There was a great turnout for the October Marina Matters meeting that focused on the marina experiences of berth holders who had joined Chichester Marina in 2017. Alongside the day to day contact we have with our customers, Marina Matters meetings allow Premier Marinas staff to have a more personal and in depth exchange of ideas with their customers. Lock Control, Car parking, Customer Inductions and Berth Holder activities and events were some of the headline topics covered in the meeting and action points were raised.
Car Parking was discussed, specifically in regard to storing boats in designated car parking areas. Chichester Marina Manager Graeme Barnsley explained that during the winter this is a necessity but Premier be will providing clearer segregation this winter by using a flexible post and chain fencing system. An illustration is available in the Marina Reception.
Lock Control was the hottest topic of the meeting. Berth Holders told us of problems both out and inbound with people queue jumping - and not always realising they were doing it! This causes a lot of frustration, particularly when the wait for the lock can be lengthy at peak times. There are a number of facets to alleviating this situation; monitoring VHF Channel 80, displaying craft name on the bow and stern and signage at appropriate points; Premier is looking into this will respond with a plan to improve general lock etiquette.
Graeme asked how those present felt about their introduction to the South Coast marina. It was generally acknowledged that they had been given a tour and a broad understanding of the facilities but would have benefited from being given more detailed instruction in some areas. The lock was an example of this and for new boat owners an explanation of the boatyard and a good maintenance regime would have been very useful. This topic crossed over into training needs and Nikki Dimmer from Chichester Marine Training gave an idea of the type of courses they could provide, some of which may provide an RYA qualification but many will be more geared to pragmatic learning to allow people to get more out of their time on the water. Premier Marinas' Customer Experience Director, Andy Mills, went on to say that Premier would be formalising the induction process in 2018 and the input received in the meeting would be incorporated into Premier’s thinking.
The Berth Holders Association advised that they are also able to help their members with informal instruction and local area knowledge. They acknowledged that their role for berth holders may not be clear and said that they were working on this and considering what future membership dues will be.
From training, the meeting moved onto Berth Holder events and there was definitely an appetite for collaborative on the water activities. Nikki explained that their programme will play into this and Andy gave a ‘sneak preview’ of the proposed ‘cruise in company’ planned for 2018. More details will follow when this event is firmed up. Graeme explained the disappointing turnout Premier had had for the curry night and that Premier was keen to understand what people are looking for. The general reaction from the room was that it is appreciated and we should keep trying.
Communication was discussed and most felt that between Masthead and specific notifications the level was about right. There was a suggestion that more links could be introduced into Masthead to allow topics of interest to be explored further. Andy explained the berth holder’s community page Premier has set up, using Facebook, at Falmouth. This is still in its early days and will be reviewed before rolling this out elsewhere. Graeme went on to talk about Project Kraken and what berth holders can do to keep their own equipment safe, particularly at this time of the year.
The 42 free nights benefit offered under the Premier Advantage scheme was widely appreciated and well used by those present. It was added that if there was a reciprocal scheme in place with a couple of marinas between the Hamble and Dartmouth this would enhance its value still further.
Andy provided a run through of the features within the ‘My Premier’ customer account, but stressed that as Premier adds functionality to the account to encourage more self-serve capability. Staff will use the time saved to have more quality interaction with our customers.
Other topics covered include; Air extraction in the facilities is poor and there is a plan to address this; Premier would be better off using LED for the facilities lighting; bookings for the boatyard between January and April should be made now.
All in all this was agreed to be a good meeting and an effective way to exchange ideas between Premier and its customers. Marina matters meetings are held quarterly and the date of the next meeting will be published shortly.