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.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thank You for Complaining

As camp directors we all dread that phone call. A parent is on the phone and wants to talk with you about something that happened at camp. You don't know what the caller wants, but it's a good bet it's not to tell you what a great job you're doing.

While I don't look forward to these calls, I've come to realize they present an opportunity for several positive things to happen. 

1. Opportunity to get confidential feedback - The reality is we can't be everywhere or know everthing that happens at camp. Staff often filter what they tell us. Frank, honest feedback from parents, regardless of how hard it is to hear, keeps us in touch with what's really happening at camp. It points out problems and areas that need our attention.

2. Opportunity to learn more about what campers and parents expect - While we think we know what parents and campers want from camp, complaint calls from parents help clarify what's important to them. They help us understand key issues that are on the mind of those we serve.

3. Opportunity to showcase your professional leadership - When problems occur, you have the opportunity to demonstrate to parents your professionalism. It's a chance to show you can effectively communicate and solve problems. You can give them a front row seat to how you lead the organization.

4. Opportunity to build loyalty - Research in the field of service recovery shows that customers who have a problem that is effectively handled by the organization actually are more loyal  than customer who've never experienced a problem.

Next time you get that phone call, remember that parent is calling with an opportunity for you.