Lifeguard shortage …

I have been in the industry for over a decade. 15 years to be exact. In one decade there has been so many changes. The changes have not been bad. In my professional opinion, the changes that are being made are to keep aquatic facilities safer. I am going to touch on a few points.

  1. The cost of the lifeguard training course is too expensive-the economy is doing better in NJ. The cost of everything is going up. If you want to have training courses that do things by the book you will be spending at least $350+ for non re-certification courses. That’s because you are getting highly qualified instructors, all of the training equipment, and training that will make sure your guards know what they are doing. Businesses that are really cheap are questionable and you should ask questions.
  2. Today’s teens have a different style of work ethic- there is no hustle anymore in every candidate. #millenials. Many aquatic facilities are not set up for this generation. Management is looking for the hustle, loyalty, and respect. GUESS WHAT!! You aren’t going to get it. My suggestion is you do some reading in how to work with #millenials.

a.) your staff wants to be complimented- if your the manager who doesn’t like to give positive praise, you better work on this. #immediatefeedback is necessary . Your staff wants to be valued.

b.) equality and fairness- you can’t play favorites and you can’t say the things you used too. Our next generation understands and knows their rights. Treat your staff with respect, fairness, and professionalism.

C.) it’s not always about the $$- I have guards who would rather work in teams and share the work, rather than by themselves with no support.

D. Have some fun- how can you reward your staff? Employee of the month? Gift cards? Raffles?

E. Get rid of the EMAIL and use messaging apps- #imessage #groupme #whatsapp #viber get with the program. Trust me I didn’t understand hashtags until the guards explained it to me!

3. Paying the guards- these kids went through a 33.5 hour course. They have skills and medical certifications that a staff member at a retail store doesn’t have. Minimum wage is going up. Start making plans to pay for this.

4. Single guard facilities are NOT safe- Red Cross courses have multiple rescuer scenarios for a reason! They have been tested through an advisory council of doctors and other professionals. Communities need to invest in two guards minimum. Unless you are guarding a hot tub, #multipleguard facilities!

5. AED training- the AED doesn’t replace cpr, it adds to the care. NJ bather code requires a machine at every facility. #dontletteagedybeyourlesson.

6. Three year certification versus 2 year certification- rescues change and let’s be honest, when you aren’t practicing or doing, you are losing. This lets aquatic managers re-train and monitor areas of re-training.

7. Audits- every job has an evaluation system. Lifeguards have the most important job. Management needs to check everything from uniform, to visibility, to the physical well being of their guards. Once you let this slide, job performance becomes complacent. #raisethebar

Dealing with unhappy customers

I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect and make mistakes everyday. As a business owner, I have made mistakes where training supplies did not come in on time, or that my staff made mistakes. There are even times where my team does the very best they can, and we just do not satisfy the customer. So what do I do when I realize that I make a mistake or get feedback from a customer that is not positive.

  1. No questions I get upset as my intentions are never to upset a customer. I take a breath.
  2. I research the complaint and get as much information as I can about the concern.
  3. I reach out to the customer by email or by phone to thank the customer for sharing their concerns.
  4. If it is a mistake that my team or I make, I always respond honestly and try to see what I can do to resolve the issue. Yes! Refunds are given sometimes.
  5. I try to learn from the mistake and do better.
  6. Train train train so mistakes don’t repeat.

Dealing with customers who are difficult or entitled.

  1. Identify the concern and apologize ONLY if the business makes a mistake. If no mistake was made, than I calmly explain where the misconception is. Communication is key!
  2. Repeat what you can do for the customer.
  3. Refer to the terms and conditions that the customer signed and read on the website and registration page that is available 24/7.
  4. If the customer gets fresh. I calmly let them know this and politely ask them to call back or meet when they are calmer.
  5. Follow up in writing.
  6. Use their concern as a learning tool.

Negative feedback and reviews allow businesses to make improvements.

Things never to say or do to a customer who is difficult

  1. Lie or be dishonest
  2. Use profanity.
  3. Respond with sarcasm
  4. Share personal information in social media responses.
  5. Ignore the concern. Ignoring means that the business is guilty. If you need time to gather information than state it.
  6. Reflect and move on!