The manager in the field office felt that – when problems arose with customers – the company didn’t do an especially good job of responding effectively. He felt like this was hurting customer renewals of annual service agreements. The company developed many customer service and retention initiatives with little benefit. So they solicited ideas from three of their best technicians.
The manager gathered the techs in a room and identified existing customers with common issues that weren’t yet resolved. After sharing the situations with the techs, he sent them off to individually come up with the best solutions.
The next day, the manager met again with the technicians to hear their ideas. The first tech – Jackie – researched data on her customer, and offered her best guess on what would satisfy the customer and get them to renew their contract.
The next technician – Mark – focused on the issue with the customer’s system, and he came up with an idea for how to compensate the customer for the issue and fix the system.
The third tech – Stacey – came up with what seemed like a crazy idea. She didn’t offer compensation. She didn’t focus on past customer history in the database. The other three people in the room looked at each other but didn’t say a word in response. Finally, the manager said: Why would you possibly think that’s the way to resolve the issue and to retain the customer?
Stacey responded: Because I called him up and asked what was his understanding of the issue and what we could do to fix it. This is what he suggested. It sounded reasonable and was within policy, so we went ahead and fixed it.
We can spend a lot of time coming up with the most creative and complex and high compensation ideas to address service recovery situations. Yet, sometimes the quickest and easiest way to identify a solution in a service recovery situation is to ask them.
Consider asking the customer what would make the situation right.