The Rolling Stones had it right - you can't always get what you want. When it comes to service, boat owners know this better than anyone. How many times have you brought your boat in for work only to be scheduled two weeks down the road? Or when you go to pick it up, the boat's dirty and still not right? There's no reason you can't get satisfaction the next time you bring your boat in for service. Here's what you need to do.
1. BE COMMITTED. Before you leave the shop, get a commitment. Be polite but let the mechanics know what you expect and when you expect it. Then they can tell you if there's a snowball's chance of getting what you want. Make the service provider repeat the committal out loud, so he'll remember what the agreement is. Shake hands, and be sure to ask him to give you a call before the shop does any extra work. This way there are no surprises.
2. BRING IT IN CLEAN. If the folks working on your boat can tell that you take good care of it, they're more likely to do the same. If ashes and empties decorate the sole and the gel coat is a lighter shade of brown, don't be surprised if the mechanics don't give it any more TLC than you do.
3. CAPT. MANNERS. Promise to send a letter to the service manager or the owners of the shop if the job is well done. Service providers are always getting negative feedback and complaints, so change tactics. Mention to the mechanic that you'll write a letter praising his hard work. Then don't forget to write it.
4. SYMPATHETIC EAR. Chances are your mechanic isn't having a great day. Why? Don't ask. Just assume he isn't. Be sympathetic. Ask about the pictures on his wall, about how the family's doing. Get him yapping about anything except the five other boats with props mysteriously damaged while in "really deep water."