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How Lynnhaven Marine Keeps the Conversation Going

Tuesday, July 26, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jay Corn
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Like most boat dealerships, Lynnhaven Marine in Virginia Beach wants each and every customer to have both a positive buying experience and return time and again for service, accessories and their next boat.

What makes Lynnhaven Marine a bit different, however, is the way owner Chuck Guthrie and his entire team goes about accomplishing this mission. 

“Every single customer who buys a boat from Lynnhaven Marine gets to meet Ryanne,” Chuck said. “She tells customers, ‘I hope I don’t bother you, but I’m going to call you every month just to see how things are going.’” 

Having a dedicated employee responsible for placing these monthly calls began about two years ago after Chuck noticed his sales team was spending too much time dealing with service issues, warranty concerns and other chores detracting from their primary job of selling boats. Chuck concedes the idea seemed a bit much to him at first, but it didn’t take long to see results. 

Chats with Ryanne began to trigger chain reactions that would ripple throughout the dealership, and evidence the friendly conversations were adding to Lynnhaven’s bottom line started to mount. 

“The customers were saying, ‘Thank you, I don’t have any warranty issues, but I’ve been thinking about upgrading my stereo system’ or ‘Can we talk about ethanol?’ It generates other service or boating questions,” Chuck said. “That happens quite often.” 

All dealerships participating in the Marine Industry Certified Dealership Program create their own versions of follow-up processes — typically centering on 30, 60 and 90 days after purchase and at the beginning and end of each boating season.  

For Chuck, completing the Certification process and subsequently re-Certifying highlighted two key pillars of success: the long-term impact of high CSI scores and the importance of keeping the sales team focused on selling boats.  

“I think the Certification process began driving our mind toward starting to think of how we could avoid dealing with the same problems over and over again, day after day,” he said. “We started to think there had to be another way to look at things.”

All customer follow-up calls follow a similar template, and answers to a standardized set of core questions have been documented and shared with Lynnhaven Marine’s various departments. 

“We have three service writers, but Ryanne is the primary boat sales customer contact,” Chuck said. “She first asks how they’re liking the boat, if there’s anything she can do to help and encourages them to fill out warranty information.” 

These topics are followed by requests to complete customer feedback surveys and explanations on why they are so important to the dealership. Ryanne emphasizes that she wants to hear if there is any reason why the customer can’t submit the highest score possible.

Calls are also customized depending on purchase. Yamaha Boats, for example, gives customers completing surveys a coupon for $25 off their next boat service, so Ryanne makes a point to remind customers of the incentive.

“We find something to talk with the customer about, even if they didn’t know they wanted to talk about it before we called,” Chuck said. “People love to talk about their boats, and we’ve found learning their first names, what they enjoy and how they use their boat has been beneficial and well worth the required time and effort.”