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Better Dive Shop Customer Service for No Cost
Greg - 6/28/2014 11:56 AM
Category: General
Replies: 11

Every dive shop I have ever been to does the following when you bring in tanks for air fills or VIP:

1. They make you bring all the tanks in and most of the time, they don’t even hold the door open.
2. They make you fill out a ticket for each tank.

Here are two "no cost" ideas that will improve your customer service:

1. Help the customer bring in tanks, especially if there are more than two. Or at least hold open the door.
2. Have the customer fill out one ticket, and if your system requires a ticket per tank, you fill out the rest.

If you’re just standing behind the counter doing nothing while I’m taking three trips to bring in tanks and you just watch me as I fill out multiple tickets...I’m going to leave with a bad impression of your dive shop.

A dive shop MUST have great customer service to stay in business. Notice I said great and not just good. You have to be great! Otherwise I’ll buy all my gear online and never go on any trips with you. Its not hard, it doesn’t cost anymore money or time...just treat customers as you would want to be treated. And remeber its the little things that make a huge difference.

As a diver, can you suggest other customer service tips, that don’t cost any extra money, that dive shops can learn from?
OUBobcat - 6/28/2014 3:00 PM
My dive shop actually comes out and helps me bring my tanks in and I’ve never had to fill out any service tickets but then again he’s been in business for over 20 years so that says something in itself.

A thing my dive shop does which is great is if you rent a tank for the weekend and you can’t get it back in on the Monday following the weekend, he don’t charge you for any additional days. Also if you rent two tanks and only use on, he usually lets you keep the other until you use it unless he’s got classes coming up and needs it back ASAP.
Rob1138 - 6/28/2014 3:22 PM
Return people’s phone calls and respond back to their emails!!

1. I called one dive shop about training and I left my name, number with an employee and have never heard back from them.
2. Emailed another shop with some questions about a BCD they have for sale - no response whatsoever.
3. Emailed another shop about a DM training program and didn’t hear back from them for well over a month.

Just my observations from a newbie in ONE month.
flaski - 6/28/2014 3:51 PM
I very much agree.
In Panama City there is only one shop that immediately comes to help (Panama City Divers), Divers den in PCB does once in a while, In Destin no chance ever. In Jupiter, Riviera Beach, Singer Island, Pompano, and fort Lauderdale, I can say there had never even been a hint given to assist.
hcdiveteambrian - 6/28/2014 4:12 PM
Most Dive Shops that I know in California are all about service. Dive N Surf is the best. We pull up with 20 bottles and nobody is sitting around, and in 15 to 20 mins those bottles are full and loaded back. No signing nothing. Buy air cards and get em punched.

That’s only one reason that it’s so much better to support these shops, and I know you know that, but the other alternative here in California is the Corporate Giants that have put the little shops out of business, not because of better service, because of volume inventory. Those corps rarely can fill a tank right, it takes them 45 minutes to fill 1 or 3 max, they have some detailed reason why they have to go so slow, like they don’t want you to get stress cracks?? And they have the banks, but they don’t use water even having the water bays. I understand that, it’s the shoe salesman filling the tanks he does’t want to get wet. And you got an hour and a half to wait on 6 tanks to browse the store for other sporting goods reasons! On dive boats tanks are filled in 4 minutes. If the tanks run 10 years, that’s good! There are 2 shops that I know of that, they don’t lift a finger for much.
hcdiveteambrian - 6/28/2014 4:24 PM
one thing that helps alot, is during lobster season opening night, if the shop is working all night, and they don’t get to go bring em a couple bugs. Maybe a slab of fish. The best customer service is dive experienced employees that can do an emergency onsite repair-no charge (It’s the kind of shop I go to) and diving with them.
Smithsgold - 6/28/2014 5:15 PM
I must be lucky my shop rocks !!!!
gemiller - 6/28/2014 6:31 PM
It seems if your in the north-east region the dive shops mostly run on the attitude of, well we don’t have much competition, who else are they going to go to. It’s a shame, but you’re absolutely right, I haven’t went on a single trip with them and bought all my gear online(I mean, i’m willing to pay an extra few bucks for local service, but I bought my BC for darn near half their price online); but I am doing training certifications with them, and insanely enough driving 45 minutes one way just to get tanks filled. With a competition range being small "hobby" dive shops normally 1.5hr+ apart, it’s easy to see why they get away with it in my neck of the woods.
Eric_R - 6/28/2014 7:20 PM
My local shops do any paper work that needs to be done but they are fully computerized. I’ve had my local shops hold the door plenty of times. I really wouldn’t expect them to carry my tanks for me but they have done so. I must be very fortunate as both of the nearest shops have great owners and staff that make you get exited about diving and all the possibilities left to discover. The shop I use the most has been around for over 30 years and I’ve seen them go from running their business out of their house to a full service dive shop and travel agency. My other local shop has been around for about two years now and is just getting established. I use them once and a while but they a little further away from me. They still have great staff that make you want to get out diving.
RAWalker - 6/28/2014 10:54 PM
Here in the Desert of Arizona you would think we wouldn’t have many shops or a sizeable community of divers but that isn’t the case. In the Phoenix metro area we have a choice of many shops besides the big box Sport Chalet. You would also think that would cause enough competition to increase customer service and decrease pricing. The fact is great customer service is only available until the shop doesn’t see your progression to the next sale of gear or training. If you should attain instructor level then you are only worth the students you personally bring to the shop. As for pricing we have some shops with pricing guarantees to match online pricing and beat local competitors. Selection is limited and many shops tactically only carry MARP brands or that is what they stock the most of. Some will even refuse to honor their guarantees and claim items are below their cost. (Don’t advertise a policy you can’t honor)
I did my open water with a shop and after asked then to call me any time a opening for a specialty or advanced class was available. They never called although a dive buddy attended a class I could have been sold. After finding this out I started doing business with another shop which I purchase my gear at. Shop #2 never followed through with any kind of after sale so I found a independent instructor that was well accredited and had a great program going for training. At the time he was all about training and building a scuba community of well trained divers. I trained with him vigorously for 3 years during that time he partnered up with a local shop and started to become more concern with sales than the quality of the service provided. After I attain PADI DM he tried to sell me the SDI Instructor course because he had not attained a course director level with PADI. I’ve looked into other nearby shop but been let down by each. There are a few further away to look into that may be different I know of one with a good reputation. I have been lucky to make acquaintance of the owner of the Primary dive shop in Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) Mexico. He and I have formed a friendly business relationship that offers me and my club members a fixed markup that is well below the pricing locally available and in most cases below the best internet pricing on what I consider to be the best full line scuba manufacturers products. His shop has their own Dive boat which does regular trips dependent upon weather conditions. We can count on our member pricing to be lower than his posted fares and the lowest available in the area. So I guess you can say we get the best customer service from a shop 3+ hour away and south of the border. It is the closest saltwater so we consider ourselves very lucky. It has helped us grow our club offering the best deals in town to our members.
btw2459 - 6/29/2014 4:25 AM
I don’t think a good indictor of how good a LDS is whether or not they hump your tanks into the shop. You’ve got to look and see how busy they are. A better indication is the kind of welcome you get when you walk through the door and how you felt when you left about their customer service. A prime example of this is another shop in PCB (Flaski didn’t mention this one). I walked in and my first impression didn’t inspire confidence, however I was promised that I would be e-mailed back with a price and confirmation that they would order the part. Still waiting for that e-mail and of course confidence shattered.

In the end first impressions will make all the difference in whether you will go back. Dave (flaski) knows I’m biaised towards Diver’s Den which is because of the relationship I have with them. This I think proves the point. If a great LDS builds up a great relationship with you, you’ll always keep coming back time and time again.
RichKeller - 6/29/2014 4:52 AM
The simplest thing a shop can do to make you feel welcome is to know your name. Next would be to actually get to know you personally, know what kind of diving you enjoy, your dive background and interests. Then you are not just a customer, you are a couple of people who share the same interests. My shop knows me very well, they know I have been diving for decades, do not need anymore courses, do my own repairs and rarely need to buy much from them other then parts and have been reducing the amount of equipment that I have over the last decade. In short there is not a lot of money to be made from me but they still treat me like a friend and you can not get that online.