Skip to main content

Extra efforts can mean customer retention

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

It’s often said these days that customer loyalty is long gone amid big box stores, online buying and impersonal sales clerks. But is it? Not necessarily.

I was going fishing last week so I called ahead to the Harborage Hi & Dry in St. Petersburg to have my boat launched. It was floating dockside when I arrived and it looking particularly clean. As I was loading gear one of the employees came over and said: “I just wanted you to know your boat seemed a little dusty this morning so I gave it a quick wash down for you.” To say I was impressed and pleased is an understatement.

It reminded me of something I’d heard long ago. Namely, the more a company’s employees go that extra mile to serve its customers, the more satisfied those customers will be. Moreover, satisfied customers become loyal customers and, in these tough times for our industry, customer retention should be among every dealer’s highest priorities.

Here are two critical points in this example. First, finding ways to go beyond a customer’s expectations must be part of the dealership’s culture. For example, every employee should be required to examine his job to determine how he can provide more value to customers in his department. A great team-building exercise might be to ask each employee to write down how he adds value (go the extra mile) for his customers and share them in a team meeting. Employees need to know how critical customer retention is to the dealership’s continued success.

Second, and very important, make sure the customers know what employees have done for them. Sure, I observed my boat looked clean. But until the employee let me know he’d washed it down, I admit I just assumed that’s the way I left it. Developing ways to let customers know what’s been done for them is central. It can be as easy as a card left on the boat on which an employee writes: “Washed off your boat for you. Have a great day!” Or, itemize on a customer’s invoice any extra free service you’ve given.

For internal purposes, ask employees to carry a pocket-sized note pad and jot down anything they did that they believe can help retain a customer. Then, from time-to-time, these notes can be shared at a meeting and recognized by all employees.

Just doing what’s expected is not enough to build customer loyalty these days. The extra efforts of all employees, however, can be the measure of success in your quest to retain customers.

Related

VOLVO-EARNINGS

Volvo Penta Reports Q4, FY22 Results

Net sales of $470 million for the quarter were a 33% increase compared to the prior year period.

Pulse-Report

DEALERS: Are You Improving the Service Experience?

Our monthly Pulse Report survey asks this and other questions about your dealership. Take the survey here.

NMRA-SCHOLARSHIP

NMRA Sets Scholarship Deadline

Students pursuing education in the marine trades can apply for the National Marine Representatives Association awards until April 1.

MARINE-PRODUCTS

Marine Products Reports Record Q4

The builder of Chaparral and Robalo boats reported net sales were up 42% for the quarter and 28% for fiscal year 2022.

1_SHURHOLD

Shurhold Appoints COO

Forrest Ferrari has years of management, business development, IT and quality-assurance experience.

MOBILE-CATCH-CENTER

RBFF, Pure Fishing Partner for a First Catch Center

Pure Fishing will equip a mobile trailer with tackle and gear to bring fishing experiences to areas of South Carolina where participation is low.

Norm

An Oft-Overlooked Sales Opportunity

A recent report from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation showed that women comprise 37% of all anglers. If you haven’t tapped this segment, you’re missing out.

1. 2023 new boat retail outlook

Too Many High-Priced Boats

To wrap up 2022, marine retailers reported lower demand, expressed more negative sentiment and voiced concerns about rising inventory. Boat prices and the economy remained top of mind for dealers in December.

Soundings Nov 2022

New-Boat Registrations Continue to Slide

As the gaudy sales figures from the pandemic continue to return to more realistic numbers, the main segments of the recreational boating industry saw new-model registrations of 4,421 in November, a 30.3% drop from 6,340 during the same time in 2021. .