Customer satisfaction is so integral to the success of a business that companies would do well to devote sufficient time, effort, and resources in this particular area. Customer service is an essential part of ensuring customer satisfaction, regardless of the nature of the business or the industry niche.
In the maritime industry, the quality of customer service can spell the difference between a successful enterprise and one that is doomed to failure. Boat dealers, in particular, rely on a steady stream of satisfied customers to ensure repeat business and the continued profitability of the marina.
But how can marinas improve their customer service, especially given the risks and challenges inherent in the business? Is it possible to keep customers happy while still meeting the company’s business objectives?
As it turns out, there are many strategies by which businesses have ensured a high level of customer satisfaction. Many of these methods apply to companies in the maritime industry, including marinas. Here are a few ideas:
Adopt a ‘top-down’ approach to customer service
In a ‘top-down’ approach to customer service, company managers are just as involved in ensuring customer satisfaction as front desk personnel.
Of course, supervisors and managers have their own duties. But they should also field complaints and queries at the customer service department occasionally to get a pulse on this particular aspect of the company’s operations. This approach can be especially effective when managers follow up on complaints until they are resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
Get customer feedback
Many companies request customer feedback as part of standard operating procedures. But how many firms actually devote time and effort to utilizing the information they obtain?
Gathering feedback is essential for knowing what customers want. But beyond merely gathering information, marina owners should utilize the knowledge gained to formulate a definitive strategy for improving customer service.
Acting on the feedback that customers provide is vital for ensuring a satisfactory experience. This strategy may be employed when streamlining the process of fielding complaints, adding new services, or addressing issues with certain products.
Implement staff training and education
Efforts to improve customer service will only be effective if they involve everyone who routinely comes in contact with customers. In a large marina with sizable frontline staff, it may be beneficial to develop a more formal training program to bring everyone up to speed on customer service policies and procedures.
Staff training could be less formalized in a smaller firm, with instruction provided via memos and meetings. Even so, marina owners should ensure that all frontliners receive sufficient education on dealing with customers.
Develop systems with the customer in mind
Large marinas typically utilize business systems that streamline operations and enhance management processes. But these often neglect the needs of customers and may even be detrimental to them.
To improve the quality of its customer services, marina owners should consider transitioning to more customer-friendly systems that make it easier to avail of services, purchase products, and generally ensure a more favorable experience. Depending on the size and scope of the company, dedicated service-improvement personnel can be assigned to work on more efficient service solutions.
Maintain a consistent approach to customer service
Marina owners and operators are primarily responsible for shaping policy. This means that the task of establishing service standards largely falls on them.
With a definitive set of standards in place, it will be much easier to implement processes and procedures that ensure a consistent quality of customer service. This approach could also reduce or eliminate the confusion that often arises when dealing with customers, particularly if there are no clear-cut service standards to follow.
Acknowledge excellent performance
Finally, marina owners and managers should acknowledge exemplary performance in the area of customer service. Dealing directly with customers on a daily basis is often a challenging and thankless job, so managers should give credit where it is due.
Acknowledging satisfactory performance often helps boost employee morale and improve job satisfaction. This, in turn, could result in better quality customer service, which ultimately benefits the entire company.
Like other businesses, the success of a marina depends on the ability to keep its customers happy. It can be challenging to ensure customer satisfaction, given the demands of running a business during these difficult times. But the tips outlined above should help your clients provide the quality of service that their customers deserve.
About Merrimac Marine Insurance
At Merrimac Marine, we are dedicated to providing insurance for the marine industry to protect your clients’ business and assets. For more information about our products and programs, contact our specialists today at (800) 681-1998.