A Boat Dealer That Calls You Family

How to find a dealer that treats you like family and not just a numbered customer.
Boat heading out to sea
Look for boat dealers that participate in the Marine Industry Certified Dealership Program (MICD) and have made the commitment to even higher principles of education, training and professionalism. Unsplash

You’ve made the decision to buy a boat, and have several dealerships from which you can choose to do business. The question is: How do you find a dealer that treats you like a close family member and not just a numbered customer?

You know your needs, and you just want a fair shake when it comes to finding the best fit for you. This includes the dealership you select, along with its entire sales, service and operations that influence such a big decision for your family. Many dealers take their own necessary steps to ensure customer satisfaction, but it’s the dealership that participates in the Marine Industry Certified Dealership Program (MICD) and has made the commitment to even higher principles of education, training and professionalism that you should seek. Although the list of MICD Program requirements is long, when a dealer earns a Five-Star Certification, it’s a transcending accomplishment that transfers on to the customer. Here are 11 essential traits of a Certified Dealer.

5 Sales Traits of a Certified Dealership

  1. Friendly and knowledgeable sales consultants—nobody should out-know the experts. A dealership’s sales team should eat, sleep and breathe boats. Smiles and positivity are mandatory too. They need at least one go-to authority for the boat type you’re inquiring about. This also relates to how they explain boat and product operation.
  2. Just the truth, please. This basically means customers should get the deal they are expecting based on the advertising and representations from the dealership. Transparency and honesty should ooze out from the sales team.
  3. When it comes to the product(s) being prepped and delivered, it should be a flawless experience. This means that from the showroom to the key exchange, a customer should always know their boat will be delivered to their expectations.
  4. Warranties and maintenance are fully explained. Warranty management goes far beyond only paperwork; it’s a chance to build better rapport, and provide answers and vital information. Boat owners need to be made aware of all maintenance schedules and requirements to enrich the boating experience.

3 Service Traits of a Certified Dealership

  1. Customers want a fair estimate on both the cost of the repair and the timeframe to complete it. It’s essential all work is done correctly and on time. Should any delay arise, an open line of communication is a must.
  2. Invoice walk-arounds are much like boat walk-arounds. Customers should walk away with a good idea of what was done, along with all fees and taxes, and any other miscellaneous charges. An itemized, detailed list of charges—and those that have earned customer approval—is soothing to the soul.
  3. A thorough showcasing of the damaged and/or new components at the time the final invoice is presented is a welcomed service trait. Having a dealership give you this in-person, pre- and post-repair inspection means it cares about your ownership satisfaction.

3 Operational Traits of a Certified Dealership

  1. All customers should receive equal, fair, open and honest treatment. This is a top rule in life and in customer-relationship building. You want genuine care and a customer-first culture.
  2. When it comes to building trust and being a watchdog on the customer’s behalf, you want a Certified Dealership because its staff is taught to ensure that the customer’s confidential information remains that way at all times.
  3. The staff is available to answer your questions and requests, and does a post-purchase follow-up. This simply means they should be providing many points of contact and methods to keep you satisfied and feeling connected. This can be sharing their direct line or phone, along with website, email and texting channels. Dealers that are active participants on social media and customer-service apps can also improve your buying and ownership experience because it’s another line of communication.

You want the best boating experience possible for your family, both financially speaking and for recreational adventures. When you buy from a Certified Dealership, you join an extended family of dedicated boaters that is also devoted to the entire marine industry and its success—one that now includes you. Welcome aboard!