Tuesday, February 28, 2017

All's Well That Ends Well

(1:15) This title of a Shakespearean play spawned a common adage. Research has shown the saying to be true.

(1:12) Nobel-prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman's research on experience vs memory led to the “peak-end rule.” The peak-end rule states that an event makes its mark in our memories more by what happens at two moments, the peak and the end, than at any other point. The peak of the experience is the point in the interaction that varies the most from what is viewed as normal. The end is the final touchpoint. The effect occurs regardless of whether the experience is pleasant or unpleasant.

(0:58) For the typical marina, defining the peak moment could be very difficult. However, it's important to recognize that a single very bad or very good moment will impact the whole experience. Figuring out the end point is far simpler.

(0:53) My own experience is that the end moments are often ill-defined, occurring by happenstance rather than design. What this research is telling you is that not controlling that moment is a huge mistake.

(0:48) It is worth taking the time to consider what is typically the end moment of a boater's experience at your marina. Then consider how you can take control of the end moment. You do have the power to define and impact what will be the last moment of a boater's experience.

(0:41) I worked with a popular marina that was delivering a terrific experience as boaters came into and stayed at the marina with some of the best dockhands we have experienced and a popular restaurant. Unfortunately, there were no dockhands available in the mornings as boaters left, often in tricky circumstances. Review after review complained, ignoring the other positives and focusing on that final moment.

(0:31) The marina added dockhands in the mornings and reviews turned around immediately.

(0:28) Think through the typical sequence of the experience for boaters at your marina. What is that final moment? If it is hard to define - some boaters get fuel, some leave before the marina opens, etc. - then what can you do to redefine it?

(0:22) Ensure that all possible end moments are good. Have qualified friendly dockhands at the fuel dock. Make the checkout and payment process fast and easy. Offer undocking assistance to every boater, even if they are leaving in the off-hours. Don't hesitate to provide advice about current, tides, etc. that will make the experience more enjoyable.

(0:13) Consider creating your own end moment. Follow up with a personal email of thanks or a hail on the radio wishing safe travels and a speedy return. Years ago I was handed an envelope as we left containing a handwritten thank you. It also contained a photo of our boat approaching the dock with me and the dogs at the bow. It was priceless.

(0:05) Ideally, every moment of the boater's experience will be positive. Making sure that happens right up to end can reap you big benefits.

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