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CX Stories

Tales of Legendary CX: The Snorkel Store

Here's a tale of legendary CX from the AskNicely purple couch. Jeremy Steinman, Digital Director at The Snorkel Store, stopped by to show us some gear and chat about how The Snorkel Store uses customer feedback to fuel its customer experience obsession.

You're on vacation in Maui and you decide to experience something cool, like swimming with sea turtles. So, you look for a dive shack to rent snorkel gear.

When you get there your gear is pulled out of a bucket of bleach water and handed to you. You may have to guess where to find the best beach for snorkeling. Or worse, you’re on a boat excursion and you’re handed snorkel gear that is often random and most likely not custom fit.If you're a beginner snorkeler, you may struggle as you learn to breathe with a snorkel and attempt to swim wearing ill-fitting swim fins, all while following the guide who is off to the races to show you a turtle. Sound familiar?

We all seem to accept that while retail surf shops (like Billabong) are fun, colorful, clean and fashionable. Snorkel shops tend to be kinda stodgy and dank. Or worse, you go in for a snorkel package only to find yourself at a timeshare pitch in order to get a great snorkel deal.

The Snorkel Store’s founders, Micah Wolf and Daniel Sykes, felt there had to be a better way. It's essential to get custom-fit to have a quality first experience. So they set out to build a customer experience, rather than a shop.

Jeremy told us, “Many people just accept that snorkeling is a hit or miss experience. But we believe that, when done right, snorkeling can be a life-changing experience. Our customer feedback validates our belief that curating and personalizing every step, from store to gear to beach, can make things go from so-so to exceptional.”

They mean it.  Their website says, “We’re a customer service department that happens to have a storefront.”

What separates you from the usual snorkel rental?

“To begin with, we care about clean. You won’t find a bucket of bleach anywhere. Instead, we hand wash our gear with soap and water in stainless steel sinks.” Bleach isn’t the best for people or ocean life.

They thought about every point in their customer journey. Instead of buying the easiest equipment — pre-made kits — they carefully curated the softest face masks, the best dry-mouth snorkels with special mouthpieces, and great-fitting fins. They offer a clean, comfortable, cool storefront to custom fit each customer. They even go a step further and curate a daily report on beach conditions, and personalize the best beaches for the day/stay of the client.

“The best thing about Maui is swimming with the turtles,” Jeremy said. “We make that experience easy, comfortable, and most importantly, memorable.”

What are the top three ways customer feedback has helped your company?

“Our 97 NPS...” (97 is incredibly high, congrats!) “...validates our premise that people want a better snorkel experience and we’re paying attention to every step of that experience.

“We learned that our customers love our content. They especially appreciate the Morning Report.” (See an example below.)

"Our agents collect live information on all the top snorkeling zones in Maui and send out a daily report to our customers. It helps them understand microclimates and accurately answers, ‘what is the best beach for snorkeling today?’ We know we can expand on this email and it’s a welcome addition in our customer’s inbox."

“It’s helping us understand our customer’s needs. For instance, we get a few comments asking us to deliver snorkel gear to their hotel. We thought about this long and hard and decided it didn’t fit our core value of a personalized experience. We need our customers to come in to be custom fitted. It's key to the experience and dropping gear off at a hotel is not going to accomplish that.”

So how are they addressing this note? “We now know we need to develop content that informs our customers how we custom fit their equipment for comfort and usability.”

How does AskNicely help?

“About 12 days after they visit our store we send them a survey. Most people take a seven- to ten-day vacation. This gives them some time to get home and digest their experience.”

This allows people to remember to leave a good review and to give The Snorkel Store a good idea of the lasting impression people have of their experience.

What does success look like?

“When people return year after year, we know we’re on the right track,” Jeremy said.

With over 400 Yelp reviews averaging 5 stars, and Hall of Fame Service winner this year, and for 5 straight years of Certificate of Excellence on Trip Advisor, The Snorkel Store has proven that thinking about the customer experience through all points of the journey leads to happiness and growth. ~Mahalo

Want to understand how you can increase retention for growth in your business? Book a call with one of our Customer Experience Experts today.

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AskNicely helps companies create and maintain the superior customer experiences that grow their business. Rated #1 by G2Crowd for Enterprise Feedback Management, AskNicely is the premier solution for enabling front-line staff to give delightful, consistent customer experiences. Founded in 2014, AskNicely has offices in Portland, Oregon and Auckland, New Zealand.

About the author

John Ballinger

He's cool.

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