Atlantic Outboard, Inc.
From Boating Industry Top 100 – 1/9/23
Atlantic Outboard is a Connecticut-based dealership, located in Westbrook’s Marine district. Along with their 5000-sq-ft showroom and 48000-sq-ft service center, they have two marina locations with 100 slips.
Boating Industry recognizes Atlantic Outboard as Best in Class due to a number of improvements and best practices they implement when it comes to their service department. In 2022, the dealership hired a full-time service coordinator. The service coordinator works directly with customers to relay messages about their boat progress and fields all service phone calls and emails. “By hiring a full-time service coordinator our service manager now has more time to work directly with our technicians. Our technicians love it! Our service manager is also a master tech and teaches our technicians daily,” said Gina Trasacco, office manager for Atlantic Outboard.
The dealership uses a point system to schedule and dispatch their service jobs. “Each customer is awarded a certain number of points based on how much they interact with our company,” Trasacco explained. “Ways customers can earn points include purchasing a boat/motor from us, winter storage, general maintenance, slip customers, and parts/accessories purchases. For example, if we have a customer who bought the boat from us, keeps it at our marina, stores in the winter and has us do all of their maintenance they have higher priority than someone who only comes here for parts.” This points system allows the dealership to build solid relationships with loyal customers.
The service department is also sure to stay on top of all incoming service orders. Whenever a boat is dropped off for service, technicians will have looked at it within 24 hours. This allows for an accurate time estimate on the job and gives the department a chance to order any relevant parts.
The dealership has a 91.1% technician efficiency rate, an impressive feat they achieve through careful tracking and ample incentives. Efficiency is tracked through Dockmaster. The service department has also implemented flat rates for all jobs. “There is a chart in the shop that displays our flat rate times. We found that this is very helpful for our technicians,” said Trasacco. “They like to be able to look and see how their times are compared to the flat rates. We also have monthly meetings to go over efficiency times with the technicians. In these meetings we talk as a group, and we will have one-on- ones. In 2021 we went over our flat rate times with all of our technicians. We were then able to adjust our flat rate times, so they became more accurate. Our new service coordinator, Jim, provides weekly reports to help us track.”
All technicians are compensated hourly, and the dealership employs all staff members year round. On top of this, the dealership implements billable hour compensation. For every five billable hours, technicians receive a raffle ticket. Raffle prizes include gift cards and free vacation days.
The small things matter too. “In 2021, we expanded pizza Fridays,” said Trasacco. “Now, technicians have a choice of pizza Fridays or iced coffee Fridays. In the summer iced coffee is a huge hit for our technicians! With the hot weather they would much rather have some fresh iced coffee to get them through the workday.”
“We’ll continue to have our foot on the gas,” comments Evan Cusson, manager of Atlantic Outboard. “In addition to being names Boating Industry‘s Best Service Department, we also received the coveted CSI Dealer of the Year award for North America for Robalo Boats for the second time. While we clearly have processes that work well and produce great results, we’re constantly adapting and tweaking to make ourselves better and help enhance our customer’s experience. However, it all begins with a dedicated team who enjoys what they do, we’re lucky to have some of the best and most talented team members in the industry.”