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2017 July August Marina World

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The magazine for the marina industry

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Taking a lead with customer service Multi award winning Soldiers Point Marina in Port Stephens, Australia has taken another leap into the future of customer service with the introduction of a unique smart-phone based application called V-Assist. Marina staff have worked with Slovenia-based software supplier Marina Master to build the service, which has been successfully tested and is now rolling-out to customers. With the emphasis on making light work of going boating, V-Assist keeps the marina on alert when customers come near the marina on land or on the water. Each customer is issued with two tags, similar to those used for toll roads, one for the car and one for the boat. On approach by road, an alert is triggered as the vehicle passes a sensor about 3km (2mi) from the marina. This identifies the customer’s car and generates a text message to the porter to advise that the customer is approaching. This allows the porter to greet the customer, park their car in the customer car park or valet undercover area, unload supplies and assist with taking the customer’s luggage, shopping etc., to the boat, stowing the items and making the boat ready for its owners. In the case of a boat returning to the marina, a sensor is triggered when the boat enters a 500m (1,640ft) zone around the marina and a message is sent to the dock master to advise which vessel is approaching. This readies assistance for mooring and for the porter to assist with unloading and return to the customer’s vehicle if required. Copies of all text messages are sent to the marina duty manager to allow for management overview and to monitor service standards. Customer reaction has been excellent, with a highly positive response. Marina manager, Darrell Barnett, commented: “V-Assist allows us to be sure we are not missing opportunities to enhance the service we provide to our customers. We have the warning to be ready for them to arrive either by vehicle or vessel!” V-assist links with the Marina Master myMarina App to promote ease of communication for all marina customers. The myMarina App,a free download from the iTunes store or Google Play, opens up a wide range of services to the boat owner. Customers can view high definition live stream TV of their MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE boat berthed on the marina, 24/7, using any smart phone. The App also allows the customer to request assistance for things such as parking; obtaining a courtesy car; unloading and taking supplies/luggage to the boat; pre-fuelling the boat; wash down, turn on of fridges, air con etc; ordering ice, food and alcohol; and assistance with leaving and arriving at the marina. The App is easy to activate and use, with a user name and password set up via the Marina Master software system operated from the Soldiers Point Marina office. Making life easy for customers - whether on land or water - also means offering appropriate ‘fuel’. Soldier’s Point has recently installed a Tesla high-speed Destination Charging Unit for use by customers and visitors and has been pleasantly surprised by the number of Tesla drivers using the charger for Model S and even a few Model X cars. The Tesla Destination Charger uses a high-speed power wall connector, similar to the unit Tesla vehicle owners install in their homes and offices. It charges at a rate of 22kW and is available at self-park bays at the front of the main marina building. Drivers can now ensure that they are fully charged and ready for even the longest drive home. Barnett is right behind the decision. “We are striving to be leaders in our industry and see this as another opportunity to provide unique services to our customers,” he said. www.marinaworld.com - July/August 2017 55

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