Crew can choose between complaints, compliments

Does it really matter if guests are happy all the time or are complaints just a part of the charter business? Does service, especially exceptional service, count as a decision-making factor for today’s guests? What is the impact, if any, to the bottom line?

From a guest’s perspective, service is only expensive when it’s not received. A yacht’s team must be trained to understand the impact of their role as the final service impression. They must recognize that their actions may be responsible for the gain or loss of existing and future business.

Each time a guest interacts with a crew member, a service delivery takes place, whether it takes three seconds, three minutes or three hours.

Consider placing greater emphasis on the skills, importance and attitude necessary for ultimate delivery and, in turn, ultimate service at each point of contact. Delivery impression points could include the initial welcome, each meal, laundry servicing and delivery, sightseeing, fixing problems, room comforts and so much more.

These tips and ideas may prove useful in preventing delivery dilemmas and enhancing delivery delights:

  • Define service standards and each step of the delivery moment to make the best impressions, starting with a guest greeting, a clear confirmation of the order or service and the resulting delivery, and so on. Most important will be the last thing each crew member says and does. Sincerely thanking guests for their business should be an absolute must.
  • Be sure crew members are prepared for unhappy guests and equip them with skills to deal with late deliveries, wrong orders, damaged goods, unfulfilled promises. A little empathy, an apology and a proactive course goes a long way and may encourage guests to keep complaints to themselves in spite of mistakes.
  • Look for ways to positively impact service and create the opportunity for future sales and lasting impressions. Recognize co-workers’ and your own tangible results such as on-time deliveries, accuracy and cleanliness, preparation (as with briefing guests on operations or plans), and positive guest feedback.
  • Learn how to observe or gather feedback from guests on the spot. Ask guests a few key questions: “Is everything OK?” “Is your order what you expected?” “Is there anything else we can do for you?” Provide an easy way to channel that feedback back to people who can impact changes.
    Make sure each crew member understands what experience was sold and what the guest is expecting. Service excellence happens when everyone cares and knows about the business at hand … and shows it.
  • Build relationships between crew members and others in the service chain. Be sure the baton of service gets passed to each member and that they know how critical their role is.
  • Remember the importance of a thank you and that final moment to make sure the guest is happy. If they are not, make sure that guest knows how their problem will be resolved.

Not receiving service can be emotionally expensive for your guests, and financially painful for the business. You get only one chance to make a first impression … and you get a powerful chance to anchor future impressions with the last one.