End Game: Waterborne Delivery
The person who gets the thrill of handing a new owner the keys, however, is typically the delivery captain. Certainly a fun job, but still, one with a unique set of responsibilities.
“I’m the final Q&A guy,” says Thomas Straigis, delivery captain for Cobalt dealer Arrowhead Boat Sales. “Throwing the keys to the customer and saying, ‘Enjoy. There’s the pointy end; there’s the noisy end,’ it just doesn’t work with boats nowadays.” Instead, Straigis goes over a boat 48 hours before delivery and re-examines it after cleaning crews have been aboard. He sometimes finds little things, but as a certified MerCruiser technician, he’s also ready for more serious issues.
Straigis also makes sure the boat is loaded with everything the customer will need. Extra engine oil is a must, not only to show the customer the type he should be using but also because levels are likely to get low during the break-in period.
“We have customers that say, ‘Well, here’s the first-happiest day of owning a boat’ (implying the second is the day that it’s sold). I try to explain to them that’s not so when you buy a good quality boat.”
Regal delivery captain Frank Stoeber shares that pride. He often sits anywhere a customer is likely to spend significant time, noting anything that’s not perfect. “That’s kind of like a sand spur in their underpants,” says Stoeber of any problem he notes. “Any time they sit there, they’re going to see it.”
Stoeber starts a delivery days before, with a call to the customers, gauging their knowledge and tailoring his approach to what they need. He is conscious of getting a customer written materials before the delivery, noting that “a great delivery starts with preparation. It’s critical.”
When the time comes for actual hands-on instruction, he tries his best to keep his hands in his pockets. “Adults learn by doing. I try to give the knowledge so they can develop the skill.” After a delivery, the job continues. Stoeber constantly reviews every detail and fine-tunes the process to make it better.
Says Stoeber: “How that delivery goes is going to set their paradigm of that boat...maybe for a lifetime.