5 Tips to Maximize Your Marinas’ Customer Service Experience this Spring

5 Tips to Maximize Your Marinas’ Customer Service Experience

Mar 14, 2022


Photo Credit: Shutterstock
In today’s competitive leisure and lifestyle market, pulling out all the stops to keep ahead of the competition is important.  As an industry, setting your standards high and maximizing the customer experience will keep current boaters boating.  

You can also offer the best experience possible to boating enthusiasts who are just dropping in to “check things out” and hope that they decide to make the move and buy that boat they have dreamed about buying.  

Further, you have the ability to increase the buzz and create an experience that starts the word-of-mouth spin-off generating new interest in boating.  The end goal – generating more long-term business at your facility with dedicated clientele and increasing your bottom-line.  

Start with these 5 tips that you can implement at your marina and maximize the Customer Service Experience this Spring:

1. Physical Property Curb Appeal:

• Are your gardens weeded at your roadside entrance?

• Is your property neat and tidy?

• Is your grass cut or raked?

• Is your marina sign hanging straight?

• Are your trailers and derelict (or nearly derelict) boats out of site, or tucked away as best as possible?

• Are the remaining bits of shrink-wrap, string and garbage picked-up from the property before official opening weekend?

• Are your washrooms and showers operational, very clean and scheduled to be maintained at least 3x daily?

If it seems like a lot to think about when your priority is getting boats in the water, why not challenge your Dock Staff Team with this list of items and empower them to add 5 more of their own Curb Appeal tasks.  They are keen and ready to go to work!

2. VHF Curb Appeal

*Note – Pacific Coast marinas monitor VHF channel 66A.  Marinas in all other boating regions of Canada monitor VHF channel 68.
• Many customers arrive to their new home port – your marina – for the first time by boat.  The VHF is traditionally their means to you.  Ensure that your new boaters arriving by water have a stress-free experience from the moment that they call you on the VHF Channel 68/66A.  If your marina is not currently monitoring VHF Channel 68/66A, it is likely that direct revenue is being missed.

• Have your Dock Staff completed the VHF Operators certification?  It is a legal requirement in Canada to have this certificate and much can be learned on proper protocols and professionalism.  Check with Canadian Power Squadron about getting your VHF operators properly licensed here – www.cps-ecp.ca/ecommerce/course-calendar/ 

• Is your VHF working after the long winter?  Don’t wait until boats are calling you to find out from someone else.  Have your Dock Staff test the VHF operation with a Pseudo boat name to ensure you are sending and receiving.

• Now that your VHF is turned on, operational and your staff are licensed, ensure that channel 68/66A is being monitored during your business hours.  VHF Handhelds are a great solution and Dock Staff should be equipped.  A master base station should also be monitored for boats that may be calling from further away.

• Train the staff on the business protocols you would like them to use when they are corresponding with a boater on Channel 68/66A.

3. Dockside Appeal:
Your boaters have reached you by VHF and now they are heading to their slip for the first time this season, or maybe for their first-time ever.  Are Dock Staff on their way to the customer slip to receive the lines, welcome them to their homeport and help get the boat plugged in to shore power?  For many boaters, there is nothing like the site of a few helping hands at the dock to make life a little easier docking.  Train your staff on the Do’s & Don’ts of proper line handling before you deploy them to assist!

4. Welcome Greeting and Reminders:
Your boater is secure, and shore-power is good-to-go – great!  Does your customer require anything else before the staff head-off to their next task?  Perhaps a reminder of a few of the key services and policies would be helpful at the start of the season – the winter is long; it is easy to forget all of “the stuff”.  Dock Staff can offer a quick reminder of facility locations such as bathrooms and showers, parking locations, pet policies, fuel, and pump-out hours.  Even your long-term boaters who know the marina facilities better than you, will appreciate the gesture of time spent to enhance their customer experience.
Dock Staff can take note of customers arriving by car and make a point of stopping in to say “Hello” and offer a quick Welcome and Reminders as well.

5. Keep it Friendly, Keep it Professional:
Boaters at your facility are there to relax, socialize with fellow boaters and enjoy the amazing waterbodies in Canada.  Your facility is a part of their means to that goal.  Good service is ongoing.  Keep smiling, keep it friendly and keep it professional from the moment the boater arrives to the moment they are driving away.  Your business is their home away from home – give them something to be proud to show off to their friends – then everyone wins.


Jill SniderJill Snider is the Publisher of CY Media.  A former graduate of the three-year Marine Technology & Recreation program at Georgian College, Jill later became an instructor for Service & Information Techniques at Georgian’s Marine Engine Mechanics Program.  She worked in Marina Management for +20 years. Questions or comments for Jill? Email her directly at jillsnider@kerrwil.com 





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