[INLINE=left]https://www.scubaboard.com/gallery/data/535/TOTM.gif[/INLINE]Training agencies often try to help dive store owners be more successful by providing professional journals, books, and videos designed top help the store owner provide better customer service and enjoy financial success. In my opinion, some, or even much of this "advice" helps the agency more than the shop owner. Also, in my experience, most shop owners do a very poor job of listening to their customers. Much like a parent doesn't listen to his child, even after the child is 30 years old and has an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business, dive shop owners remember the diver taking his open water class and can't quite grasp the fact that after a couple years or even decades of diving that diver might have a valid opinion or two.
I'd like to ask SBers to use this thread to tell dive shop owners what they like, what they don't like and how things could be done better to make visiting a dive center a more positive experience.
Some possible topics include:
1. How you feel about dive shops being affiliated with a specific agency? Would you prefer generic stores? Do you feel more comfortable or more alienated by agency branding?
2. How do you feel about education? Are the time frames for classes too long, too short or just right? Do you like having lots of specialties? Or, would you prefer less specialty education? Did seeing all the educational opportunities excite you or almost turn you off to diving?
3. Do you feel comfortable or a little nervous walking into a new shop? Why or why not? Are you happy or unhappy with your local shop? Do you go because you enjoy it or because they are "the only game in town" or have some form of emotional blackmail in place keeping you loyal out of fear?
4. What improvements can be made to the inventory? Too many choices? Too little choices? Too much fluff and not enough of what you need? Or, are you happy with the inventory? What products would you like to see taken off the shelves? What would you like to see carried in the store?
5. Do you think a dive shop should just sell scuba equipment? Or, would you like to see something else in the store as well? If so, what?
6. What kind of employee do you most want in the store? What kind of employee makes you want to go elsewhere?
7. Do you like going into the dive shop when the owner is there or do you try to only go when other employees are working?
8. What do you consider timely service on equipment? Do you think service prices are fair or a rip-off?
9. What about gas fills? Do you feel hassled when you need an air fill, nitrox fill, or trimix fill? Or, is this normally an enjoyable part of going diving? What do you like or don't like about getting fills? Does your shop charge by the fill or by the cubic foot? Would you rather pay by the fill or cubic foot? Do they fill the gases that you need or do you end up going elsewhere for different fills?
10. Anything else? This is a great opportunity to put it all out there.
Hopefully, this will grow into a very constructive and informative thread that a shop owner can read and hear the opinions of divers rather than what they are told divers want.
This thread was voted "thread of the month" for the month for June, 2012 by the users of ScubaBoard.