What is “Service Recovery?” I was asked this in a meeting recently when I was describing the approach to take with certain clients. I know it’s a term used a lot but not defined a lot, so let’s define it.
I prefer the literal interpretation – you are recovering from an issue. The way you’re recovering is through customer service. The issue may be a bad experience at your sports event. It may be a rude inspector by your government agency. Maybe it was an excessive wait by the healthcare provider.
Regardless of the issue, the point is that you’re currently “behind the 8-ball” in the eyes of your customer, and you need to recover. You need to get back up, get back in the good graces of the guest who’s upset.
You can avoid the recovery, but you risk still being a scourge in the eyes of the customer. You can recover WITHOUT customer service. That means fixing a product or replacing a part – without a process or personality surrounding that replacement that even remotely conveys “I care” and “I apologize.”
But this is the 21st century. People expect the personalization with the product replacement. They expect the smooth process with the replacement part.
Especially in a service industry, how do you fix a bad experience? How do you fix the interaction with the rude inspector? How do you fix a wait at the hospital?
In short, you can’t. You can’t go back and change what they felt or experienced. You can only move forward and hope they give you a chance in a future encounter. So, you have to create an opportunity for a future encounter with something that smooths over the experience of the past.
That “something” is customer service. Your attitude. Your empathy. Your sincerity. Your response. Your speed. Your action – they all deal with the person wronged in a way that’s right.
When you’re speaking of “Service Recovery,” remember that you’re speaking of what needs to be done to get that upset customer open to becoming a returning customer. And it’s not just about your replacement product. It’s about how you repair the image that person has of your organization.
Deal with the person wronged in a way that’s right.