Thursday, 4 October 2012

Life is to short for marina drama



Boat work is moving forward. Between the tropical downpours we have had lately we have accomplished a few things. Our fancy new liferaft and cradle are mounted, motor was purring like a kitten, and starboard teak all stripped and port side 95% done. As always with boats we ran into a few "new" (at least to us) problems: the section with liferaft was not securely fashioned to the boat (fixed), the teak was a bunch of different colours from different varnishes (sun will fix), the bleed screw on top of injector governing screw lost its top, JB weld and parts on order. The bumpy road of boat maintenance continues.

We had a brief "meeting" with Red Frog management, and upper management yesterday. Meetings here are unannounced arrivals on your slip, no emails or notice; I call them ambush tactics. New management has done a great job of making us feel incredibly unwelcome here, in more or less words we have (persuaded) scheduled a time to leave. So much drama, all not needed.

The culprit this time is our beloved Dexter. Dexter is not a big fan of people he doesn't know around his home. We were working and he barks and sometimes runs down our finger. I guess this is how it feels if your kid is disturbing his class at school. Such is life. The irony of the situation was as we were being informed of the importance of Dexter always being on a leash on any part of the dock (the moment he steps off the boat); Mac the other dog in the Marina (there are only two) went running past our dock finger "meeting of the minds"... with no leash or owner. We were also informed that the security guard won't walk down our length of slips because he is afraid of the dog....... This to me sounded like a lazy security guard getting out of work, Dexter is in the boat hours before this guy hits the dock walk. As a customer I would be a bit concerned about a security guard who is afraid of a 40lbs dog, what about guys with machetes or guns...... hmmmmm. Right now we are on probation with no lenience.

Now I'm going o bring it all back to customer service, and business acumen (tune out if you are just into sailing and adventure). Mission statements may sound flaky, but the idea is that everyone in the organisation is on the same page, and that guiding purpose is in the best interest of all the stakeholders. Red Frog needs to take a course in stakeholder management. Stakeholders are anyone affected by the operations of the organisation. I must say so far everyone is on the same page in management, but they need to revise the overarching principle that drives value for the business. Once again we got the same message, now from upper management that Red Frog is a "money making business". I sure hope anyone in business is in it to make money, I may be wrong, but that is the definition of a business. However, they are actually in the customer service business and they don't know it. Where does the cash flow come from? Customers.

I worked for the largest bank in Canada, they had the mission "Earning the right to be our customers first choice". Banks, are purely in the money making business, but RBC grew when most other banks shrunk because they put so much focus on their customers. Now how does that differ from Red Frog, well Red Frog doesn't seem to see that between the money they are making and the profits they are trying to post are the customers.

We have not stayed at many marinas, the ones we have stayed at have been wonderful. Errol Flynn in Port Antonio was great and if there was an issue, management just dealt with it. We paid the same price to sit on anchor (mooring balls being replaced) there as full dock side tie here. Was it worth it... Yes.

Jennie and I are really easy going, but after working almost our entire careers in customer service, marketing and business; we are quite put off by the customer service here at Red Frog. It wasn't that bad with the old managers, we noticeably saw improvements to the way the marina was being run. They were fired and new management regressed back to old ways. In all honesty if the new managers just said, "Hey Dave, I'm sorry I came across the way I did. I'm new to the role (customer service) and I'm just trying to figure out the new job, it's a lot of work and a bit stressful." I would have said, "It's all good, just send me an email next time with the form you need filled and your request. I know customer service is tough, I've been there." They never took accountability and apologised. Instead they are itching to kick us out... I might have called that one.

All in all, management picked on me. Not anyone else we know of who did a few days work here or there, not Jennie who stood beside me working. It is great to start pulling up "rules", but keep it consistent.

All in all they got a bad review, take it and work on the issues. We have all had bad reviews before, no biggie. However, this was all over approximately $16 in revenue. The time spent worrying about it, the loss in other revenue streams, the poor press, all because they could not just apologise for being rude and inconsistent with their rules and let things go. In the end I am not an approved contractor at Red Frog, which I don't care about. Jennie and I were about to give a half decent review (with the hope that the new management could fix the things that were wrong), but new management targeted me, not us(we were both visibly working).. me. Lessons learned; when everyone nice you meet says don't do something or go somewhere, probably best to listen.

And for all you patiently avid readers, were are back on the adventure next week. A little backpacking trip to Peurto Viejo; black sand beaches.... So nice. Our apologies for the marina drama, but Cypraea should be in much better shape for a serious  crossing when all is said and done. Let the adventures Re-begin!

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