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Simple service can make a big financial difference

An example of poor customer service, a survey all marina operators should take and the latest highlights from the ongoing success of our Discover Boating national campaign are worth noting today.

My question was simple. I just wanted to know if the Transportation Security Administration office at Tampa International Airport was open on Saturdays and whether they accepted a credit card payment for registration in the TSA pre-check program. So, like most people today, I went to the TSA website and, in the Contact Us section, asked my question.

Now I suppose I should have realized that expecting a federal agency to respond quickly would be like trying to convince someone an M&M is a piece of Godiva chocolate. But I did get an answer from Kimberly about a week later. I suppose she was busy writing up the press release TSA issues every week announcing the number of weapons they found in luggage (I’m not saying that job isn’t important).

But there is a lesson here and it’s simply this: If you have a website with a Contact Us button (every website should have one), it’s important to be ready to answer inquiries promptly — preferably the same day. (If you don’t have a plan to do it right, don’t have a Contact Us button.) It means someone should be assigned responsibility for checking at least once daily. The point is that not responding quickly means lost business. In this case, given no response in several days while we were considering getting the TSA pre-check, we just decided to forget it. TSA would have collected $170 in fees.

AMI survey

The Association of Marina Industries is again undertaking its annual “Marina Trends Survey” and all marina operators are urged to fill out this tool that is used to gauge the current operations of marinas across the country. This survey is among the industry’s best tools to gauge the current trends in operations of marinas across the country.

According to AMI’s Wendy Larimer, this will be the fifth year for the “Marina Trends Survey” and it will remain open until Oct. 15. It’s an easy survey that includes about 20 questions designed to be answered with just basic facility operational and financial information. Obviously, the more marinas that participate, the more valuable the resulting findings will be.

AMI partners with Marina DockAge magazine in preparing the final “Marina Trends Report.” All survey participants will receive a free copy of the final report. Some portions of the report will be highlighted in the December issue of Marina DockAge, as well as during the International Marina & Boatyard Conference slated for the Broward County Convention Center from Jan. 27-29 in Fort Lauderdale.

Take a few minutes to participate in the survey now.

Discover Boating

The Grow Boating Board was recently briefed on the success of the last 11 months for the industry’s Discover Boating campaign. New all-time highs were reached in many ways as Discover Boating continues to be the national face of the boating lifestyle.

For example, the Discover Boating websites will surpass the 5 million visitor mark this year. Discover Boating sent a record 2.8 million web visitors on to industry stakeholders websites. And the “Stories of Discovery” video series, which now includes five excellent boating lifestyle pieces, recorded an amazing 21 million views this year.

Discover Boating’s social media efforts continued to generate record impressions highlighted by a 12 percent awareness gain on Instagram. But it’s been avid boater and country music star Jake Owen that has garnered national mainstream media coverage in Fox News, ET, People, Today.com, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, CMT and many more.

In addition, Owen secured another 2,000-plus stories nationwide in media like Men’s Health, Fox & Friends, two USA Today snapshots and many others.

The Discover Boating campaign continues to demonstrate its importance by keeping boating in the national awareness, even with a budget that all of the industry needs to agree to increase.

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