For dealerships that have more sales leads and customers than staff to handle them, the risk looms large not only of losing sales, but also turning newcomers to the sport.
It’s a major problem when dealers fail to follow up with new customers, said Matt Gruhn, president of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas. The MRAA is doing its part with “Operation: Keep Your Customers Boating,” a trove of resources to help dealers keep the customer experience at the top of the to-do list.
MRAA also launched a Virtual Business Development Center to assist dealerships with the post-sale follow-up process and an overall approach to staying in touch with customers.
“It’s a method of plugging a lot of profit leaks,” said MRAA lead certification consultant Bob McCann in a statement. “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.”
MRAA partnered with Customer Service Intelligence Inc. to address a concern it has seen in the second fiscal quarter, as boat sales skyrocketed: Customer satisfaction scores declined by more than 6 percentage points between April and June, according to CSI.
CSI data show the main culprit was following up with new customers. Combined with data that shows 40 percent of first-time buyers are leaving boating within their first five years of ownership, and dealers may not have a second chance to mend customer relationships.
Depending on customer preference, MRAA’s Virtual Business Development Center will follow up post-sale via text, email or phone call. If issues arise, clients will be put in direct contact with dealer reps to determine a resolution.
When a customer is not completely satisfied a weekly, monthly and year-to-date reporting database will be available to dealers as a learning tool.
For details, pricing and more, a webinar can be found here.
“If you can stay in touch with your customers yourself, great,” McCann said. “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.”