Dear Sail America Member,
We’ve sailed through our bellwether Fall shows – Newport and Annapolis.
And the news is good: results are encouraging!
Builders are reporting recovery of demand with real boat sales. Equipment and accessory companies are showing significant aftermarket demand. Always a boost to sales, new boats and new products were announced and debuted, reflecting a vibrant, energetic industry. In addition, attendance at both shows was up, and the attitude of both our customers and members was equally upbeat. Early indicators point to better days in the foreseeable future!
In case you missed it, we covered a lot of business during the Sail America Annapolis Boat Show General Members Meeting. We have a strong leadership team in place for the future; there are several exciting initiatives coming together, such as the individual membership category for Sail America and the grass roots sailing renaissance efforts; as well as a continued focus on a futuristic role for our association at shows. As a whole, we are achieving our goals and enjoying significant and continuous improvements.
Ultimately, we invest in these efforts in order to help you better serve your customers.
This issue of Waypoints focuses on customer service. Serving our customers beyond their expectations is something we must never lose sight of, even during difficult times. Truthfully, our customers become even more important to us when sales are harder to come by. Ironically, however, it seems companies are all challenged in these tough times to maintain high levels of customer service. We need to remind ourselves about how important these customers are to our business and our livelihood; they are our lifeblood. But, how many times have we heard the complaint in jest, “My job would be so much easier if it weren’t for all of these customers!”
I am reminded regularly that when we are talking to our customers, we may be working … but THEY are recreating. They are looking for that break from their day. We provide that to them. It’s so important that we keep this perspective, and that we look for opportunities to enhance this interaction and establish relationships far beyond the sale.
At Harken, we truly believe that our customer service department is part of our sales force. If we can continue to keep our customers happy and well served, they continue to choose our products and services – it’s that simple. We’ve all heard the statistics about how much more difficult it is to procure a new customer than it is to maintain an existing base of customers. The secret? Simple follow up and doing what you say you’re going to do. Written right into Harken’s mission statement is to “serve our customers beyond their expectations.” We try and do that every moment of every day.
There are many solid recommendations in this issue that I challenge you to discuss internally with your team and your own sphere of influence. Now more than ever we need to reach out to our customers and conscientiously determine how we can improve our performance in these areas.
Enjoy the read … and be sure to pass it along to any and all you know who can benefit from this tremendous membership benefit.
President, Sail America
CEO, Harken USA