Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Be Honest

(1:07) I've written how the fastest way to a negative review is to have a boater's expectations not match reality. It's so important that you make sure you are presenting your marina in an honest light.

(1:02) This was brought home to me as we approached a marina who rated poorly in ActiveCaptain but was the only choice for our Thanksgiving stop. The weather was cold and predicted to get colder. Reviews indicated that power at the transient docks was a problem so we inquired over the radio. We were told, "We've called the electrician to come fix it but because it's raining today, I don't think he'll make it."

(0:52) Really? There's no power because it's raining today. Yet the marina's reviews back as far as January all mentioned power problems. Later we found out from locals that the power went out following a bad storm in 2008. No, that's not a typo. Is it possible it has rained every day since 2008? Not likely.

(0:44) This was a bad interaction on many levels. First, you can no longer assume your customers are naive to your weaknesses. I knew coming in we were not likely to have power but being misled in that manner made me doubtful of anything else this marina might tell me. Plus the lack of candor did not make me feel sympathetic to their situation. Had we been told, "I am sorry we do not provide power on the transient docks," I would have respected the honesty.

(0:33) I trust such a gross example is not relevant to anyone reading my Minutes. But consider the small "white lies" we all can be inclined to tell. After all, who doesn't wish to be seen in the best light. But even a slight exaggeration can set up for a failed expectation and that can easily lead to a poor review.

(0:26) A common example of this is grocery stores. I frequently find this field set to "Yes" with something like, "XYZ store is 3 miles away." Unless there is a courtesy car or some other form of transportation to the store, that facility does not offer access to a grocery store for the typical boater. If you doubt that, then next time you do your own grocery shopping, try carrying it 3 miles.

(0:16) However, entering "No - The closest grocery store is 3 miles away." gives a truly honest answer that any boater can use. Maybe I have bikes with baskets and don't mind that sort of run. Or maybe I'll decide to rent a car or call a taxi. You've given me the information I need to make my decision honestly. Boaters will appreciate that.

(0:08) Consider the information you are providing boaters as the information they'll use to make decisions. Is it what you would want and need? It's simple - treat your customers how you wish to be treated. I think we all learned that in kindergarten.

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