Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Are You Listening?

(1:10) I mean really listening. Nothing is more important to any relationship than listening. Yet very few of us actually do it well. I know it is difficult for me. Too often we listen through our own beliefs, desires, and biases. We hear what we think someone is saying or even what we want them to say, but not necessarily the message that the other person is trying to convey. Or we're busy thinking about what we want to say and miss what is being said altogether.

(0:58) If you and your staff are able to hear what your customers are telling you whether it be a frank compliant or compliment, or more often the subtle messages they give in their general communications, you will be able to harvest a wealth of valuable information.

(0:51) It's pretty obvious that you should pay attention when boaters enter reviews. I've done many Minutes about reviews, good and bad, and how to handle them. After all, if a customer has taken the time to write about their experience, you need to pay attention and learn all you can. But there are also more subtle communications that can let you know what you are doing right, where you can improve, and even new opportunities you may have.

(0:39) Listen for these gems from the very first boater communications. Hearing the same or similar requests often can cue you into changes you should consider. When boaters call to inquire about your facility, is there a request or comment that is happening frequently? For example, are they asking about weekly or monthly rates and you do not offer them? Maybe they're telling you they'd stay longer if you did.

(0:29) If boaters are frequently hailing you on the radio confused about the approach, you may need to improve your entrance markers and provide more detailed instructions in the Approach section of your marker.

(0:22) Do you receive a lot of questions about transportation for provisioning or to a nearby attraction? Think about a courtesy car or shuttle van. Or make sure you have car rental information in your welcome packet. Consider talking to a local taxi or rental car company about discounts.

(0:13) The same is true when a boater is checking in or simply chatting at the dock. Listen to the questions boaters ask and the comments they make to determine what you're doing well and where you can improve.

(0:07) It is often the quiet, subtle comments that can provide you with the new discoveries that can help you win more business.

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