mercury dealer. MarineMax’s Mike Barron was my service advisor.

Barron, who was a marine technician for 12 years before coming to MarineMax, did an exemplary job of staying in touch with me as technicians went through the troubleshooting process. And he was willing to jump on the phone a few times with the technician who had worked on the engine when I lived in Connecticut. MarineMax welcomed his input and found it helpful.

The total bill was substantial, but I knew the job had been done right. And dealing with MarineMax was painless. Mike Barron was professional, polite and patient — the three “Ps” of quality service. When it was time to write the check, I felt like I had spent my money wisely.

Too often, unfortunately, service calls don’t end with satisfied customers. And those experiences can make people think twice about owning a boat. The industry must do a better job of catering to the customer, especially at a time when more people are upgrading their boats rather than replacing them.

— Chris Landry
Trade Only senior reporter

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