The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

Swim Lessons Cancellations and Make-ups

What do you do when you cancel swim classes for thunder and lightning?   BUT shortly after, the weather clears up and the instructors are gone!
What do you do when a customer shows up with their little one?  BUT you cancelled classes for the day and THEIR CHILD is devastated!
What do you do when a pump motor goes bad and you have to cancel class unexpectedly?  Even though you reschedule, it is NOT convenient for “some” of your families.
What do you do when a student misses class due to illness, travel, or because of another commitment?  But you already paid the instructor, you paid your pool rent, etc.

I am here to tell you, there is NO one right or wrong way to handle these situations. What is right for your business may be detrimental to mine. What works for me may be a disaster for you.

Also keep in mind:   What felt comfortable when you wrote your policies and procedures may not feel so comfortable now that you have an angry customer on the other end of the line.  This is normal.  And this is why we have to always be open to change.  Change is inevitable. When you choose to embrace change you will begin to see it as an opportunity for growth.

So where do you start? Personally, I start with my customers. If they aren’t happy, quite frankly, I am not happy. Second, I listen to my staff. If they aren’t happy, I am not happy. Third, I listen to my gut. If my gut tells me it doesn’t feel right–it’s time for a change!

I did leave out a fourth area that gives you an opportunity for positive growth. Research! There is no shortage of great information out there. When it comes to customer service, one of my favorite books is called “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless, by Jeffrey Gitomer. He really inspired me to make it a policy in my office to NEVER use the term policy. That’s right. We have NO POLICIES!

When you’re in the customer’s shoes, how do you feel when you hear the “policy” excuse?  Me? I feel that the business doesn’t value me as a customer. When I feel that way, I take MY business elsewhere!  Where is “elsewhere?”   Usually the nearest competitor!  

Do I ever feel taken advantage of?  Admittedly, I do. It’s not a good feeling either.  But only on a rare occasion do we take a stance and put our foot down.  Because usually we realize that the alternative is worse.  Upset customers tell everyone who will listen their side of the story–not ours.   In those situations you not only lose that customer–but perhaps several other potential customers.  Today with social media, several can become thousands overnight!   So in the end, you have to ask yourself, “is it worth it?”  “Which decision will help me sleep better at night?” That’s the bottom line.

So what can you do?  When our customers register, whether online or by phone, they acknowledge ONE BY ONE  a number of “Registration Agreements.”  If there is a problem later, my office  can refer the customer back to these BUT we handle each case individually and with care. Our goal is to make each customer feel appreciated.   As of today, here is what The Swim Lessons Company families agree to (in terms of cancellations and make-ups) when they register:

____In order to determine your make-up when a class is cancelled due to weather issues, go to and select the “Make-up Schedule” button in top navigation bar.  All make-ups due to weather will be posted within 24 hours.

____If your class is cancelled for any reason, it will be made up at the same time and same location on another available day, i.e, Thursday or Friday. The make-up will be posted on the website under “Make-up Schedule.”

____In the event of an unforeseeable cancellation, i.e., an instructor is sick, pool mechanical problem, water temperature issue, etc.—an SLC representative will call you on the number you listed under “home phone” when creating your account. This is the only contact number shown on the instructor’s roster.  If you would rather us call your cell phone, please contact the office immediately to change that information.

____While there are no refunds for missed classes that have been taught, if you miss class due to illness, travel, other obligation, etc., email Jim Reiser at  Let him know that you missed your class and would like to schedule a make-up.  Providing there is a class opening available, we can offer you a makeup at that time during the back half of the session (In other words, once the Live Online Registration Period has ended to avoid over booking a class). If all classes are full and a make-up is not possible during the current session, we are happy to offer you a full credit for that class with no expiration date to be deducted against a future registration.

So that’s what our customers “agree to” when they register, whether online or over the phone.  There are also a number of other registration agreements, but that’s how we handle “Cancellations & Make-ups” today.   I do believe that by publishing your terms and conditions in a contract form, having the customer physically “check a box” beside each term is a very pro-active way of preventing problems from arising.  It may not prevent them all, but in the big picture, you will find it to be a very effective strategy. 

I hope today’s blog helps you!  If you would like to schedule a “One-on-one Phone Consultation,” you will be delighted to see how reasonably priced they are.  To schedule your personal consultation OR for more information, check it out on the Swim Lessons University website today!

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December 30, 2013 at 5:42 pm Comments (0)

What Do the Best Swimming Instructors and Employees do Differently?

Lee Atwater once said, “Perception is reality.” As swimming instructors and swim school owners it is so important that we take this quote seriously.

Here are 10 QUICK QUESTIONS you can ask:

1. How does my facility look to our patrons?
2. How do I dress?
3. How do I interact with the children?
4. Do I make it a point to smile and say “hello _________” to each of my students?
5. Do I make it a point to smile and say “hello ________ ” to each of their parents?
6. Do I make it a point to smile say “hello” to facility employees, from custodians to supervisors? Be a class act and treat each of them with the same genuine friendliness.
7. How do I respond to the requests of my new supervisor? Do I question them in front of others or do I “embrace change” and treat them with respect? (If you have a valid concern or idea, talk to them in private. Let them know you have an idea or a thought you want to share. Now that makes a great impression!).
8. Do I make it a point to smile and say “see you next time” to my students? OR do I say: “it’s time to go–you have 3 seconds to get out of the pool!”
9. Do I make it a point to smile and say “have a great day” to parents, employees, and other patrons?
10. Am I looking to give them a little extra or a little less?

As the great heavyweight fighter Mahammad Ali once said, “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” As swimming instructors, “Don’t count the minutes, make the minutes count.” Perception is reality. If the parents, administrators, and others around you “think” you are “just putting in your time,” that is the reality of the situation. The great news is that YOU CAN CHANGE THAT PERCEPTION by knowing what the perception is…. Sometimes it is a difficult reality to face. But it makes us stronger. Be extraordinary every day, and those around you will perceive you in the most favorable way. The legendary football coach Jimmy Johnson said, “The difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary is that little “extra.”

These are the characteristics we want in Swim Lessons University swimming instructors!

I am sure you can think of many more, and I welcome you to add your idea in the comments section. I appreciate you adding value to this blog!

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim was the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at 

We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).


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September 23, 2013 at 4:14 pm Comments (0)

Focus on “User-Benefits” in Your Swim School Marketing


I recently attended a fascinating talk by Dr. John Crompton. In his keynote speech at the Midwest Conference in South Dakota, he emphasized that we need to STOP MARKETING, SELLING, AND PROMOTING, and instead FOCUS ON USER BENEFITS & HUMAN NEEDS. He said if you are going to sell Mr. Johnson what Mr. Johnson buys, you have to know how to sell through HIS EYES.

One of his slides that I thought was very interesting highlighted why children and adults alike participate in sports and recreation activities. Each of these represent basic human needs:

  • Social Recognition
  • Excitement
  • Ego Satisfaction of Achievement
  • Security of Belonging to a Group
  • Social Interaction

He also challenged the attendees to ask Three Questions:
1. How much market research do we do?
2. Why do we do what we do today?
3. What are we doing different than what we did 5 years ago?

Below I have shared a short clip of Dr. Crompton explaining the importance of what we are selling to our parents, and that we are actually selling human needs, not the activity itself:

Dr. Crompton not only holds the rank of University Distinguished Professor, he is also both a Regents Professor and a Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence at Texas A&M University. He currently teaches exclusively for the Department of Parks and Recreation, and is the most published scholar in the history of Parks & Recreation.

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April 24, 2013 at 2:38 pm Comments (0)

Swim School Email Marketing

When I say email marketing, I am not talking about sending emails to anyone. I am talking about the importance of staying in touch with your current and past customers. I am talking about creating customer loyalty.   I am talking about positioning yourself as an “expert” that your customer can turn to with confidence!

As a general rule, I send a weekly email to my local swim school patrons.  HOWEVER, I keep that email short and to the point (unlike the email I am sharing below).   Don’t send your clients a lengthy newsletter that they are going to DELETE and miss your real message.   As a rule of thumb, keep your weekly email messages to three points or less.

There is a time and place to elaborate, to give more, to educate… just don’t do it weekly.   If you send something longer on occasion and it is educational, most of your readers will be curious if not anything else.  They will want to know why you have taken the additional time to write them… and they will read it.   This is your opportunity to make a statement, to  educate, and even to persuade your reader and get your critical message across!

Here is an example of one of those longer emails.  It has what I feel is a critical message to communicate to my local swim lesson parents, and it benefits their children:

Dear SLC Families & Friends:

Why are March lessons so important? Because if you start lessons now and continue in April and May–your child will get 24 lessons BEFORE summer arrives.

Why is that important?  Consider what your child could ACCOMPLISH before summer is here:

  • Parent & Tot level Students – He/she could learn how to swim short distances and learn how to get back to the side of the pool if he fell in.
  • Swim 100 level Beginners – He/she could learn how to swim across the pool
  • Swim Strokes 200 level Swimmers – He/she could master freestyle with side breathing and backstroke–two of the most critical skills any swimmer ever learns!
  • Adv. Swim Strokes 300 & 400 level swimmers – He/she could graduate from lessons– making him like a “black belt of swimming” (blue wristband) by summer, giving your child a complete set of swimming skills.

Why 2x per week?

Listen, 1x per week of swimming lessons is clearly 100% better than ZEROx per week, and 1x per week is a great way to maintain swimming skills over the winter and certainly make some improvement.

However, IF you increase the frequency of swim lessons/practice from 1x per week to 2x per week you will CLEARLY see a significant difference in the speed/rate of improvement. STUDY AFTER STUDY clearly suggest when you increase frequency, you increase the learning rate.

As a parent of three young boys–I UNDERSTAND HOW NICELY ONCE PER WEEK fits in our busy schedules and I am okay with that in the fall and winter. But when spring time comes, it’s time to increase the frequency. Learn to swim is so important for the safety of our children.

Soccer, Karate, Basketball, Gymnastics, Dance, etc. are all skills that are TERRIFIC for young children to be exposed to and learn. But if your child is going to master a musical instrument, excel at a sport, or if you are just trying to stay fit–-do you really think once per week is enough? How much weight will you lose if you diet and exercise once per week? If you really want your child to swim not only for fun and fitness, but for skills and safety–NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE A REAL COMMITMENT TO SWIMMING. There are no magic formula, but I can promise you that our Swim Lessons University curriculum is as efficient as can be!

What do I do with my own children? We dedicate 2x per week for swim lessons from March through October and have done that for all three of my boys since they were a year old. It works!

REGISTER YOUR CHILD TODAY! Swimming is the ONLY skill that could save your child’s life!


Jim Reiser, M.S. of Physical Education

Founder – The Swim Lessons Company


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February 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm Comments (0)

Swim School Marketing Lesson

This blog is about marketing YOUR swim lessons…just to be clear. Now picture my four year old son playing basketball. While YOU may not agree with me that he could be the next Larry Bird yet, he is a great little basketball player for four years old. In fact, just today he scored 10 points in a 15-minute scrimmage! You are thinking, what does this have to do with swim school marketing?

Nolan plays basketball better than most of us market our swim schools. What do I mean? How so? He knows how to POSITION HIMSELF for SUCCESS. When the other team has the ball, where does Nolan go? He goes directly under the basket!!! My wife Heather asked him today after his game: “Nolan, why do you stand under the basket when the other team has the ball?” He said, “Well Mommy, that’s where the ball comes out! Then I can get it and I go make a basket!”

Are we positioning ourselves “under the basket?” Are we putting ourselves and our marketing materials under our customers’ noses? Or are we randomly advertising and hoping that a potential customer will find us? Think about it. If you put yourself in position like Nolan, you will not only earn more business, but you will save lots of wasted advertising dollars as well.

Here are a few of our most cost effective advertising and marketing strategies that will position you under the hoop!
1. Do Water Safety Presentations in preschools and elementary schools. At the end, you pass our your print materials as part of a water safety packet. Here is a Water Safety Presentation children, principals, and teachers love!
2. Set up a booth at Kids events, Baby Fairs, and Exhibits for children. Make sure to have your logo printed on stickers, tattoos, pens, and balloons to give away to potential customers.
3. Consider an ad in a local “parent magazine” dedicated for activities for children.
4. Get your current customers to tell their friends about you on their Facebook page. Their friends likely have children too, and they can include a link right to your website and it cost you nothing!
5. Go out of your way to create LOYAL CUSTOMERS who will rave about you to their friends. Take care of your own first, the friends and new customers will naturally follow.

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February 8, 2013 at 1:47 am Comments (0)

Swim School Staff Training

Have you ever thought about training your swim school staff in customer service?  How well are your swim instructors and front office personnel doing with “the welcome?”  Surveys of customer service firms show that the act that most influences people’s satisfaction is the welcome! In one survey, 96% of the clients who said that they felt “very welcome” when they entered the company’s office, said they were “very satisfied” with the OVERALL EXPERIENCE. So the initial welcome FRAMES THE ENTIRE EXPERIENCE!  “The key moment in every relationship is the VERY FIRST.”  So if you want to improve your numbers, don’t underestimate the “non-swimming” part of your swim school staff training.

To maximize the success of your swim program, you will want to spend time teaching your swim instructors how you want them to greet the students and parents.  I would suggest that you call your office from time to time from an unknown phone number to hear how they sound when they answer the phone and greet your potential customers.  Jeffrey Gitomer has a great tip for those struggling with that:  Imagine you are talking to grandma.   Imagine you are getting a call from a friend you haven’t heard from in years, he says.   That’s how the tone of  their voice should sound when they are greeting your customers.  Thirdly, the way you reply to email.  In our local business, I am the only one who replies to emails.  Replying to emails can be tricky if it is going to be done well, and I would much rather my front line people TALK to my customers, especially if they have a complaint or concern.   You want your customers to hear and feel that you really care.  Typed words rarely do the trick.

I hope this blog was beneficial to you and your swim program.   If you have questions or if you would like to do a “One-on-one Phone Consultation,” I would more than happy to help you solve your specific problems or help you brainstorm on your ideas.   I personally guarantee our session will help.

To your success!

Jim Reiser, Executive Director

Swim Lessons University


The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).



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November 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm Comments (0)



Dear SLC Families & Friends:

That’s right!  I want to discount lessons for MY FRIENDS!  Especially those of my friends that VALUE the importance of “ongoing swimming instruction” which ensures children will not only learn basic skills, but they will learn to swim well!

In my opinion, every child should continue lessons until they receive the “I.M. GRADUATE BLUE BRACELET.”   That means they master all the skills in the Swim 100(Red) ,  Swim Strokes 200 (Yellow), , Adv. Swim Strokes 300(Green) , and Lifesaving Strokes 400 (Turquoise) so they can graduate to swim team.   AND if YOU DO value “ongoing swimming instruction,” I will reward you with a progressively higher discount for consecutive sessions, $10 off, $15 off, $20 off, $25 off, $30 off, etc.



1.  SEND ME A FRIEND REQUEST and “Let’s be friends!” Here’s a direct link to my facebook page.

2.  POST on your facebook wall a suggestion to YOUR FACEBOOK FRIENDS to check out The Swim Lessons Company at or call us at 865-2629. Make sure to type in our website address so there is a hot link that will take them right to our site, and please make sure to tell them about your positive experience with us!

3. POST on our Facebook wall something similar. Any type of testimonial or thank you would be perfect!

That’s it!  Just CALL MY OFFICE at 865-2629 and let them know that you are participating in the FACEBOOK FRIENDS, CONSECUTIVE SESSION DISCOUNT!  All I ask is that you post a new testimonial on your page each time you receive that discount.   This is optional, but we’d love you to post pictures of your child in our lessons too!   Your friends will enjoy seeing your child learning to swim and improving his/her swimming skills!

As long as the sessions are consecutive, each consecutive registration gives you bigger savings! If you miss more than two sessions in a row, then you would start back at the original discount of $10.00.   I understand there are other things in life you have to do, i.e., vacations, other activities, etc.  But don’t forget, NO OTHER SPORT SKILL CAN SAVE A CHILD’S LIFE!


Jim Reiser, M. S. of Physical Education

Founder – The Swim Lessons Company


p.s.  I will be posting videos on our facebook and youtube page that show what children can learn when they enroll with The Swim Lessons Company with Swim Lessons University Certified Instructors.   I appreciate you watching and “liking” those posts!

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May 25, 2012 at 4:31 pm Comments (0)

Scheduling Swim Lesson Sessions

How do you schedule your swim lesson sessions?

  • Once per week for eight to 12 weeks.
  • Once or twice per week charging monthly dues.
  • Twice per week for three to six weeks.
  • Three or four days per week for two weeks.

First off, if you offer quality swim lessons, your customers will adapt to whatever you offer.  However, with that said, especially in this economy, it is certainly worth taking a closer look at how you will achieve the most profitable return.

From a skill acquisition standpoint, I prefer seeing my students twice per week over a long period of time.  Ideally, I would like most children in the pool twice per week for a solid six months a year.  The problem is that as a business owner, even if you are considered a swim lessons guru, the majority of parents aren’t necessarily going to do exactly what you suggest.  Why?  The excuses are endless, i.e., inconvenience, activity overload, homework, sibling activity conflicts, work conflicts, financially impossible, etc.

As a business owner, I try to adapt to the needs of my customers.  After all, if you can’t get them in your pool your customer will make one of two choices:

  1. They will keep their child out of the pool all together.
  2. They will leave you for your best competitor who will adapt to their needs.

I have a problem with both of those alternatives… don’t you? So here is my solution:

I have been running our local swim school, The Swim Lessons Company in South Carolina since 1994.  Over time, I have learned and experienced through trial and error what the parents in this area are willing to do.  We have offered each of the different scenarios I have mentioned above, and they have all had their success and failures.

I personally prefer more success that than failure.  I prefer to learn from my failures.  What I have learned and concluded was that my offerings had to change with the season.  During most of the academic year, parents aren’t willing to take lessons more than once per week.  During the spring as summer is approaching, parents start acquiring some anxiety so to speak.  Why?  Summer is coming and their child can’t swim or doesn’t swim well enough.  When summer arrives, they are ready to be at the pool every day.  So I simply learned to go along with their interests and offer what the majority of parents seem to want.  For my business model, what they want turns out to be most effective when offered in a “sessions” format because it works nicely with our online registration program.

Here’s what our typical year looks like:

Winter – Six to eight weeks, 1x per week

March – Four weeks, 2x per week

April – Four weeks, 2x per week

May – Four weeks, 2x per week

Summer – Two-week sessions, 3-4x per week.

Indian Summer (early fall) – Six weeks, 1x per week.

Fall – Eight weeks, 1x per week.

After much trial and error, this appears to be the best system for swim lessons in Columbia, South Carolina.  If we were in Florida or a different geographical area with different demographics, we may find something completely different works best.

For my own children (three boys now 1.5, 3.5, & 8.5 years old), I have them in the pool twice per week for six to eight months because this is what I personally believe is the best approach.  I stick with this routine until they graduate from lessons as my eight year old Jeb did just before his sixth birthday.  At that point, I want my children doing at least three months of swim team a year to further strengthen and refine their swimming skills.  If they want to do more than that, that’s their choice.  But like buckling their seat belts when they are in the car, doing less isn’t their choice.  Jeb will be nine this summer and he has been on my little novice swim team since he was six years old.  After doing our twice per week swim lesson program since he was a toddler, he could competently swim all four competitive strokes as well as sidestroke, elementary backstroke, and tread water.  So since he turned six, he has done swim team twice per week for three months a year.  I am satisfied with that because he is a strong swimmer.  I have no problem with him playing soccer and basketball in the fall, winter, and spring.  I think this is perfectly fine.  But if you’re eight years old and you can’t swim–it is my opinion that child should be spending more time in the pool and a little less on the fields until he/she can swim well for safety reasons.

I wish I could force that philosophy on my patrons, but I can’t.  It could put me out of business.   Instead, I offer what works and I offer what works in their schedules, in our part of the country.  Good business isn’t about us, it’s about our customers.  Hope this helps you!  My very best to you and your program!

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March 3, 2012 at 2:19 am Comments (0)

Summer Swim Lessons Planning

A great New Year’s resolution for swim school owners may be to simply plan better than the year before.   Like Santa Claus, I’m making my list and checking it twice!   So what am I doing right now?  Here’s my first draft of my “To Do’s” for my 2012 Learn-to-Swim season:

1. I email my current staff to find out which Swim Instructors will be back to teach for our spring and summer sessions, and how often and at what times they can teach.

2. I create a Staff Schedules for all eight of this spring and summer’s locations.  In the beginning planning stages, I just use a basic word table to organize and project how many new swim instructors I will need to hire, train, and mentor.

3. I “tweak” last year’s Help Wanted ad (if needed) and I pay to have it published in the Daily Gamecock (our local university’s newspaper).  I NEVER provide my phone number in the ad.  I provide my email only.  I will call them IF I like their pre-interview questionnaire which I will get to in a minute.

4.  I set the dates of this year’s classroom staff training.  This year I will lease a conference room at the Columbia Wingate Hotel on Sunday March 11th, 18th, 25th, and April 1st from 1PM – 6PM.  All new instructors will be required to attend.  All returning instructors are encouraged to attend and are paid a minimum wage for attending.  New instructors are not paid, however, their certification cost is “on me.”

5.  I respond to every swim teacher candidate who emails me expressing their interest in the swim instructor position (which is the first step of my hiring process).  I email them a “Pre-Interview Questionnaire.”   My questionnaire includes items such as contact info., summary of experience, availability for spring and summer, ability to attend all training sessions and mentoring sessions, and the phone number of their previous two employers).  This helps me weed out candidates who wouldn’t work out and waste my time interviewing.  I only want to interview candidates who sound great on this pre-interview questionnaire.

6.  I schedule Interviews at my office.  I pencil in all candidates I like that and are ready to accept the position.  I ask them if I can have their permission to submit their information for a background check at that time.  Once I fill all my swim instructor positions, I continue to offer “potential positions.”  I always offer the next half dozen or so applicants free training with a potential position.  I invite them to attend the training with the understanding that I may or may not have an immediate opening.  Those candidates who do the training always make a really good impression because it shows me that they are very enthusiastic about the position.  In addition, it never fails that candidates who accept the job end up changing their minds or their plans for whatever reason.  When that happens, you have an enthusiastic instructor trained and ready to go!  If it doesn’t happen, then I didn’t break any promises and they benefited from the free training.  And nine times out of ten, you eventually get them on board, and both you and your new instructor feel blessed!

So this is the beginning of my “To Do List” for the summer.  Of course there are many other items, i.e., website updating, determining which local events to be an exhibitor, where to advertise, etc. that will come up.


The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University Online Swim Instructor Certification  and curriculum, make sure to visit us at

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

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January 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm Comments (5)


I really enjoy traveling via Amtrak.  Traveling in their View Liner suite is great, and I prefer it any day over flying or a long drive.  But Amtrak is really “missing the boat” on their customer service and their “policies” on their Amtrak Guest Rewards system.  Suddenly they are reminding me of the airlines.  My blood pressure is probably off the charts right now they have me so angry.   So here is the experience I had today, and followed by my professional advice on how to take care of your loyal customers.

NEVER BUY AMTRAK POINTS! The Amtrak Rewards system  doesn’t add up or make any sense. They had an Amtrak Points Rep tell me to buy $270 worth of points to and my next trip would be free.  It ended up being a free trip via Coach which is worth about $100.00. Their terrible policies don’t even let their managers refund my $270 for the points I purchased three days ago!  Their excuse:  Because points are through a 3rd party service,!   Well someone has by $270 and I would bet Amtrak has most of it!  Talk about bad customer service. My blood pressure is off the charts right now!  By the way, I called   They told me they didn’t have authority but Amtrak did.  They put my call back to Amtrak.  Do you see the pattern?  I feel like I have been robbed.

If you’re going to have a “guest rewards” system, shouldn’t the goal be to make your guests feel special?  Well I feel “especially ripped off.”

If you’re in business, whatever you do, do what you can to make your guest feel special.  Let them know that you care.   Throw out policies that will make them never want to use your business again and tell their 800 plus friends about their bad experience on facebook (which is what I just did).   I guess big companies, especially those that have a monopoly on their market can afford it.  I know my swim school can’t.   And I know one thing for sure… I NEVER want to make a customer as mad as Amtrak made me today, especially without ever coming up with a solution to make things right.  Every business is going to fail their customer at one point or another for one reason or another.  But what makes you great is how you react and respond to the problem.   I was going to tell all my Swim Lessons University and Swim Lessons Company friends and followers about how Amtrak fixed my problem.  Instead I am telling anybody and anyone who wants to listen that it feels like Amtrak just robbed me of $270.00.

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December 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm Comments (0)

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