How does a company like MarineMax engage customers for the long term? Our boats.com team stopped in at stores across the country to learn what taking the long view means in practice. In the final video of our series, we explore how the company addresses what is often the missing link for new boat owners—developing their engagement in and love for the boating lifestyle.
“One of the things that Bill McGill, our CEO, has said forever is ‘Show them how to have fun,’” says Chuck Cashman, chief revenue officer.
That’s why every store runs a series of events called Getaways, which can last from an afternoon to a week or more of cruising. The Pompano store has an epic one called the Lobster Bash, on Bimini, Bahamas, which recently had 75 boats attend.
Cruising in company, customers enjoy fun, safe chances to go farther and learn along the way, not only from MarineMax staff. Captain Chris Finck, of Pompano, FL, says, “One of the nice things is watching how the customers who have a little more experience under their boat like to help the newer customers.
Anthony Armao, Pompano’s boating gear center manager, adds: “Getaways are great because you’re out on the water with people who are learning at the same time. And you're also with people who are experienced so one boater might help someone else and vice versa.”
Getaways are not MarineMax’s only events. Stores also offers customers continuous training with regularly scheduled events such as Women on Water, navigation, and electronics classes.
Every staff member is aware that MarineMax surveys their customers to regularly measure satisfaction levels and is determined to provide service levels that will prompt customers to recommend MarineMax to their friends.
Mike Nolan, Clearwater service manager, says, “Our No. 1 priority is to keep the customers happy. That means we need to help them learn what they have as well as service their product so it will last for years to come.”
Jay Carroll, Pompano service manager says: “We have a good team. Sometimes we have to work until 10 o'clock at night or I have to send guys over to the Bahamas, but we all get it done and make sure the customer stays happy.”
Reflecting on the larger picture, Chuck Cashman, chief revenue officer, points out: “At MarineMax, you're a buyer for just a second. Once you own that boat, you're part of our family.”
How do you measure that? Maybe you just have to listen; here’s what a couple of examples sound like to us:
Diana De Carvalho, Getaways & events coordinator in Clearwater: “If you're here after the second or third time we all know you by name, It's just a very warm feeling when you walk through the door.
Darren Phillips, sales consultant in Pompano: “I take it as a partnership. I tell everybody I am here and I'll walk beside you, in front of you, or behind you, but I'm always going to be there.
At boats.com, we knew boat sales and the chance to find a boat at MarineMax was something the company had under control. What we learned were the other key themes that the MarineMax team consider of the utmost importance, including keeping buying and ownership simple, making the experience all-inclusive, developing lasting personal relationships, and creating a lasting affection for the boating lifestyle.
Editor's Note: This video is the concluding video in a series that began with It's Not About Buying the Boat, continued with Inside MarineMax, Part 2 - A Simpler Process is the Priority and then Inside MarineMax, Part 3 - An All-Inclusive Approach. Promotional consideration for this article was provided by MarineMax.