4. Show Guests You Care
Showing your guests that you care about their well-being not only makes them enjoy their experience, it makes their experience safer. Here are a few easy steps you can take to accomplish this throughout their trip.
Be friendly, accessible, and helpful
Start by learning your guests’ names. People feel especially cared for if you can acknowledge them by name, and in an emergency, knowing names can prevent further chaos and make it easy for you to determine that everyone is accounted for.
Next, offer to help guests every step of the way. Assist divers onto and off of the boat and into and out of the water, and help them don and remove their gear. Additionally, encourage them to ask you questions and/or for help. You do not have to offer a full valet diving experience to your guests to make them feel well taken care of—little things like handing a camera down or having guests give your staff their fins before a ladder exit all make them feel safe (and actually help keep them safe).
Communication is key for establishing trust, building rapport, and getting great reviews
Another way to show divers you care is to check in with them before, during, and after dives. When you’re guiding a group, quickly confirm that everyone is still ready right before you splash. Divers notice when their dive guides are attentive, so ask them if they’re ok underwater, keep tabs on their air supply, and make it apparent that you are watching out for them. Intermittent communication shows your divers you are concerned for their safety and demonstrates that you are there to help them solve problems if necessary.
Back on the surface, strike up a conversation: Ask your divers how it went, then address any concerns they have or join in celebrating the awesome dive. Unfortunately, not all dives are great dives, and if your guests have a bad experience on a dive, they may become upset or even irate. If this is because of something that happened on the dive, a quick conversation may solve the problem and bring some comfort to the guest. Other times it has nothing to do with anything you did or anything that happened on the dive, and is due to circumstances out of your control. Have a plan in place for—and practice—dealing with these situations. If you handle these guests well they might end up giving you the best reviews, even if they appear dissatisfied. Responding to an upset guest with grace also shows the rest of your guests that you have the composure of a competent dive leader.
A little bit of extra attention can go a long way
Making post-dive conversation allows you to monitor your guests for any signs of diving injuries. Signs and symptoms of ear barotrauma or decompression illness often appear very soon after dives and may be detectable during a simple conversation. Talking with your divers also gives you the opportunity to reinforce safe practices.
Reminding guests to drink water, dry off, take their weights out of their weight pockets during transit, or step out of the sun can go a long way to preventing injuries or damage to equipment (yours or theirs). No matter how pleasant your tone is, remember that verbal reminders only go so far, so it is essential to lead by example and constantly model safe practices.
If you want to go the extra mile to show guests you care about their safety and comfort, provide amenities such as snacks, towels, warm drinks, or hot showers. Guests will definitely remember these amenities and include references to them in their reviews.