Custom Boatbuilder

As the owner of Seaside Boats, you are always on the lookout for ways to expand your customer base. One of your best advertisement tools is word of mouth. That's the advertisement you get when a satisfied customer tells friends or family about what a good job you did building their custom boat.

Today, a customer came to you as a referral from another person for whom you recently completed a custom boat. Your previous customer raved about your services and the quality of your work. As a result, this new customer brought his own plans for a boat he would like you to build. You agreed to get back to him with a price quote by later in the day.

As you look over the plans, you find several flaws that could cause serious problems with the vessel once it is in the water. However, you fear if you mention them, the customer will be upset. These are plans that he has drawn, and he explained to you that his degree in engineering gave him the knowledge to draw the plans.

You consider building the boat and correcting the flaws along the way without the knowledge of the customer. But changing one of the flaws will make an obvious change in the appearance of the boat. The change in appearance may cause the customer to refuse to pay for the boat when it is finished.

"I find that communicating with my customers is perhaps the most essential part of satisfying them," says Sheila Howard. She is a custom boatbuilder and restorer. "I tell my customers up front what to expect and what not to expect. Otherwise, I get left holding the bag."

What do you do?

Tell the customer about the flawsCorrect the flaws without his knowledge and hope he finds the boat acceptable when you are finished