A Manager’s Guide to Service Recovery
5 years ago by

Every business strives for a ‘zero-error’ service. The obsession for doing it right the first time causes businesses to overlook the need and importance of creating a service recovery plan. The question is; what do you do when things go wrong? Do you close your eyes and pray for the problem to go away? Do you blame your employees for making an error followed by some hasty decisions? Or do you immediately put into effect a systematic plan for correcting the mistake and making it up to the customer?

To err is human, and customers understand this. As long as you are not a habitual error maker, a rare error can sometimes turn an angry customer into a loyal customer. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? If you have not heard about the service recovery paradox, you must be asking yourself how this is possible.

Think Strategically

Start by taking a deep breath and blocking the huge influx of negative thoughts that is probably making its way to your brain right now. Your business committed a service failure, fine. Do not commit another error by rushing through the whole thing or making a hasty decision. Service failures can be huge sometimes, so reacting with patience can save you from making matters worse and help in skillfully tackling the situation.

Empower the Customer to Decide

After you have thought everything through and apologized, it is time to ask the client what he thinks ought to be done in order to make up for the error. Sending discount coupons might not always be the right choice. Assumptions at this stage can and will erase all chances of recovering from the mistake. Even though you might not always be able to do as the client wishes, asking him will give you an idea of what he wants.

Quick Delivery

The customer has told you what he wants; utilize customer feedback to make a decision that is in the best interest of your business, and most importantly, the client. Nothing will make up for your client’s precious time that has been lost during this whole process. Throwing in something extra as a gesture of apology and care will send a very positive message to your client.

Successfully pulling off a service recovery is pretty much dependent on the management, rather than the frontline staff. Nothing will delight your customers more than having felt the beauty of a successful service recovery.

Analyze the Mistake

Gathering vital data from the incident will allow you to analyze the issue and form a plan in case an episode of this sort happens again. Find out the root cause of the problem and work with the team and come up with a solution. Learning from your mistakes ensures smooth sailing in the future.


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