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You walk into a dive shop and are treated like a king. People start talking to you about your goals, your experience and where you would like to go in diving. They tell you that there is dive training you could do with them or you could just go diving with them to get more experience. Obviously they know what expressions like customer satisfaction and profitable diving operation mean. Next time you are in the same spot you will walk into the exact same dive shop with a huge smile to find out that nobody cares about you, all the dive guides and instructors you knew left and the "spirit" is gone. This is an obvious sign of "management by staff" - it's not the dive shop management that runs the show but the dive staff. If you are lucky enough to have a good bunch of people working together in the same diving operation it all works out but as soon as some key players leave the whole diving organisation is going sideways.

After following a lot of discussions on ScubaBoard, LinkedIn or various Facebook pages the summary is always the same: Impressions of the very same diving operation can be 180° different from one visit to the next. It may even depend on the customer entering the dive shop!

Continuity
As a professional provider of quality dive training or quality dive trips it is your responsibility to ensure the highest possible continuity in your diving operation. This can only be reached by following certain business rules and processes. Typically continuity in a diving operation start with the hiring policy a this diving operation has. Questions which give you a good impression about the state of your diving operation are:

  • What kind of diving professionals are hired?
  • How long will they "have to" stay or can they just leave once the busy season is over?
  • Is the dive staff genuinely happy with their environment and the dive shop management?
  • How much presence is there from the dive operations management in the daily business?
  • How does the the management take care of the staff working hard every day to ensure the best possible customer satisfaction?

If there is not a positive answer to all these questions certainly an analysis of your dive business would be a good point to start.

The road to success
High fluctuation of staff and a general spirit of complaining in any business are typical signs of discomfort and sometimes even resignation. If you want to be successful in the diving industry you have to treat topics such as process orientation of your diving operation and sustainable customer satisfaction seriously. Be professional in everything you do in your diving operation. A few hints what being professional in a diving operation means include:

  • Treat all enquiries of potential customers equally
  • Take every complaint seriously and investigage it
  • The customer pays your bills!
  • Set guidelines and standards in diving and other areas such as invoicing and tolerated customer behaviour
  • Hire professionals with the same attitude towards diving to multiply the message and the spirit
  • Communicate your proffessionalism
  • Claim responsiblity for setting professional standards in the diving industry
  • Be visible in the diving industry
  • Give satisfied and happy customers a platform to share their (dive) experience

All these points will make your life as a dive shop or dive business manager much more relaxed and enjoyable. Not only will you profit on a financial level because more happy customers will thell their story but your dive staff will be willing to work even harder and stay with your dive shop longer. As a quality oriented service provider this is what we call sustainable growth!