How do you fulfill service recovery when you are guilty of poor service? This a very viable topic even if you think you are perfect. Yeah, I was wrong once last year… I think. Right.
Seriously though, great customer service is a cornerstone for any successful business. I can be an expert in my industry, but if I am unable to make a connection with my customers, I misunderstand what they want and need. And then if I fail to exceed their expectations, I will lose those customers. So, what happens when I falter in any of those key areas?
Well, when the worst happens (it has and it will), I have learned that service recovery can be simple, but it’s frequently not easy for every business owner to do. According to Patricia Lotich from The Thriving Small Business website, “Service recovery is a theory that suggests that a customer who has a bad experience and receives a prompt, effective response to their issues will be a more loyal customer than a customer who had no bad experience at all.” And this experience does require some skill to recover that customer who received poor service from me. Here are a few I recommend you work on:
Read their body language. Notice their raised eye brow. Before the words even come out of their mouth, you can save some serious embarrassment. Quickly turn the conversation to “I am sorry,” and eat as much humble pie as possible.
Nothing is free, except an apology. We have all heard that nothing is truly free; there is always a catch. Well, actually one thing is free and though it may cost you some pride, no money will be deducted from your bank account. Simply take responsibility and apologize. Say something like, “I apologize, I am deeply sorry and I will do whatever I can to make this right.”
Act fast. Now, pick up the pieces. Do not sulk over your oversight. Get to work harder than you ever have before to remedy the issue quickly. To truly recover you must do all of the above quickly. Any delay implies that you do not truly care and that you are not honestly sorry. For example, get the new TV on its way ASAP. Don’t overanalyze the situation by questioning how it fell off the wall or the customer’s word on “who touched it last.” Just get the replacement on its way and start the RMA process, in that order. Don’t wait for the replacement RMA to come in. Buy a new one and deal with the RMA swap later. Trust me.
And then, communicate frequently. Keep your customer involved and updated with every step of the recovery process. A phone call is best, but at the very least, zip out an email confirming your problem-solving process is moving forward.
What happens next? In a Temkin Group report from March 2016 titled, “What Happens After a Good or Bad Experience,” statistics revealed that a strong service recovery process reduces customer losses from 63 percent to 24 percent. Bruce Temkin reports, “It’s undeniable that a good service recovery after a bad experience provides excellent results… If the service recovery is very good, there’s a 10x improvement in consumers who increase their spending…”
Bottom line: Do your best to avoid problems. But when they happen, do some serious service recovery.
Tony, the AV guy