Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Is Good Service Enough?

(1:07) One of the points that I make repeatedly in these Minutes is the importance of boater expectations. After all, it is meeting, exceeding, or falling short of my expectations that determines my experience. It is why a high-end resort style marina and a modest "mom and pop" marina can each be rated 5 stars.

(0:59) Consider when you eat out. You might rate your experience at a fast food restaurant as good if the food was acceptable and the service was, well, fast. While that would not be enough at an expensive, fine dining establishment where your expectations for food quality would be higher and fast service was not expected. In fact, if the food appeared too quickly you might even question it's freshness and quality. The point is you have extremely different expectations when walking into each of the restaurants.

(0:48) Of course, if you've ever been to Chipotle, you will realize it is possible to turn normal customer expectations on its ear. Technically, Chipotle is a fast food restaurant - your food is delivered quickly. But they have drastically changed things by offering food of a much higher quality than typical fast food fare. This allows them to charge a somewhat higher price and by exceeding expectations for a fast food restaurant, they are viewed very positively.

(0:37) How do these concepts apply to your marina? Make sure you understand the expectations of boaters coming into your marina. Are you setting realistic expectations for what you offer and what you charge? Behind poor bathrooms, the next most common reason for a lower rating is when the price is seen as too high for the services offered.

(0:28) It's important to understand where you fit in the broad continuum that encompasses "marinas." Know how your services compare to your immediate competitors and to the community of marinas at large. Set your prices accordingly and then offer even better service than the boater expects. This last point is critical.

(0:20) The good news is that it is often the little things that make a big difference. The friendly hello, the offer of assistance, and taking the time to welcome me and find out what I need or want - those things matter. An easy way to exceed expectations is to respond to every boater review whether good or bad. It continues to surprise boaters that marinas are reading what they say. Responding exceeds their expectation.

(0:07) Do something that I don't expect and I will reward you with a positive review and positive word-of-mouth.

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