Boating Industry

February 2014

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{ SERVICE } MARKET FOCUS SECTION "When you tell them it's going to cost $300 to fix this, they are going to go through some form of grief process for having to part with the money …" — Terence Fogarty systems so that you don't need exceptional people to produce consistently good results." Soon after, Fogarty sent his service writer to shadow the process at Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Cadillac dealerships. Shadowing luxury auto stores highlighted the benefits to a service system based on a higher hourly (or flat) rate, putting customers in the driver's seat and getting customer approvals up front. The goal, he said, was to get away from his low-rate setup where techs would spend time on a project and report back to customers that, in some cases, decided against doing a project or would argue the bill at its completion. That created money-losing situations where the dealership would in effect pay some customers to fix their outboards. "Now a customer comes in and we say OK we're going to charge you $100 up front and we're going to check this, this and this," Fogarty said. "We [get] a baseline snapshot of the fundamental operation of the motor or boat or whatever it is. At that time if there's something simple to fix that we notice — and we can do it during that diagnosis period — then we'll certainly do it." Fogarty's has leveraged the new pay plan to improve efficiency, reduce service returns and ensure that everybody is working toward bettering the department's efficiency. Technicians are paid $15 to $17 an hour, which doubles to $30 to $34 an hour for any billable work — a selling tool for recruiting new techs. P40x44-BI14FEB-MFService-dv.indd 41 "When we went to this system, the guys increased their productivity 25 percent," he said. "Now that we've gone to this type of pay system and billing system, everybody is aimed at getting billable work done. Prior to this … if a job took six hours and it meant the guy was going to get overtime, then he could care less how efficient he was or the business was." Requiring service customers to commit to a $100 diagnosis before signing up for the whole project creates similar buy-in from the customers, with another benefit in telling people the financial scope of the project when they're at home, rather than inside the showroom. "People don't look at servicing their boat as money that they want to spend," said Fogarty, likening it to a mourning process. "When you tell them it's going to cost $300 to fix this, they are going to go through some form of grief process for having to part with the money … so you want them to go through [that] prior to working on the boat so they're willing to pay for the job when it's done, and also you want them to go through the grief process off site so they're not standing at your service counter [upset] about the cost of a repair while you're trying to sell a $100,000 boat right next to it." To improve service logistics, Fogarty laid out his three properties on AutoCAD to improve the physical flow and develop future improvements. Feedback was gained from the service staff and his 20 group members that led to a master plan for the grounds that its owner hopes to coincide with a $15 million hotel and Fogarty's Lake Flower Marina's current two-bay shop is constrained for space, leading the company to develop plans to upgrade an existing pole barn into a modern shop facility. restaurant project going in next door. Fogarty plans to convert a 40- by 80-foot pole barn into a nicer, larger service facility, which is currently housed in a former auto shop built in the early 1900s. He also plans to convert the current gelcoat room into a display showroom, as it will be more visible once the hotel is complete. Other changes, such as a sidewalk between the properties, will drastically transform the dealership's curb appeal. SEATTLE BOAT COMPANY With four locations in the area, Seattle Boat Company has 17 full-time service employees with a full complement of additional support staff. Service makes up almost 30 percent of the company's annual revenue, so it easily pulls its weight within the organization. Depending on the location, its service efficiency scores meet or exceed 100 percent, and the company puts a significant focus on its CSI ratings, productivity and daily reporting that helps CEO Alan Bohling keep tabs on his sprawling service business. Within the past year, Seattle Boat Company implemented daily service reporting through an in-house system created to be compatible with its DockMaster software. The reports, generated through Microsoft Excel, allow Bohling to monitor key metrics February 2014 | Boating Industry | 41 1/8/14 12:59 PM

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