Your staff members are critical to your success so it’s important that you arm them with the information they need to be good at what they do. There is a role that is critical to the excellence of your lessons and your customer service. It is a role that is titled in several different ways, but is basically a liaison point person who helps the office stay informed about what’s going on in the pool and helps parents and instructors to have all of the information and support that they need.
Whether you call this person a program director, deck supervisor or floor manager, you probably have someone in your organization that fills this role for you.
This person is the face of your school to parents and can help to make them ecstatic about their experience with your school.
These folks are:
- Liaison point for parental questions
- Support for water staff
- Informational conduit for school parents
- Mediator between instructors and parents
Because of this person’s visibility and availability to your stakeholders, it is very important that he or she represent your perspective and uphold and enforce your policies and procedures. Excellence in this role requires making good hires and then training them to meet expectations.
For Kelly Gaines at Charlotte Aquatics, this role is filled by her program director.
“Our program director an integral part of what happens throughout the facility because he or she not only runs and helps develop the school’s program but also liaisons between instructors and parents and provides support to the water staff.”
Steven Waterhouse of British Swim School notes that they depend on deck managers to provide good customer service. They are critical in making sure that our schools maintain schedules and in keeping an eye on the overall delivery of classes.
From John Kirk’s perspective, the role of someone like a deck manager becomes more vital as the swim school grows. For a smaller school, the cost may be difficult to justify. For schools the size of Little Otter Swim School, where John operates two locations, the role is vital. His deck managers are the liaison between students, teachers and parents.
“We typically hire more experienced teachers in this role with the expectation that they embrace the role of coach. The more awesome we can help our teachers become, the better the Little Otter experience is for everyone. I can’t imagine running our program without deck managers.”
The tipping point for putting this role in place may not be a product of pure enrollment numbers since a lot depends on how many classes are going on at the same time and how many children are in the water. It’s more a question of how many different activities, teachers, student and parent groups need attention?
What are some examples of how this works?
Example #1: Your liaison person, perhaps program director, is trained to be knowledgeable about all people and processes that make the school work. It’s critical to being effective in helping parents when they have questions because it doesn’t make parents very happy when they are handed off to other staff members for answers. The goal is for your liaison person to always be able to accurately answer – or if necessary – find the answer for the parent.
Example #2: Instructors are trained to know when a child is ready to advance to another level. If there is an issue with a parent regarding this decision, your liaison person steps in to handle it. This is the best policy because the directors have the most experience, training and knowledge of every facet of the situation.
Your liaison person is often the face of your swim school to parents. This is a critical contact point that can enhance the parents’ perspective of your school or not. With that in mind, it is of utmost importance for owners to make sure that their liaison people are thoroughly trained so that they are capable of nurturing stakeholder relationships, managing the experience for students and parents and maintaining the flow of information in throughout the facility.