Be A Champion For Your Customers
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional
Welcome to the January 2022 Editorial of The Dive Industry Professional. After two sucky years in the recreational diving industry, I am no longer optimistic about the world economy or the world political outlook. I have become a realist. Things are what they are. The year 2022 will be what it turns out to be. And even though I have never really felt this way before, I am not alone in my thinking. I’ve listened to friends and family, collogues and peers, local and national media, and gosip I’ve heard on the internet. It seems that most people, in general, are not making New Year’s resolutions this year. Instead, they are playing the cards they are delt and living each day to the best of their ability. Because of the uncertainty in the economy and world situation, that seems like a very normal thing to do this year. I’m willing to give it a try.
Today is only the third day of the year, and the first day back to work. Many of my industry peers are off for another two days. Those are the ones getting a paycheck from their employers. We self employed people are working today, like we did over the weekend. Like we do every weekend. That made me think this morning as I sat down in front of my computer. Dive Industry Professionals who have their own companies are choosing to put in the extra time because we have Members, Dealers and Customers who are counting on us. I guess you can say that we are their self appointed Champions. We watch their backs. We go to bat for them. We work to produce outcomes that benefit them. We go into the office early and stay late so they could be more successful in their jobs, helping their customers. We are their Champions so they could be Champions to their customers. Now it makes sense to me. We are the Champions of the Champions.
We are going to need a lot of Champions this year. I’m not smart enough, rich enough, strong enough or brave enough to try to do everything myself and still hope to get everything done 100% right. I don’t have unlimited time, money and manpower to be a one-man band or a one-trick pony. I need workers, partners, collaborators and task-specific experts to help me get my work done. I need, we all need, collaborative talented input to achieve maximum professional outcomes. Our customers require no less than that from their Industry Supply Chain and Demand Chain Champions.
There is one little difference in how I am looking at the need for collaboration this year. In past years, I have been more or less of a cheerleader trying to rally the diving industry to work together for the good of the industry. My montra was that we could all accomplish so much more if we all worked together. This year is different. Working together is still very important to our success, but we need to work together because more is at steak. Yes, there has been more opportunity created because of pent-up demand and two years of decline in market activity, but seizing that opportunity is like searching for gold in a minefield. It’s going to take more planning and better execution. This year we will need to work together with strategic partners who have specific task skills we need to complete our mission. We need to work with someone who has as much to gain or lose as we do. That’s what makes a 2022 partnership what it needs to be.
There will be plenty of opportunity to work with your strategic partners in the supply of demand chains. Equipment Manufacturers, Retailers and Sales Reps will have to coordinate their merchandise orders more efficiently and promptly. Training Agencies will need to relook at their annual dues policy in relationship to their certification sales history. They may have to increase their customer service efforts to support their current customer base. Travel companies need to establish and use a better channel of distribution, rather than make futile attempts at achieving vertical integration. There is just not enough time, money, or manpower to be successful using this business model. Governments, Tourism Bureaus and Resort Destinations need to coordinate efforts to open their Countries / Islands to the tourism market and make visiting their destinations relatively seamless. Resort Destinations and Dive Operators needs to work with Dive Travel Wholesalers and Industry Association to attract high volume, travel buyers to their destinations. Dive Travel Wholesalers and Industry Associations need to be more active in working with Dive Travel Specialists at the retail level to sell dive travel. Retail Dive Travel specialists need to communicate with their customers more frequently, efficiently, and professionally about the joys of dive travel and why group travel with you can be a very positive social experience.
There is much more work to do with Service Providers, Non-Profit Organizations, Dive Boat Operators, Dive Clubs and Dive Industry Professionals at the Instructor level. This pandemic has affected us all and we are all in need of adjusting the way we do business with the consuming diver public.
If you were planning to hit the ground running this year, you are already three days late. Now is a good time to start planning your 2022 calendar.