Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Flip the Script

(1:00) I saw the above phrase in an article on the Forbes website discussing how to handle a negative customer review. It concisely describes what a truly masterful marina manager does when responding to a negative review. He flips the negative to a positive.

(0:53) Negative reviews are a time for contemplation. Never make an immediate response. It's understandable you may be upset when someone criticizes your hard work. Especially, if you think it is unfair or unreasonable.

(0:46) So step back and calm yourself. Think about your goals. Use this opportunity to highlight the positive qualities of your marina. And always consider how your response will appear to all boaters and not just the reviewer.

(0:42) The typical boater will not be put off by one negative review. But will be interested in how you respond. After all, we tend to reveal much about ourselves when we are under stress.

(0:38) How can you turn a complaint into a positive? Acknowledge the reviewer's unhappiness. We all want to be heard. Let boaters know what you are doing to fix the issue, if needed. Correct any misinformation. Then point out the positives of your marina. And never forget that what may be a negative to one boater, could be a positive to most boaters.

(0:29) I saw this done beautifully by a marina manager in the Bahamas. The marina was full with a waiting list. A boater was unable to secure a slip so chose to anchor out. He wrote a review complaining about dinghy access and that the marina would not allow them to use the laundry.

(0:22) The marina manager wrote what I considered the perfect response. He apologized that they were unhappy and assured them that the marina welcomed anchored boaters. He detailed the several places a dinghy could come in. He reminded them of the services they offered to anchored boaters (free of charge). He explained why some services could only be offered to paying slip holders. And finally he urged them to make reservations for future stays as the marina is often full. Wow!

(0:09) As a boater I felt the concern for customer service, was reminded of the many services the marina offers, appreciated that key limited services were being kept available for paying boaters (me), and was prompted to make my reservation now for next year. Not bad for a "negative review."

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