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Marine Industry Certified Dealerships Boast Industry's Highest CSI Scores

Thursday, October 23, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lindsey Johnson
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According to the most recent data collected from the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s Customer Satisfaction Index Program, Marine Industry Certified Dealerships received higher CSI scores than non-Certified dealers across the board.

Certified Dealers outperformed their non-Certified counterparts in all areas deemed most impactful to customer satisfaction: Overall rating of the boat, engine and dealer; sales reputation; follow up; product knowledge; boat delivery condition; and boat demo. In most cases, MICD Program participants’ CSI scores were rated at least a full percentage point or more higher than non-Certified dealers, which frequently represents the difference between a manufacturer earning an NMMA CSI Award for a particular year or not.

Based on the NMMA CSI Program data, "The gap between satisfied and non-satisfied dealerships is so great, that it’s almost impossible for a ‘bad’ dealer to recover from a situation in which a customer was dissatisfied,” explains Steve Pizzolato, founder and CEO of AVALA Marketing Group in St. Louis, Mo., which collects and evaluates data for the NMMA CSI Program. "These dealers often lose a customer and repeat sale, and more often than not those customers seek out another dealer that carries different boat brands.”

The NMMA CSI Program is an ongoing measurement of customer satisfaction that’s tracked from the initial boat purchase through the first 300 days of ownership. Approximately 50 marine manufacturers participate. The analysis for this presentation of dealership CSI results was based on comparing current rolling, 12-month data to previous years’ data.

"It’s clear that based on results from the NMMA CSI data collected this year, Certified Dealers are better at satisfying customers than non-Certified dealers,” says Sonja Moseley, MICD Program director. "Maintaining high CSI scores is important on so many levels; it’s the heart of the entire program. These findings serve to underscore the fact that participation in the MICD Program is beneficial to a dealers’ business — both in terms of keeping customers happy and generating repeat business and increasing sales.”

The foundation on which the MICD Program is built is intended to boost a dealers’ customer satisfaction. The program’s number-one goal is to keep customers happy with their experience at the retail level so dealerships perform better in the marketplace. A core tenet of Certification is to help dealers benchmark how well they’re taking care of their customers and know what type of experience customers report having at the dealership. The MICD Program focuses squarely on all of the most important indicators that impact a customers’ experience at the dealership, and these are the same areas that, according to the NMMA CSI Program results, ultimately impact customer satisfaction.

Even in the first step of the program, Certified Dealers maintain and track sales and service processes to ensure customers are reporting positive interactions at the dealership; and in areas where customers indicate they are less satisfied, the MICD Program has processes in place to help dealers easily and quickly address these areas of concern to ultimately improve satisfaction and increase sales.

The NMMA CSI Program data sheds light on the fact that satisfied customers make up the overwhelming majority of a Certified Dealer’s customer base, and focusing dealership efforts on continuing to keep these satisfied customers happy is, in the long run, the key to profitability.

"We’ve been tracking this data for 12 years, and one of the biggest and most significant take-aways from the data is that manufacturers and dealers get fixated on the dissatisfied metric, when the metric to really focus on is how to make the vast majority of satisfied customers brand and dealer advocates that will drive repeat purchases and referrals from the various manufacturers’ products that these dealers carry,” Pizzolato says.

For more information about the MICD Program or to enroll, contact Sonja Moseley at (763) 333-2424 or

About the Marine Industry Certified Dealership Program
Managed by the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA), the Marine Industry Certified Dealership Program (MICD) is dedicated to improving the customer experience at the retail level. The first step in the Certification process focuses on establishing a high level of customer satisfaction through communication, appearance and quality. The second tier of Certification continues to enhance the customer experience by implementing processes for overall dealership functionality. At the program’s Five Star level, established organizational procedures are implemented to ensure smooth operations and happy customers. To learn more about the MICD Program, visit


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