The dive leader must recognize that his or her profession involves more than just diving. Every student and certified diver with whom the dive leader interacts is a customer; in this regard, a major responsibility of the dive leader is delivering customer service. Keeping this fact in mind will go a long way toward helping the dive leader set an appropriate tone for these interactions.
Obviously, the dive leader should be dependable and reliable. The dive leader should strive to perform each assigned task to the best of his or her ability. He or she should adhere to commitments, arrive on time for classes and dives, and be properly prepared. The dive leader should be appropriately attired for the customers with whom he or she will interact, and the circumstances in which this interaction will take place. The dive leader always should treat each individual with appropriate respect.
When approached by a student or certified diver with a question or problem, the dive leader should address the issue directly in a helpful manner, with sincere interest and concern for that individual. The discussion should focus on resolving the issue. When it is appropriate to explore the source or cause of a problem, such should be addressed in a factual manner without criticism, while also offering alternate or preventative measures that would preclude this problem in the future. At no time should a customer feel belittled or embarrassed.
At some point during training, it is not uncommon for a typical student to encounter difficulty in performing one or more required skills. When this occurs, the student might quickly become frustrated and begin to doubt his or her own abilities. Here it is important that the dive leader be both supportive and patient; any negative response will only further exacerbate the situation. Clearly this is not the first student who has ever encountered some difficulty, and it certainly won’t be the last. To bolster a student’s confidence, the dive leader first should focus upon the things that this student is doing correctly, and compliment the student accordingly. The dive leader next should identify the actual part of the skill that is causing the difficulty, again explain the proper technique in a thoughtful and step-by-step manner, and then help the student to work through the difficulty with repeated encouragement.
Finally, the dive leader also should be enthusiastic. It might be the tenth time in a row that a Divemaster is escorting a dive on the same site, but for the customer it might be the first visit. The visibility may have been better last week, but the customer is here now to dive. The same question already might have been asked a dozen times today by other individuals, but never before by this customer. The dive leader might actually prefer to be somewhere else, or doing anything other than this, but there is absolutely no reason for the customer to know it. To remain enthusiastic, the dive leader needs to remember that despite anything else that might have occurred, the priority now is to appropriately interact with this particular customer in a positive manner.