Welcome to the Summer Camp Leadership blog. For those of us who lead summer camps, making a positive difference in the lives of young people is our passion. Turning that passion into a reality, however, takes more than the ability to lead songs, teach archery or plan craft projects. Creating camp experiences that truly transform lives takes leadership. Leadership that creates a vision for the future, leadership that inspires and engages others, leadership that remains focused and stays the course. My hope is through this blog you'll find ideas, inspiration and tools to help you be a great summer camp leader.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Oops...Now What?

Despite all of your planning, organizing and leadership efforts, inevitably someone, somewhere in your camp, will make a mistake that negatively impacts a camper/camp family, retreat guest or other key constituent. What do you do now?

In the past couple of decades a whole body of knowledge has developed around the concept of service recovery. Service recovery is what to do after you've made a mistake. Research shows recovering effectively from service problems can have a very positive impact on people's perception of your organization. 

Ron Zemke and Chip Bell, two of the leaders in the field of service recovery, have developed a very effective six step service recovery process that works well in a wide range of settings, including camp. The process is one that every camp staff member who has regular contact with camper families and retreat guests should know and be empowered to use. The process involves the following.

1. Acknowledge that the person has been inconvenienced and apologize for it.
2. Listen, empathize and ask open ended questions.
3. Offer a fair fix to the problem.
4. If needed, offer some value-added atonement for the inconvenience/injury.
5. Keep your promises.
6. Follow up.