There’s lots to celebrate related to industry momentum when it comes to interest, sales and participation in boating and fishing. But there’s also a dark side to this story: the customer experience.
As sales leads have increased in some cases by 300 and 400 percent, and sales continue to hit record levels, the normal metrics we chart our success by continue to climb. But the bar charts related to the customer experience are on the decline, almost at an inverse rate.
According to MRAA partner Customer Service Intelligence, Inc., which charts customer satisfaction indices on sales delivery and service for 30 to 50 marine dealers, CSI scores for this group has declined by more than 6 full percentage points since April. In the first month of the quarter, those dealers scored a 96.65 CSI score related to sales delivery; in the second month, it dropped to 94.39; and in June, the third month, it hit a low of 90.45.
Q2 CSI Ratings
Follow-up, worded on the surveys as "Has your salesperson contacted
you since delivery?" hurt CSI scores with a 77.2 percent rating in the quarter.
In a normal year, the peak season always sees a slight dip, according to Customer Service Intelligence, but that dip typically represents only a 0.5- or 1-point drop, not a 6-point drop. It’s worth noting here, as well, that any dealer who engages a company like Customer Service Intelligence and pays for additional CSI monitoring (above and beyond the manufacturer CSI program) is a dealership that you can expect to be focused intently on driving quality customer experiences. And if those dealers are close to dipping below the 90-percent CSI threshold, it’s scary to think what’s happening to those dealers that don’t put as much emphasis on CSI.
Those dealers’ net promoter scores, a measurement of loyalty with the dealership, dropped from scores in the mid 90s back in March to less than 75 in June. These are still solid NPS scores, but a 15-point decline is notable. Comparably, the 12-month Net Promoter Score in the second quarter of 2019 was 83.1 vs. 2020’s second quarter, which was 76.88, “a substantial decline,” according to Becky Thompson, president of Customer Service Intelligence, Inc. “Dealers need to focus on correcting customer issues to bring this NPS number up.
A quick look at individual questions on the CSI surveys shows the culprit leading to poor customer satisfaction: Follow up, or a lack thereof.
Questions like “were you satisfied with the explanation of features, etc.?” and “were you pleased with the overall condition of the boat?” and “did your sales person treat you with courtesy and concern?” all garnered great scores: 95.5, 91.5, and 99.3 respectively. But the question of “Has your sales person contacted you since delivery?” received a rating of 77.17, dragging the customer experience index down significantly.
“It's scary to think what dealers' ratings are when they don't have a follow-up program in place,” explains Thompson. “How many first-time buyers are never returning because of a mistake that was made just because the dealer is too busy to follow up and ask how things are going?”
There’s no doubt that with how busy dealers have been over the last quarter that mistakes are being made. CSI programs like this give you the ability to correct issues and save the customer. But they also require that you adjust your tactics in order to positively influence the results, and in this case, the numbers, as well as Thompson’s expertise, suggest a need to improve follow-up to create loyal customers.
“The customer can be saved when you are aware of the issues they are having and you take the opportunity to make it right by the customer,” Thompson explains. “And that in return brings you customer loyalty.”