Tuesday, July 24, 2012

You've Got a Friend

(0:55) Every review or comment that is submitted to ActiveCaptain comes through my inbox. There was a time when I read every one - it was a great source of marketing knowledge. Today we receive far too many for me to read them but I do skim, glance, and read over some.

(0:49) Over the past few weeks I have noticed numerous reviews addressing how marinas handled situations where a boater was in need of help. It may have been an engine or mechanical problem, a grounding, or even a sick pet. The boaters were typically passionate about how well, or poorly, their situation was handled. They may be some of the most passionate reviews I have read.

(0:39) That got me thinking about how critical it is to handle these high emotion situations well. A little help at those times will be remembered forever. The boater needing help will tell hundreds of other boaters, be more likely to write a positive review, and come back over and over.

(0:32) It also got me thinking about two pieces of advice I've given in previous Marina Minutes, "The VHF radio can be one of your best marketing tools" and "It's hard to write something negative about a friend." Let boaters in trouble know that you are a friend there to help when they need it most.

(0:24) Make sure that the person monitoring the radio - remember someone needs to always be monitoring the radio - is trained on how to offer assistance to boaters in need. Be ready to accommodate boaters needing help by either bringing them into your docks or directing them to an appropriate location. Have emergency numbers readily available.

(0:16) This is the time to go that extra step. Do not hold unreasonably to rules or policies. Do not tell the trawler limping in on a single engine that the face dock is for mega-yachts. Don't tell the anchored sailboat with a medical problem that only slip holders can tie-up a dinghy. When we are in crisis the smallest act of kindness will be appreciated and remembered. You will be rewarded many times over by the goodwill generated. Plus it's just the right thing to do.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.