Sadly, weíre still a no-growth industry this year. It means any increase a dealer hopes to capture this spring can only come from increasing market share by stealing customers from competitors. So, target competitors that exhibit these signs theyíre failing to serve their customers (and, while youíre at it, make sure youíre not a possible target!)
10)†Responding slowly to customer inquiries. Slow response simply gives the customer or prospect a negative impression and time to go somewhere else. Any inquiry, especially from an existing customer, should be answered the same day.
9)†Making excuses and trying to cover up mistakes. Things happen, so acknowledge them quickly, before the customer can find out on his own from other sources.
8)†Failing to offer the customer something extra to make up for a mistake. Let the customer know you care. Explain what happened and how itís being corrected.
7)†Making the customer the enemy! Policies designed to protect the dealership from the customers make it obvious the best interests of the customers are not the priority.
6)†Failing to provide training in customer service for the staff. Just bringing in a speaker or sending a couple of employees to a customer service seminar once every†five years wonít get the job done. Because the boat business is very competitive, employees must recognize the dealership can no longer afford to anger even one customer. Regular training is critical.
5)†Not empowering employees to solve problems on the spot. They must be able to take care of a customer immediately. They must be confident they can even bend the rules, if necessary, to keep a customer satisfied.
4)†Having a phone system that sends customers into some communications black hole. Surveys reveal customers rapidly become angered by phone systems that make it hard to reach a ďliveĒ voice. Personal service, even on the phone, is still critical to keeping a customer from disappearing.
3)†Failing to be completely truthful. If a customer ever believes heís been lied to, heís gone. A dealerís reputation is always at stake when dealing with a customer and his problems.†
2)†Not following through with promised actions. Customers feel they have a right to expect dealers to deliver on a promised service. Failing to do so is among the most common reasons cited by customers for going elsewhere.
1)†Displaying an indifferent attitude. Itís the number one business killer! Like, employees who sigh heavily when customers ask for a service; or act clueless about how to help them; or just ignore them! Any of these will lose a customer faster than the dot-com crash.
Today, no dealer can afford to lose a single customer because the staff has failed to recognize theyíre in the customer satisfaction business. Itís time to make sure they know.