Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Engage vs React

(1:05) My first interaction with a marina I'm not familiar with is often when they receive a poor review. In the early days it was sometimes confrontational, even aggressive. Many were angry, demanding the review be removed along with the rest of their information. It didn't happen.

(0:57) We have specific procedures we follow when a review is challenged. You can find them in the website Terms of Use. It is the unusual circumstance where a review is removed. It is only by maintaining the integrity of an independent review process that we can earn the boater's trust. It is probably the most important factor in ActiveCaptain's success.

(0:48) Whenever I encounter these situations, I use them as learning experiences. I discuss with the marina what the specific complaint was and how they can fix it. Doesn't it make more sense to prevent the negative review from happening in the first place rather than trying to repair your reputation after the fact?

(0:40) The availability and usage of customer reviews has grown dramatically - research suggests that between 70% and 90% of consumers state that online reviews influence their buying decisions. Because of this, we have seen a growth in companies offering to help manage your online reputation for you. I find this concerning.

(0:32) I'm not saying that there is no use for these organizations. But I am disturbed by the implication that businesses are "too busy" or unable to understand and manage their own reputations. The fewer barriers between you and your customers, the better.

(0:26) An aspect that particularly bothers me is what appears to be a trend to focus on reacting to customer reviews once they have occurred rather than engaging with customers to prevent the negative experience from happening in the first place. On the most basic level, it is what most of my Minutes are about. Do the right thing now to prevent damage later.

(0:17) I understand that dealing with customer reviews, particularly negative ones, can be uncomfortable. But it is only by engaging directly with all of your customers, especially the unhappy ones, that you will truly understand issues you might have. Use that knowledge to improve and enhance your marina so your future reviews are positive.

(0:08) Putting your focus on creating a positive reputation rather than managing a less than positive one just makes sense. If you focus on that, you'll have no need for a "reputation management" company. And that's good for business.

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