2013 Editors’ Choice: George’s Marine & Sports

Jonathan Sweet, Editor in Chief
December 1, 2013
Filed under Features

Editors’ Choice

George’s Marine & Sports
Ottawa

With two of its boat lines announcing significant changes in 2012, it was sure to be a year of transition for George’s Marine & Sports.

Despite that, the Ottawa boat dealer made sure it stayed focused on the service and innovation that has made it successful.

First came the news that BRP was dropping its Sea-Doo sport boats – a top seller at George’s Marine & Sports.

“Having this volume producing product line removed from our lineup of boats was not an easy pill to swallow,” said company president Jeff Wilcox. “We knew we must replace these sales with some other product or increase the sales within the product lines we are already stocking.”

The George’s team decided to take a two-pronged approach to replacing the Sea-Doo sales: adding Centurion Tow Boats and devoting more attention to its existing Regal line.

“We believe both the Regal and Centurion models we have stocked will have no problem in replacing and exceeding the Sea-Doo sport boat volume we’d be missing,” Wilcox said.

Shortly after the BRP news came Bayliner’s announcement that the company was going to stop producing cruisers in North America. This time, the dealership took the opportunity to focus more attention on its Regal cruisers rather than add any additional options.

“It would be much easier and more profitable to have only one single cruiser line than trying to focus on multiple lines in a shrinking big boat market,” Wilcox said. “We knew Regal was an already proven success in the area and our plans were already in place to increase sales due to the elimination of Sea-Doo sport boats.  Another advantage of not adding an additional manufacturer meant we could reduce the product and interest expenses that can result in quite a bit of money when talking about large boats.”

Those choices shouldn’t be surprising, as a theme that runs through George’s Marine & Sports is a clear dedication to quality. Few companies can match the dealership’s passion for creating a positive customer experience.

“This is the area that keeps our customers coming back, and the quality of service must never be sacrificed whether through training or simply just caring,” Wilcox said.  “We realize our customers have the power of choice and we do not want to give them a reason to even consider another choice.”

With a specialized department now dedicated to customer service, along with a warranty administrator, George’s has been steadily improving CSI scores.
Even with dedicated customer service employees, every team member is empowered (and trained) to handle customer complaints themselves. The staff is allowed to credit up to $500 without management approval.

“We expect our staff to respond to complaints immediately upon knowing they exist and if possible resolve them immediately or a minimum of 24 hours,” Wilcox said. “If the issue cannot be resolved in 24 hours then the employee is required to update the customer on a daily basis (or more if required) along with their manager. The more we empower our staff the more responsibility they take for their actions.”

Employee training is a key part of creating a culture where employees feel confident in solving problems themselves. That’s another important area of emphasis for George’s Marine & Sports, as the company spends thousands of dollars a year training its employees.

“When we invest in staff training, we want the best and we also don’t want it to be forgotten a few weeks after the training has been completed,” Wilcox said. “Training is about changing the status quo and improving on what we do to make it better, save time and save money.”

 

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