Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Management Response - How To

(1:07) Last week I told you about a new feature available to ActiveCaptain Sponsors called Management Response. I also told you I would provide instructions about how to use this capability this week but several of you beat me to the punch and figured it out on your own! I think it's a good sign that it's easy to use. However, I still want to make sure every Sponsor knows how to access it as well as offer some more tips.

(0:57) If you go to your ActiveCaptain Sponsor page you will notice a new section on the right-hand side. It is beneath the section for updating your pricing and above the Resources section. It's titled, "Reviews."

(0:52) This new section is a summary of your ActiveCaptain reviews. It lists the total number of reviews you have, the number of Management Responses you have entered, your average stars rating to one (1) decimal point, and if you don't yet qualify for 1st Choice, how many 5 star reviews you need to qualify. Beneath that is a button, "List Reviews."

(0:44) Selecting that button will take you to your Review List which lists every review your marina has received in chronological order starting with the most recent. Included will be the review title and date, the captain name, homeport, captain number of points, and the review text. Beneath that will be your Management Response for that review, if applicable, or it will show, "No response" if you have not entered one.

(0:36) Click on the "Respond" button if you wish to write a response to that review. This will take you to the "Respond to a Review" page. It will show the review information listed above and provide a text field where you can enter your Management Response. Select "Submit" when you are done. This will take you back to your Review List and will display your response beneath the original review. You can change your response by selecting the "Edit Response" button.

(0:27) Please note that when you enter a Management Response, an ActiveCaptain message is sent to the reviewer to notify him that you have responded to the review. The next time the boater logs into ActiveCaptain, a message notification will appear. If the boater has selected to have messages sent to his inbox then an email will be sent as well. The same thing will happen if you edit your response.

(0:18) So bear in mind that each time you touch your Management Response, the boater will be notified. It's good practice to create your message in a word processor so that you can spell-check and edit it until you are pleased with the final product. Then, cut and paste it into the Management Response field.

(0:11) Remember, Management Response should be used sparingly and carefully. You should respond to every negative review and only occasionally to positive ones. Keep your response professional, brief, and positive. No one wins if you turn it into an argument. I'll be writing more over the rest of the summer about how best to use this powerful resource.

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Management Response - Something New

(1:05) The most common request we get from marinas is about how to respond to reviews. I think that every review a boater writes should receive a response. For the vast majority, it should be a personal message sent privately to the boater using the ActiveCaptain messaging capability. If you are unfamiliar with this feature you can find instructions here:

(0:57) We have also allowed marinas to write a review for their own marina to respond publicly or to clarify reviews left by others. We require you to make it clear that the review is from your marina and you may only have one review, although you can change the review. However, our Sponsors are telling us that they would like a more direct way to respond to a specific review.

(0:49) Based on this feedback we're releasing a new capability for Sponsor marinas called, "Management Response." A Management Response will allow you to add a message to a specific boater review. I will be writing a Minute with the particulars of how this works next week but wanted to prepare you for the capability by discussing when and how this feature should be used.

(0:41) I believe that this new feature is a powerful way for marinas to communicate with their current and potential customers. Used properly and sparingly, a Management Response can be a great way to tell boaters that you are interested in their feedback and that you take customer service seriously. Now is the time to develop your strategy for responding to reviews. Don't leave it to chance.

(0:33) When to Respond
In general, you should respond to all negative reviews and perhaps, a few positive ones. Responding to every review will simply create clutter causing your message to be lost. If a positive review calls out something spectacular or has led to a change in your services, by all means thank the boater and tell them how the review impacted your business. If the negative review is from an Internet Troll (a rare user I'll discuss in a future Minute) it may be best to just ignore it completely.

(0:21) How to Respond
It is important to respond quickly. Make sure it is someone's job to respond so it doesn't fall between the cracks. Always be courteous and professional. Remember it is not the reviewer you are writing to but every potential boater reading your response. If appropriate, address the specific issues that were mentioned and what you have done or are doing to make things better. Don't forget to highlight any positives that were mentioned and even point out related services you offer.

(0:12) According to a TripAdvisor poll of hotel customers done in 2013, 77% of customers stated that seeing a management response to a review made them believe that the hotel cared more about its guests. And 62% said it made them more likely to book a room.

(0:07) Use the new Management Response feature to show boaters that you care about their feedback and want to improve. They'll reward you with more business.

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

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Accentuate the Positive

(1:02) It's great when a boater compliments your marina. An honest assessment from a happy customer is worth more than pages of glossy pictures and professionally written prose. It's what any good business strives for. Make sure you're getting everything you can out of these marketing gems. The best way is to have a plan. Here are four things you can do to maximize your positive reviews.

(0:50) 1. Say thank you. Make sure you always acknowledge a customer who has praised your marina. This simple act will not only reinforce good feelings, it will make the boater more likely to visit again and tell others. Use ActiveCaptain's messaging feature to send a personal message to the reviewer.
I covered messaging in a Minute a couple of weeks ago. If you missed it you can find it on my blog: 

(0:41) 2. Show your employees. Share positive reviews with your staff. Many marinas post glowing ActiveCaptain reviews on bulletin boards with a "way to go" message. If you are part of a large organization make sure management knows, especially if a staff member is called out in the review.

(0:33) 3. Show your customers. Let boaters know what the world thinks. Display positive comments on your website. Reviews from the ActiveCaptain site can be displayed on another site as long as the source is acknowledged to fulfill copyright requirements and a link is provided back to the site. It is best to provide a link directly back to your marker. There's no easier way to encourage additional reviews. Sponsors can use the abbreviated link from their Boater Review Card.

(0:19) 4. Discover how you can do better. While compliments certainly make everyone feel good, this is not the time to rest on your laurels. Even 5 star reviews will often have a mention of a disappointment or area that needs improvement. Sometimes a boater's compliment can reveal a needed service. Was there an effort mentioned that was out of the ordinary? Consider making it part of your offerings.

(0:08) Customer reviews are telling you loud and clear what boaters want. Pay attention, learn from their comments, and use this knowledge to bring more boaters to your marina.

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

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

After the Negative Review

(1:17) You work hard to maintain your facility, train employees, add amenities, and offer first rate service. Then a customer complains to the world with a negative review. Now what? Handle it properly and you can turn it into a positive. Follow these steps:

(1:08) 1. Take a deep breath. It's easy to feel defensive, even angry, when your reputation is challenged. Resist the impulse to threaten the review site or attack the reviewer. It will only create bad will, waste time, and have a negative result in the long run. If the review was incorrectly written about your marina, contact the review site. Any reputable site will fix that.

(0:57) 2. Gather information. Critically examine the review for truth. Discover what you can about the interaction to determine what went wrong and where you can improve. Negative reviews are valuable learning tools even though it can be difficult to see when it happens.

(0:49) 3. Decide if and how to respond. Communicate with the boater. The ActiveCaptain site offers private messaging. Most customers welcome the opportunity to discuss their problem and admire a marina who is willing to work towards improvement. These interactions often lead to the customer changing their original rating.

(0:37) 4. Apologize. Write a sincere apology regardless of where the blame lies. This should be done even if you feel the review is unjustified. Let the boater know you're sorry their experience was unfavorable. But don't make an empty apology. If possible, try to make it right.

(0:27) 5. Wait for the community to respond. If you have done your work upfront there will be other positive reviews listed. If not, have faith in your happy customers. It is often the case that a negative review will prompt a marina's satisfied customers to chime in to defend the marina. This is far more powerful than any action you can take.

(0:15) 6. Don't fret. A good, honest, well-run marina will not be outdone by a single negative review. Focus on what you do well and learn as much as possible from what customers have to say to make the facility better.

(0:07) No person or business likes to hear negative feedback. But a negative review can help you improve your business and even rally the boating community behind your marina.

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