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Certified Dealers Share How They Care for Customers

Posted By Liz Keener, Thursday, August 6, 2020

Customer experience is one of the three pillars of the Marine Industry Certified Dealership program, and Certified Dealers work on improving their customer experience, not just in the initial Certification process, but in Continuous Certification as well. And what they’ve learned throughout their time in Certification are best practices that can be shared for all dealers.

In 2018 and 2019 dealers in Continuous Certification participated in courses with Theresa Syer, focused on the customer experience. In 2018, the course was “Improve Loyalty with a Customer Experience Mindset,” and in 2019, it was “Supercharge Your Customer Experience,” a course which was also delivered as a live, in-person workshop at Dealer Week in December. As part of the e-learning course, dealers discuss what they’ve learned about customer experience, or what they’re working on.

The following are some tips on the customer experience that those dealers shared with us. Certified Dealers, you’ll be getting a more comprehensive report from these discussions later this month.

  • “We host several customer events throughout the year. Some of our customers attend the events more so than actually walking into our dealership. At these events, we can have one-on-one time with each customer outside of the dealership generating great conversations about what they are doing in their personal lives — be it weddings, showers, graduations, anniversaries, etc.”
  • “The Florida Keys are a very dog-friendly place and our staff is extremely pet friendly as well. We have, on average, five furry ones running around at any time.With that said, we encourage paw-friendly customers to bring their loved ones in with them.We always have bowls of water around and treats. It always helps break the ice and bring smiles to all when you see those tails wagging. It gives many customers someone to play with when they are waiting to be helped.”
  • “Our dealership uses a couple different strategies to help personalize our customer's experience. We always try to get to know our customers on more than just a business level. We take the time to talk to them on a personal level and ask them questions about their family and hobbies.”
  • “If you can incorporate empathy and understand a customer’s emotional motive for wanting a product or service and feed that back to them, you build trust and connect with your customer in a way that makes it personal. When you really hear what a customer says, and attempt to understand them, you take the selling process and the customer service process to another level.”
  • “In the past, we used to give the customers gifts when they purchased a boat. The usual gift included a basket with champagne and a few hats. It was a nice gift basket, but recently we made a big change and stopped giving those type of gifts. They were just customer-service type gifts. We changed our philosophy to give the customers customized gifts with the purchase instead of something generic. We really try to find a unique, cool gift that will show the customer that we really thought about the gift and wanted to go above and beyond with the experience. Now we do everything from signed sports memorabilia from their favorite teams to humidors with their boat’s name engraved on them.”

“One of the ways we make sure the customer has a great experience is by making sure our staff is in the right frame of mind to start the day. The staff have developed a way of greeting each other which creates a positive energy to kick the day off. By greeting customers as they come into our showroom and service dock, this energy comes out in a positive manner. We consistently emphasize treating the customer as we would like to be treated when arriving at a store. Our staff really builds up a positive attitude and are willing to help each other to give a great experience to customers.”  

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