Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Marina Response

(1:02) Recently, I have received a lot requests for instructions on how to respond to boater reviews. So it seems like a good time to go over your options.

(0:59) You can send a private message to the boater using the ActiveCaptain messaging capability. If you are unfamiliar with this feature you can find instructions here:

(0:56) An ActiveCaptain Partner can also provide a Management Response, a public message attached to the review. To access this capability, go to your ActiveCaptain Partner page. On the right-hand side look for the Reviews section.

(0:51) This is a summary of your ActiveCaptain reviews. It lists the total number of reviews, the number of Management Responses, your average stars rating, 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."

(0:45) 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 "No response" if you have not entered one.

(0:34) Click on the "Respond" button to write a response. This will display the "Respond to a Review" page showing the review information and a text field for entering your Management Response. Select "Submit" when you are done. This will take you back to your Review List and display your response beneath the original review. You can change your response by selecting the "Edit Response" button.

(0:23) Note, when you enter a Management Response, an ActiveCaptain message is sent to the reviewer notifying 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.

(0:13) 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.

(0:07) Management Response is a powerful tool when used sparingly and wisely. You should respond to every negative review and occasionally to positive ones. Keep your response professional, brief, and positive. Use it to show boaters that you care about their business.

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I'm Sorry

(1:06) I think for many of us apologizing is a difficult task. It requires acknowledging that we've done something wrong. It can be embarrassing. Sometimes, it can even be a little scary as we contemplate how admitting a mistake could impact us.

(1:00) But in most every situation, sincerely saying, "I'm sorry," makes the situation and the outcome better. The key is to actually mean it. We all know when we are simply being placated.

(0:56) Apologizing builds goodwill with the aggrieved person. Just as importantly, it allows you to understand the issue and work to rectify it for the future. My own philosophy is that I try not to make the same mistake twice - sometimes, I'm even successful...

(0:48) I recently ran across a document used by Steve Zimmerman, owner of the Zimmerman Marines boatyards, for training of his staff. It is simple, straightforward, and honest.

(0:45) Apologizing

(0:44) Why is it important to apologize?
It’s all about relationships and trust and respect. We have many relationships - with your spouse, children, co-workers, supervisors. We have an Emotional Bank Account (EBA) with each. When the other person FEELS wronged or disrespected, we make withdrawals. A sincere apology makes a deposit.

(0:35) Why are people reluctant to apologize?
Many reasons. Some people prefer denial - don’t talk about a problem and it doesn’t exist. Some can’t even admit to themselves that they made a mistake. This usually results in blaming the other person. Others think it makes them appear weak or soft. That makes us feel vulnerable.

(0:27) When is an apology necessary?
Whenever you realize that you did something that undermines a relationship, or something that will offend or disappoint someone. You might realize it on your own, or the other person might point it out to you. Either way, you have made a withdrawal from your EBA.

(0:19) How to apologize.

(0:18) 1. Get straight with yourself. Admit to yourself that you made a mistake and that this mistake had a negative impact on your relationship with this person. You must have a genuine desire to repair the damage - sincerity is far more important than technique.

(0:11) 2. Be specific about what you did - you must include a description. Do not include excuses.

(0:09) 3. Acknowledge the affect you had on the other person and any problems you created for them.

(0:07) 4. Express regret and a desire to prevent it from happening again.

(0:05) We all make mistakes. A mistake does not have to define you or your marina. But how you handle a mistake most certainly will.

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

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Make or Break

(0:56) Periodically, I snoop around the ActiveCaptain reviews to find out what boaters are experiencing. While most any review can be enlightening, I find I learn the most from a negative review.

(0:52) I recently read a 1 star review from a boater who was unhappy with his slip assignment. Apparently it was exposed creating an unpleasant roll. So he called the marina office on the radio to inquire about the possibility of moving. An inexperienced staffer asked his supervisor while still keying the mic allowing the boater (and all others listening in) to hear, "Tell him it is the only slip we have and he can take it or leave it."

(0:40) Uh, oh. The reviewer wrote, "Now clearly transient boaters do not have the right to pick and choose their own slip, but everyone deserves a little common courtesy." Yes...

(0:35) He concluded his review with, "I have found through reading other reviews, and through my own experience that the staff makes or breaks a marina."

(0:31) I couldn't agree more. Brand new state of the art docks, luxurious facilities, and a 5 star restaurant cannot make up for surly, indifferent, or incompetent staff. Alternatively, terrific staff can easily make up for some shortcomings in amenities.

(0:24) Your staff's number one priority must be to make every boater's experience exceptional. That will not happen by chance. It is up to you.

(0:21) Regular staff training and leading by example are key. Tell staff what is expected. Train them in how to interact with boaters. Show them by your own example the importance off treating every boater exceptionally. Create an environment where your staff feels appreciated and happy.

(0:12) Every boater should be greeted pleasantly, on the dock, in the office, wherever they are encountered. Be alert to a boater needing assistance and offer to help. Make sure your staff is knowledgable about the amenities you offer and what is available nearby.

(0:05) Don't leave it to chance. Make it a priority. Because it will make or break your marina.

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