One Way to Make Customers Happy in 2021

Last year, almost every news story or conversation was littered with words like “new normal,” and “unprecedented.” While managing change is not a new idea, it seemed to be the theme of 2020.

Now, here we are, sprinting through the second quarter of 2021, and more change seems to be afoot. This year is not like last year or any other year in recent history.

From what you tell us, one of the biggest changes for your dealership is the lack of inventory available mixed with continued peaks in consumer demand.

During times of change, focus on what you can control, say all the experts. So how do you make the best of what you can control when it comes to serving your current and prospective customers?

Educate your customer
One way is to educate the customer on what to expect from you, your dealership and the industry – both what you can do for them right now and what you can’t.

Earlier this week, I received an email newsletter from Danny Decker of Marketing Simplified, who spoke at Dealer Week this past December. (MRAA Members can access a recording of his session, Grow Your Customer Base with Facebook Ads in 2021, at 

In the newsletter, he wrote: “Creating happy clients and customers is the key to growing your business,” and then he shared a simple formula:

Blue Springs Marine

Happiness = Reality – Expectations

The point he seemed to be making is that your marketing should help the customer understand what to expect from your business. When you do that well, you’re more likely to have happy customers who contribute to your success. 

He actually wrote an article with some specific ways for how you can do that. It was written for back in 2018, but it’s good advice especially now, and I definitely recommend you read it.

Examples of dealers putting this to work
Our team at MRAA has witnessed dealers embracing this idea.

For example, back in October of last year, Blue Springs Marine in Missouri put a red banner across the home page of its dealership web site that reads: “If you are considering a new boat in 2021, please read this important update.”

When you click it, you’re taken to a dedicated web page with a letter from the President and Owner Jeff Siems, where he explains the shortages of new boat inventory, gives the consumer guidance on what they can do to make the best of it, and reinforces his dealership’s commitment to the customer and their boating lifestyle.

More recently, dealers like Woodard Marine on Lake Bomoseen in Vermont, have turned to Facebook to update customers on their inventory levels.

For example, they posted the following message (below, left) with “some good news and bad news” a few weeks ago. In it, they explained that boats will sell out this year, but they do still have some boats in stock and that they are ordering 2022 models.

A few days later, they posted an update (below, right), where they shared a picture and description of a 2022 model boat scheduled to arrive at their location in October.

Woodard Marine Facebook

By educating potential boat buyers on what to expect from the dealership, they are increasing the likelihood they will be able to make those who are able to buy a boat from them this year happy. 

In addition, they are opening the door to opportunities for communicating about what options ARE available to potential boat buyers. 

For example, could they take advantage of the boats the dealership has available for rent? Or could they work with the service department to replace the upholstery, carpet or engine on their current boat? They could be offered a coupon to the local boat club, if the dealer doesn’t have a club of their own.

There are likely several options you can offer to help prospective boat buyers enjoy the boating lifestyle while they wait for the new boat of 
their dreams to become available.

By bringing your customers into the know about what’s happening at your dealership and in the boating business, you are more likely to inspire their trust, manage their expectations, introduce them to the options available that they may not have considered, and ultimately improve their chance of happiness, which – as Danny Decker explains – is the key to the growth of your business.

For additional resources on improving customer experience, training and educational materials, visit