Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Another New Year

(0:30) It has become my habit to pause this time of year to look back at accomplishments, setbacks, joys, and disappointments. It's often my own experiences that inspire and shape my Minutes.

(0:25) This year I've picked out 4 Minutes as my favorites from 2016. If you're a faithful follower I hope you enjoy revisiting them. If you missed them, now's a good time check them out. I hope they will inspire you in the new year.

(0:19) Taking Stock, January 5, 2016
My first Minute for 2016 addressed a critical but often overlooked task necessary for success. When was the last time you really took stock of your business?

(0:14) Unique Selling Proposition, January 26, 2016
While striving to be the best is admirable, finding a way to be different is more likely to bring success.

(0:10) Stop Whining, March 1, 2016
Stop focusing on what you can't change and start highlighting your advantages.

(0:07) Change Happens, September 27, 2016
Marinas that are best able to take advantage of change will be the most likely to succeed.

(0:04) Wishing you much success in 2017!

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


(1:00) There are times when I read things online that make my head hurt. Recently, I ran across a company that sells "Management Response Templates" - just fill in the blanks for a professional response to your customer reviews.

(0:54) No, No, No. That is never a good idea. It's wrong on so many levels.

(0:51) First, common courtesy dictates that if a boater takes the time to write about his experience at your marina, then you owe him the time to write a sincere and personal response.

(0:47) But not only is a canned response a disservice to the boater, it is a disservice to you as well. Often there are little gems hidden in an honest boater review that will go missed if you choose to treat your task as a quick checkoff item. Taking the time to write a personalized response requires you to truly understand the point of the boater's review.

(0:38) In addition, writing that response could require you to do some soul searching and analysis of your marina's strong and weak spots. You should never avoid that opportunity.

(0:34) And honestly, most of us can spot an insincere and false reply from a mile away. That includes the boater who wrote the review, as well as all of the boaters who will come along later and read your response.

(0:29) Finally, assuming you manage to squeak by and convince everyone that you did craft your response properly, do you believe you are the only business who may have purchased these canned templates? What happens when someone sees the same response at another business or later with yours?

(0:21) I understand that for many writing a Management Response is difficult but like any important task you undertake, a shortcut will never work. You need to work at developing the skill.

(0:16) Practice writing your responses. It's OK to write and rewrite and maybe rewrite again. Have someone you trust critique it for you. Over time you will develop a style that works for you and become more comfortable responding.

(0:10) Need more help? Don't hesitate to check out how other marinas have responded to their reviews. Learn from what you like and don't like about the responses. But make sure your response is your own.

(0:05) Do not take this task lightly. It is important. And done well it will bring you more business.

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

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Optimize Your Response

(0:56) Last week I wrote about the importance of using your Management Response to shift the uncertainty created by a poor review into confidence in your marina. For your Response to have maximum impact, it is important to optimize your message.

(0:50) You must focus your Response to increase the likelihood it will be read and to drive your points home. A long rambling reply addressing every aspect of the review wastes everyone's time. Hone in on a few key points. Look for aspects that are important to the boating community at large. Then address those points in a simple and professional way. Highlight the positives while acknowledging and addressing the negatives.

(0:39) Match your Response to the type of review you are replying to. If it is a positive review you can make your Response cheerful and upbeat. If you are addressing a negative review you may wish to tone it down, showing your concern and including what you are doing to fix the issue.

(0:32) Think about the words you use. Avoid negative, vague, or pompous language. Make sure your Response isn't "canned" or uncaring. While it seems obvious that you will address specific issues of a negative review, it is also important to mention specifics from a positive review. It lets boaters know that you read their reviews carefully and take them to heart.

(0:23) Ensure your Response is readable. Too many short choppy sentences can feel jarring. While many long flowing sentences can become tedious. Check your spelling and grammar. If that is not your strong point, find someone who can check it for you.

(0:17) Overall, make your Response inviting and friendly, yet professional. Consumers report that they give a Management Response the same scrutiny as the original review. A well done Response can underscore a positive review, build up a mediocre review, and turn around a poor review.

(0:10) So what is the best way to sharpen your Management Response skill? Get writing! Practice makes perfect. In the beginning, don't hesitate to write a Response, sleep on it, and edit or write it again. Over time you will find your voice and what works best for you.

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