Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How Can I Help?

(1:04) I have often written about encouraging, even embracing customer complaints. What many fear is having a negative exchange in public. I think most of us would prefer to be criticized in privately.

(1:00) There are several things you can do to encourage your customers to let you know if you've fallen short, so you can make things right before they sit down and tell the world. It all goes back to creating an environment where feedback is encouraged. Let your customers know that you want to offer them exceptional service and also want to know if it's not happening. So send them that message right from the first interaction.

(0:51) From the dockhands grabbing the lines to employees passed on the dock to the moment a boater leaves, every employee should be looking for ways to make that boater's stay exceptional. After helping a boater settle in, and handing them a map of your facility, the dockhand's final words should be, "Please let us know if you need anything else."

(0:43) Your check-in procedures and Welcome Packet are another important opportunity. Your Welcome letter should state that you are striving to provide exceptional service and let boaters know who to contact if they have a problem. This should also be communicated verbally, again, "Please let us know if there's anything you need."

(0:29) But don't make it just lip service. Every employee needs to be trained on the importance of eliciting feedback. Make sure that every employee asks boaters about their stay. How can I help? Is everything alright? Do you need anything? Ensure they know what to do with the information, good or bad. It doesn't work to ask the questions without follow through.

(0:21) I'm reminded of an experience when renting a car that was less than expected. When I returned it I was asked by the attendant who was busy checking me out on the computer, "How was your rental?" I proceeded to tell him about the few things that weren't right, whereby he looked up like a deer in the headlights, mumbled what I think was "Sorry" and finished the transaction. While he'd been told to ask the question, there was clearly no desire to really hear my response, let alone deal with it.

(0:07) Let boaters be heard and responded to while they are still at your docks, when you have a chance to make things right, and you will be rewarded with more positive reviews.

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