Sept. 1, 2008 – Yamaha starts new incentive plan

By Jeff Hemmel
Contributing writer

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yamaha Motor Corp., USA took advantage of its 2009 dealer meeting to unveil not only a new model lineup, but also launch a new program designed to reward dealers with high customer satisfaction ratings.
Yamaha reps say the program, dubbed High Output CSI, offers a simple, clear and effective way for dealers to drive customer satisfaction at their dealership, differentiate their business in the market and last but not least, receive financial incentives from Yamaha.
Based on results garnered from a recent survey of customers to determine what factors drove them to be satisfied with their Yamaha ownership experience, the High Output CSI program is said to mirror the best business practices from successful dealers nationwide.

Three-Tier Reward System
“We came out with the program in an effort to increase customer satisfaction,” said Mike Van Wagenen, Yamaha Watercraft’s strategic planning manager. The program, which features three tiers, rewards dealers based upon results from Yamaha’s own customer surveys. Currently the company surveys all of its PWC customers, contacting them after the initial sale, as well as after a service, such as a warranty claim.
At its most basic level, dealers who achieve at least a 92 percent satisfaction rating, and participate in minimal additional training, will be awarded with recognition as a CSI dealer on the company’s dealer locator Web site. “We think that will be a real benefit to the dealers who get a high customer satisfaction,” said Van Wagenen, “because when a customer goes to our Web site and types in a zip code, four or five dealers may pop up. If a dealer is qualified on the program, he’ll stand out.”
From there, requirements — and rewards — multiply.
At the mid-range (dubbed High Output), dealers who satisfy seven more requirements (“relatively simple,” said Van Wagenen) will qualify for a parts credit of 2 percent and an accessories credit of 4 percent, allowing them to take a credit on unsold inventory rather than foot the entire bill. Currently, unsold parts and accessories allow only very minimal returns. This tier also increases the dealer’s self-authorization on warranty claims up to $1,000 or $1,500. Being able to self-approve these smaller claims will save dealers substantial time, as well as eliminate some of the hassle involved in the process. An additional financial element at the High Output level is a 6 percent retail reserve bonus on all Yamaha extended warranties sold. Yamaha also will allow dealers at this level to co-op unit giveaways on a 50/50 basis, such as for radio promotions or charity events.
The highest program tier, appropriately named Super High Output, is reserved for dealers who achieve a CSI score of 94 percent and up. At this level, dealers get access to a designated service hotline for questions and concerns, rather than having to wait in the normal phone que. The dealer also will receive some free showroom signage and a 10 percent retail reserve extended warranty bonus as well.
“We’re just trying to raise our customer satisfaction even higher,” said Van Wagenen. “We feel like this is going to put us in the right direction.
“The focus is really to try and get the dealers focused in that area. The dealer locator Web site we feel is going to be a good incentive for them to be able to do it. Ultimately, the dealers should be concerned about customer satisfaction themselves, because it increases their sales the happier the customers are. The other part of it is through the surveys it gives Yamaha an opportunity for Yamaha to find out what we’re doing right, what we’re doing wrong, and fix those areas, make things better, improve our training, those sorts of elements.”

New Super Sport Line
As to the craft unveiled to dealers, most notable is a new Super Sport line, a pair of more aggressive craft clearly aimed at the former GP1300R buyer, as well as Sea-Doo’s RXP models.
The Super Sports included both the FZR two-seater and FZS three-up model, both designed around all-new hull designs that features a shortened running surface compared to the FX models, full-length lifting strakes, a dihedral keel shape and larger pump inlet. The crafts also feature a more aggressively angled chine to further enhance the craft’s lean-in personality. The result is said to be a more nimble, aggressive, lean-in style ride.
Perhaps the most unique feature of the Super Sport models, however, is a telescoping steering column. According to independent research recently conducted by the company, 81 percent of “sport” style riders stand atop their so-called sitdown models, and do so over a quarter of the time they’re aboard. To address this crowd, the FZ models offer a three-position steering column that goes lower than what we’ve become accustomed to for that “crotch rocket” feel, raises 50mm to a more traditional position, and is capable of raising 100mm to satisfy the ergonomic requirements of the standing rider. More on this boat in another issue.
Elsewhere, the FX HO and FX HO Cruiser now receive a normally aspirated version of the 1.8-liter engine introduced on last year’s SHO models, along with a NanoXcel hull, and all the benefits included with throttle-by-wire technology, including cruise control, a no-wake mode, and Yamaha’s reverse traction control.
VX models? With the Cruiser and Deluxe still holding down the No. 1 and No. 3 positions in overall sales, the line returns in full. According to Yamaha, the company now enjoys 62 percent market share in the value segment. The company states a full 92 percent of its customers trade up from there, and 93 percent of those stay within the Yamaha brand.

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