We have been boaters for 21 years at the same marina in Sandusky OH.
The docks are kind of warped from the impact of many cold winters and not being attended to or upgraded. Goose poop piles up on the docks during the week. The Internet is sketchy at best. No one from the marina catches your lines when you come in. The gas dock helpers don’t know too much. Once each weekend the manager walks across the parking lot. He nods at people. Maybe you get a smile with that nod but not much conversation. He is not engaged with his customers.
What do you think has been the impact on the marina? As you might expect the marina is half empty now. The only reason we stay is because we can’t convince our friends to leave.
We’ve been traveling on our boat a lot lately. Recently we had a completely different experience at Osprey Marina south of Myrtle Beach SC. An experienced dockhand caught our lines, filled the tanks with fuel and pumped out the holding tanks all the while chatting and asking questions, friendly as can be.
Because he asked questions to generate conversation, he opened the possibility of us staying at this marina for 2 weeks. He guided us to our spot on clean, new floating docks.
The clubhouse offers donuts in the morning and the high speed Internet covers even the farthest corner. The manager walks out to check on us every day, brushing leaves and goose poop off the docks. We see him walking around talking to everyone he meets. He seems to know everyone too. The facilities are spotless with clean shiny washers and dryers.
What do you think is the impact on the marina? Osprey Marina is completely full with a widespread regional reputation for great service at good prices. Although they are full, they find some way to make room for transient boaters with some creative accommodations. Boaters stream in and out of there with smiles on their faces. Revenue is up and the facilities are fully utilized.
I think the difference between the two marinas is leadership and the expectations for performance that leaders set on the team.
Next summer we have a decision to make about where we want to dock our boat. Will we choose the marina with the crabby employees and deteriorating conditions? Or will we choose a friendly marina with great facilities?
Customers are making choices every day that directly impact your bottom line. As a leader you can influence your customers’ choices by creating a great customer experience. Start by understanding your business issues:
Understand your customer experience. What do customers think about your service? How do you know? Who are they telling? Steps you can take include:
- Reward and recognize repeat customers
- Customer feedback surveys
- Social media ratings
Understand the impact of your employees on your customers. What do your employees think about your service? How do you know? Who are they telling? Are they a positive representation of you?
- Measure employee turnover, especially 1st year turnover
- Social media feedback
- Employee attitude surveys
Set expectations from the moment you being recruiting. How do your employees know what you expect? Don’t assume. Plan, execute and communicate. Understand the outcome you seek, the positive things that will happen by having that particular employee on your team
- Recruit for the behavior you want to see
- Set expectations from the beginning that are consistent from recruiting
Reinforce values. How do your employees know what you expect – tasks and behavior? How do you reinforce expectations? Do you walk the talk? How do you grow your employees so they can thrive in your workplace so they stay and nurture your customer?
- Performance reviews
- 360 feedback
- Delegate to give your employees development opportunities to grow