Tuesday, September 8, 2015


(1:06) Taking time to train your staff on customer service issues is always time well spent. Basic courtesy to boaters is fundamental. A friendly word, a helping hand, or any action that makes them feel like a welcomed guest. You can start with "Hello".

(0:59) I realized something else about this most basic of courtesies on a recent afternoon while waiting for lunch.

(0:55) We had gone to Moe's Southwest Grill, a restaurant I was unfamiliar with. It's a Mexican version of Subway. While we waited for our burritos to be prepared, I noticed that each time a customer came through the door the staff would shout, "Welcome to Moe's!"

(0:48) It was obviously part of their branding and meant to create a welcoming environment. I'm sure as part of the new hire training they are instructed in this ritual and that's not bad. The problem was that the greeting was insincere. Having worked fast food in my youth, I understand the problem. These employees really don't care much about their job. It showed.

(0:39) Thinking about that experience, I realized that "Hello" can be a good barometer of employee satisfaction. And nothing is more difficult than providing good customer service with dissatisfied employees.

(0:33) When I arrive at a marina I begin getting a sense right away. I've written about this in other Minutes but I have focused on training and supervision - not to imply those are not important.

(0:27) The revelation I had at Moe's was that you can learn volumes about how satisfied your workers are by simply observing how they interact with your customers.

(0:22) A happy, satisfied employee will naturally be in a good mood. That shows and will tend to spill out into their interactions with the boaters. A sincere smile and warm greeting speak volumes.

(0:17) Try this test. Simply observe your staff in a nonjudgmental and open way. Watch and listen to how they interact with boaters - it will show your employees' attitude.

(0:12) If you don't like what you see, then think about some more customer service training but think even harder about what you can do to make your employees feel valued and welcomed.

(0:06) Accomplish that and you will more easily accomplish terrific customer service.

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