Improve customer relations with a CRM

Marina owners, operators and staff can ensure that docks, docks and infrastructure are in top working order, but if the facility’s relationship with its customers is lacking, the repercussions can be reverberate throughout the company. As technology continues to play an increasingly vital role in the successful operation of a marina, Marina dock age spoke with Meghan Keaney Anderson, Chief Marketing Officer at The Wanderlust Groupthe parent company of Dockwa and Marinas.com, on the benefits of a customer relationship management (CRM) platform.

1. Explain why a marina can benefit from integrating a CRM platform into daily operations?
Having a CRM that stores all of your boater data and keeps track of any customer’s history with your marina allows you to create a better customer experience and bring more predictability to your operations. In a single view, you can view all boater information, insurance and registration, preferences, boat dimensions so you don’t have to ask your most loyal customers for this information again and again. You can also start tracking patterns like when your boaters typically request annual storage, which usually lags behind payments, and optimize your planning and operations with that data.

2. How can a marina or shipyard effectively use CRM?
A CRM is useless unless it becomes the de facto place where you store boater information. Having a single check-in system for all of your marina staff to share is what makes this platform so powerful. So I would start by fully embracing CRM and making it the heart of your business processes, from sending out contracts to emailing boaters. You don’t want wandering boater details living outside of the CRM and giving you an incomplete picture. This should be your customer information base.

3. How can using a CRM lead to a better organized business?
There can be a lot of change in marina staff. From seasonal staff coming in to help temporarily, to staff transfers between shifts. CRM can be the connective tissue that aligns your entire team around guests, eases onboarding into seasonal roles, and reduces communication inefficiencies.

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4. Building better relationships with customers is an important part of marina operations. These relationships can make or break the future of the business. Since there are so many moving parts in a marina, how does a CRM optimize the customer relationship?

Boaters arriving at your property (and spending thousands there) should feel like all staff know them and can anticipate their needs. A CRM allows every member of staff, whether they are general manager or dockhand on their first day on the job, to access a complete understanding of each boater’s needs, history and value to the marina without having to rely on memory or experience. You can store the little details that often make the biggest difference, like the name of a captain’s dog and have treats waiting for him when the boater arrives.

5. Despite the influx of new boaters due to the pandemic, marinas are now concerned about how they will retain these boaters as obstacles such as inflation and high fuel prices become a major concern. Can a CRM help existing relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers?
A CRM alone is a good start, but if you connect a CRM to automated messaging tools, your POS and other management tools, like Dockwa’s Boater Relations Platform does, it can streamline every interaction with your boaters and create a better customer experience. . For example, you can store payment information in your CRM and automatically retrieve it from your POS, allowing your boaters to say “load it to my account” and reducing the time they spend pump to worry about the price of fuel. .

6. Technology can be intimidating for marina owners and operators. How can marina managers overcome their fears and apprehensions so they can successfully integrate technology into their business plan?
This may be the biggest barrier to the adoption and value of CRM for marinas. But CRMs have become much more intuitive to use over the past few years. Two tips we offer:

1) Give new team members time and training on this. This is not a training session you should skip as it is fundamental to your operations.
2) Train staff only on the use cases that matter to them. Your team doesn’t need to know how everything works in the CRM, they just need to know how it fits into their daily lives, so keep the scope small, manageable, and personalized to their work.

Joseph P. Harris