Scuba diving is a sport practiced by millions around the world, with PADI, a major scuba diving organization, having certified over 27 million divers globally since 1967 with over 6,600 dive center and resorts. It is considered a high-end sport, due to its expensive nature (a dive can cost $25-200+) and the technical expertise required. Scuba diving and liveaboard businesses provide a wide range of goods & services such as scuba dive gear rental, operational support and certifications to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. The Scuba Diving Series is part of a deep dive analysis of the industry that aims to provide insights and recommendations to enhance the quality of services provided by dive shops and liveaboards around the world.
The customer experience surrounding scuba diving, extends beyond the actual dive itself, it starts as soon as the client researches the name of the shop and ends with a follow-up e-mail after a completed dive. The whole experience can be summarized into 4 distinguished stages: client’s first contact, base interaction, the diving experience and post-dive interaction. Below is an explanation of each stage along with analysis and recommendations.
Traditionally, scuba divers do not simply walk into a dive center without knowing anything about the business. Due to safety concerns and expectations related to the whole experience, a majority of clients first come into contact with dive shops in three different ways: online research, referral, or window-shopping.
After the first contact is finalized, unless a business intermediary finished the deal on the scuba shop’s behalf, base interaction defines whether or not a dive shop will secure additional scuba divers. Base interactions are simply related to any physical user experience a client may have from the moment they first lay eyes in the dive shop to the moment they leave the dive shop. Most base interactions will cover the following areas: visual appeal, staff friendliness, price structure, sales pitch, money transaction, paper signing & measurement.
This is the most exciting part for some clients, for others it can be scary. Make sure to read the room and try to look for cues related to the client’s body language to better cater the experience to their expectations. Sometimes, the staff is so accustomed to getting on a boat and going for a dive that it becomes something trivial to them, however, they must remember that clients are most often excited for the opportunity and staff can build on this excitement to make it a more enjoyable experience. During the dive experience, keep the following in mind:
To ensure long-term business success, it is important to have happy clients eager to do more dives with the shop and wanting to share their experience with their peers, allowing for increased conversions. Here’s how dive shops can increase the likelihood that this will happen: