Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"Hope You Enjoyed Your Stay With Us"

(1:08) Last spring we pulled into Southport Marina in North Carolina to spend a night or two on our way back north. It wasn't our first time there and as always we had a pleasant stay. On the morning we left the dockmaster handed me an envelop with, "Hope you enjoyed your stay with us" handwritten on the outside. Once we pulled out and I had finished putting things away I opened the envelope to find a photo of me and my dog on the bow of our boat as we were first arriving. It brought a huge smile to my face.

(0:55) It was a small and simple thing but it had sincere meaning. You see, there's nothing special about pictures of us on our boat - we take hundreds of them. But we have almost no pictures from a dock of our boat approaching. It's a view we never get to see and Southport gave us a permanent reminder of it. Showing us coming into their dock was artistry marketing. The whole thing made me feel special. It was great customer service.

(0:43) Taking a digital picture and handing the owner a hardcopy is special. It was smart, inexpensive, and easy to do. They also emailed the picture which, of course, we posted on Facebook and all of our friends saw a unique view of our boat docking. And again, it was docking at Southport Marina. There is no better advertising Southport could purchase and not because it was us, but because our friends saw a real picture of our own boat at a beautiful marina.

(0:32) I've often touched on customer service issues reminding you that every interaction has an impact on the customer's perception of your facility from the first radio contact, to handling dock lines, to the interactions during a boater's stay. There's no reason that ends when I pull out of your marina. Finding a way to let the customer service live on after I'm long gone is icing on the cake.

(0:23) Continuing good customer service beyond my stay will increase my positive feelings and can make it more likely I'll write a good review. Do that in a way that is memorable and you will increase your chances even more. You have to be creative but there are hundreds of ideas out there.

(0:16) There are many possibilities that come to mind. A simple "Thank You" card left on the cockpit the morning I check out. Maybe include a discount coupon for a return visit. Is there something your town is known for? In Lyons, NY they gave us a small vial of peppermint oil, a reminder of the industry that built the town. It's now a month since we've been there and we still remember Lyons because of it. That is marketing gold.

(0:07) Think of ways to keep me thinking of you long after I've gone and I will be more likely to return, to tell other boaters about my experience, and to give you a great review.

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