Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Back to Basics

(1:00) We owned a 180 year house in Maine. When we acquired it over 20 years ago it was in need of TLC - paint, kitchen and bathroom updates, and much more. Our improvements enhanced our home but only because the basic structure was sound - a good foundation, strong timbers and square beams. Without that, our improvements would have been just window dressing.

(0:49) The same is true for your marina. Yes, it is important to try new ideas, new technologies, maintain the facilities and enhance them when possible. But all of this is for naught if you haven't succeeded in providing excellent customer service. That is the foundation of what you do. New expensive docks, fancy amenities, and a luxury courtesy car will not fix a poor attitude or lack of focus on satisfying your customers' needs.

(0:36) I was reminded of this as we sat with Sonny Middleton, owner of Dog River Marina in Mobile, Alabama, and his staff. We had spent nearly a week at the facility observing, talking to staff and customers and were impressed with what we saw and heard. It all focused around putting the customer first and going that extra step. Sonny was fond of saying, "We have to earn it every day." And he's right, we all do.

(0:25) It got me thinking back to the basics and I wanted to share the content of a sign that is placed around the facility where the staff works. Now I know a sign won't impact behavior on its own but if an organization follows through on the principles, it can be an important reminder.

(0:18) The 10 Most Important Customer Service Words:

  1. Yes
  2. Thank you.
  3. Glad you called.
  4. How did we do?
  5. How may I serve you?
  6. What is most convenient for you?
  7. What else can I do for you?
  8. I'm not sure, but I'll find out.
  9. Thank you for your business. Please call us again.
  10. I apologize for our mistake. Let me make it right.
(0:08) It's not high tech. It's not the latest thing. One might even call it old fashioned. But spoken sincerely, these words will bring you more business.

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