“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better. ” – Jeff Bezos
This is true especially in the sailing charter business, the captain is the main host and each passenger who comes aboard is a valuable guest. Making your clients feel welcome is a significant part of your duty if you want to be remembered not only as a dutiful host but someone who goes the extra mile to give your guests an unforgettable sailing experience.
Start on the first hello
You don’t have to wait until you see the person face to face before putting an effort to make the individual feel welcome. It should start the moment the client gets in touch with you – whether it’s an inquiry over the phone, via email or through social media.
Think of every inquiry as a potential booking that’s why exceptional customer service begins on the first hello. People who call in with questions expect to talk to a customer service representative who can provide them with the details that they need or help resolve their issue. That’s why it’s crucial to assign knowledgeable customer support team members who understand all the aspects of your sailing charter. Customer support should be aware of the services that you offer and the tour package details to assist clients confidently and efficiently. Train your staff to communicate politely and keep a friendly attitude when handling phone inquiries but at the same time maintain an appropriate level of professionalism.
There are situations where the customer service representative cannot provide the answer or resolve the issue in one call. This is acceptable in some cases as long as the customer rep calls back promptly. Do not let the client wait too long; otherwise, you might lose a good lead. After resolving the issue, you can also consider sending a follow-up email to ask how things are doing and if there’s anything else that you can help the person with.
If you need help to improve your customer support, Captain Panel offers around the clock chat support to answer customer questions.
Respond in a timely manner
Respond as quickly as possible to inquiries via email and social media to show that you place great value on your clients. Start with words of appreciation for taking the time to contact you and then address the customer’s needs. Do so by providing detailed information that will best answer the question or address the concern – make it clear, simple and refrain from using jargon and technical terms. You may also provide suggestions, as well as relevant materials to enhance the customer experience. If what the client needs is not part of your basic package, inform him about your add-on options and customized tours (if applicable). Let the person know that you welcome further inquiries if he wants to learn more about your services and other packages. Always leave a warm and friendly closing remark even if you have a digital signature.
Make your passengers feel at home
Many sailing charter customers are from out-of-town or another country and being in a new and unfamiliar place can be a little intimidating. The same thing applies to people who have no experience sailing out in the sea. Booking a trip with your charter company means that they are putting their trust in you while they are on your boat. As captain, it’s your duty and that of your crew to make your passengers feel welcome and at home while under your care.
Give your passengers a warm greeting as they step foot on your boat and break the ice by introducing yourself and your crew members and vice versa. Smiling at your passengers sets a positive mood and helps establish a good rapport.
Make it a point to remember their names correctly so that you can call them by name during the trip. As a courtesy, you may ask your clients if it is alright to address them by their first names or if they have other preferences.
Give your passengers reason to feel more comfortable starting with a tour around the boat so they can familiarize themselves with the different areas and know where things are located like fishing and watersports equipment (if applicable) as well as emergency gear like life vests. Don’t forget to discuss onboard safety rules and procedures at the start of your trip.
Pay attention to detail
Set yourself apart from other boat charter companies by including small and thoughtful details that your clients can appreciate. For instance, you can give your guests a welcome drink the moment they step onboard.
Liven the mood with good music; you can use own playlist or perhaps your guests have their own which they want to listen to.
It’s also a good idea to keep some essentials handy like sunscreen, extra cap, and extra sunglasses, that you can lend to passengers. You might want to keep a digital camera on board so you can take photos and/or videos of your guests in case they forget to bring theirs. You can email them the images and video clips after the trip to remind them of their fun experiences. That would likely give you plus points on the customer satisfaction meter.
Customize the experience for your guests
Before the trip, find out if any of the passengers have certain food allergies or restrictions and personal preferences. If there’s a vegetarian joining you, you can make adjustments on the menu by including vegetarian-friendly dishes. If there are kids on the trip, you can give out sweet treats like candies, lollipops, or chocolates.
Is there a special celebration happening during the trip? You can work closely with the client to make personalized arrangements and consider providing additional details to enhance the celebration like a banner with the celebrant’s name or a free cake. If a couple booked a sunset cruise tour and you smell romance in the air, why not surprise the lovebirds with a free bottle of champagne during dinner?
Offer your expertise
Sailing trips often include fun water activities like snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, and/or fishing. Some clients may have little or no experience in these water activities so be ready to guide them. For instance, if you’re taking newbie anglers out fishing, you can offer your expertise by teaching them the proper fishing techniques from choosing the right bait to landing their first catch.
Be the perfect travel guide
You and your team know your destinations at the back of your hands and there’s no better way to make out-of-town folks and visiting foreigners feel welcome than by being the perfect travel guide. Share interesting facts about each destination on your itinerary including a brief historical background of the place. Tell your passengers about the things that they can expect to see during the trip such as geologic formations, wildlife, and so on. Inject some personal anecdotes to build a closer connection with your audience.
Time to embark
When the trip is over and it’s time to say goodbye to your guests, make them feel that it was a great pleasure to have them on board. Thank them for choosing your charter and let them know that nothing would please you more than to see them again on another trip. Consider giving your guests a token of appreciation like small souvenir items to remind them of their fun sailing experience.