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The Importance of Service Recovery: How to NOT Lose a Loyal Customer

In order to have your customer’s loyalty, to ensure they stay longer, buy more and tell others, you have to be responsible for their entire experience, not just the things directly in your control. That is why if you are a leader, it is so important to focus on your internal service cooperation in order to improve your customer experience. Read more about why If Your Internal Service Sucks, Your External Service is Doomed.

It is critically important for you and your organization to look for ways to own and manage the entire customer experience or you could be in jeopardy of losing your loyal customer at any touch point. Yes, this means even for things you are not responsible for.

“Service recovery means that you have an opportunity to respond and work to resolve the problem at hand to ensure the customer expectations are met.” – Peter Psichogios

Here are a few ways that will help to keep your customers as net promoters (and not turn them into net detractors):

Put their problem in context. Context involves using your diagnostic skills. The other element of context is knowing your customer. As a leader, this means giving your team autonomy to use judgement in the service recovery process.

Never be rude. There is never a reason to be rude, disrespectful or condescending to a guest. Safety, security, common respect and politeness are not mutually exclusive. Rude people leave a long, lasting impression. Always show your customer respect. Many people have difficult jobs, many people have to deal with difficult situations.

Receive feedback as a gift. Don’t argue with a customer who is giving you feedback; use it to improve. Continuously. Regardless of what type of complaint, it is critically important to first listen, never argue and then apologize.

Focus on recovery. If you get it wrong the first time, you’d better get it exceptionally right the second time. Not a lot of people complain, because typically it is such a hassle. But, when someone gives you an opportunity to recover, you’d better do it exceptionally well. Recovery means listening. Recovery means being empathetic.

Listen, listen, listen. Upset customers need to vent, so let them. When you are in service recovery, expect to have a frustrated customer who may be emotional.
If you are in customer service and you are dealing with an angry customer, they may yell at you and they may even swear at you. It is your job to listen and not be defensive so that you can understand the real issue that your customer has. And ideally, solve it!

An apology, listening and respect go a long way. In order to thrive in service recovery you must a) acknowledge b) communicate c) apologize and d) answer your customer.

Remember, each and every person inside your business impacts the customer experience, their loyalty and yes, your customer’s peace of mind. If you let somebody inside of your four walls, regardless of what department they are in, they’d better be focused on enhancing the customer experience. Create exceptional experiences for your customers at every touch point.

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Jennifer Budinsky is the Director, Marketing Communications for Global Engagement Solutions whose mission is to help companies create engaging employee and customer experiences. Prior to joining GES Jennifer was the Communications and Marketing Manager at Green Living Enterprises, Canada’s leading cause marketing and event agency focused on social and environmental program development. She has a Master of Arts in Communication and Social Justice, and Bachelor of Arts Honours in Communication, Media and Film from the University of Windsor. She resides in Toronto, Ontario and spends her free time working as an actress on various television and film projects there. Jennifer is an ambassador for encouraging people to create exceptional experiences in every aspect of their lives, from work to home to play!