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My-Villages expands partner program

Online marine industry community My-Villages announced additions to its lineup of Innovation Partners, expanding the company's program to help marine businesses transform how boating services are coordinated and to enhance customer engagement.

Joining The Hinckley Company, the first My-Villages Innovation Partners to come aboard last December are Marine Professionals Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Saunders Yachtworks of Gulf Shores, Ala., and Yacht Tech, based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The program brings together marine companies to innovate with My-Villages around using online and mobile technologies to improve the experience of boat ownership and customer service.

“Our growing list of Innovation Partner companies is evidence that the marine industry has a strong desire to enhance the way we engage our customers, using both Web and mobile technologies to connect, communicate and collaborate while simplifying boat operations and marine maintenance,” My-Villages founder and CEO Kevin Hutchinson said in a statement. “While other industries like retail, finance, and health care have gone before us, the boating industry can learn from them and deliver a more customer-intimate service experience.”

The program draws together forward-looking marine businesses that have agreed to use and/or market My-Villages’ premium service. The company’s premium service is a digital application — available for Web browsers, smartphones and iPads — that allows boat owners and marine professionals to communicate and collaborate online. Innovation partners work with My-Villages to enhance the product and make it available to their own customers.

The service app provides access to a boat’s equipment inventory, service history, relevant manuals, usage trends, trip logs and other information. It also supports automated service reminders, electronic service requests, real-time status reports on work in process and the ability to upload images and video.

“The technology revolution is beginning to do in the marine industry what it’s done in banking, health care and other sectors,” Marine Professionals president Marc Currei said in a statement. “We know it’s going to change the customer relationship experience for the better, and we’re committed to being at the forefront of that revolution. My-Villages is uniquely qualified to help us achieve that goal.”

The Innovation Partners program builds upon the My-Villages digital community, an online “boating village” that allows individuals and businesses to share expertise and advice free. More than 30 companies signed on as beta partners for the free service, including Hinckley, Kadey-Krogen Yachts, Dometic, Cummins and Westerbeke.

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