For the past 50 Years, the Diving Locker has operated 363 days a year, only closing on Christmas Day and New Years Day. Sometimes we’ll fit a day or two in for a staff getaway. Otherwise, we are pretty much always open.
March 17th was the day that everything changed for us. The Diving Locker made the very difficult decision to close shop for the safety of our customers and staff during the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. Although we were closed to the public we had one dedicated staff member in the store at a time, answering phone calls/ emails and getting products ready for shipment on our online store. Coming into the shop and not seeing your coworkers was extremely weird and not interacting with customers daily was also extremely weird. The streets were empty on my walk to work and on my walk back home. The world seemed at a standstill. But we were still trekking along.
I have worked in customer service for so many years, so not having that face to face interaction with customers was vastly different for me. I have always been comfortable over the phone and with emails but being on the sales floor is something I love. I like getting to know the customer and making sure I can meet their needs in person. With COVID-19 we had to come up with different ways to provide that service.
This meant really going into every detail over the phone, sending pictures of products, size charts and helping explain how to take measurements properly. Transitioning to personal shoppers over the phone and getting items ready for pickup/ shipment during this pandemic made us – as a retailer – get creative with how to meet the needs of our customers while maintaining safety. It challenged me and my skills as a customer service representative for the shop, and this was just the beginning.
I also have the instructor side in me itching to get in the water and teach. What I love about my job is the usual balance between shop work and ocean time. I, like the rest of the world, was missing my balance. As a team we came up with more online programs, and even a Trivia night so I could get that interaction with students, divemaster’s, etc. It may not be the ocean but at least we get to see our students and stay excited for future diving to be done.
Next Step Reopening!
As we moved into the process of reopening it forced us to really be meticulous in our planning and think about the best way to protect our staff and our customers. We worked extremely hard to make sure we could think of any problem and how we could come up with a solution for both our retail and instruction. It was especially important that we make sure our customers and staff feel safe.
The first day of opening I personally was excited, yet cautious. Thinking about everything we came up with and wondering how it was actually going to plan out in action? We had sanitizer stations set up and reminded each person of those procedures.
It felt like a completely different world as customers started trickling in. I always make sure to greet customers, but now my greetings transition into reminders about hand sanitizing and not touching anything. I find myself stepping back, needing to remind myself of social distancing, being aware of sanitization, avoiding bringing out too many products for customers to try, and being aware of which products need sanitizing. I pride myself on helping customers with everything I can, it is hard to let them do a little more themselves while you oversee.
My every move was calculated. A quite different sales floor than I am used to. As the days go by, I feel these calculated moves becoming easier and more apart of the day to day routine. This new stage of operations will become 2nd nature for us as we move forward as a business. It brings me great pride to see how businesses and people adapt to circumstances. We as a team have stuck together and are continuing to move forward. We have set up Safaris and guidelines for how we will run courses with the world we are in today
I have enjoyed watching our customers support through our online store, joining us for Trivia nights, online courses, Instagram challenges, and keeping up with us along the way. Seeing that response has been amazing.
This pandemic made us stronger as a team and a diving community, and we are ready for the next stages of getting our divers back in the water safely.
See you guys soon! Don’t forget to sanitize