In spite of your best efforts, there will be times where customer service recovery is needed and the way that you and your team respond to these situations can turn a negative experience in to a positive one OR create a lasting negative impression about your business.
When you find yourself cleaning up a service mistake, your success hinges on understanding the bigger picture. You're not simply working in a vacuum; what you say and do will almost certainly end up online and be judged by existing or would be customers. You need to work hard to make issues a distant memory from the customer’s perspective because in a world where every online review counts, it’s highly likely that a bad recovery from a bad service issue will have far reaching effects:
There is a 91% chance that a customer won't do business with a company again if they are unhappy (Lee Resources).
Unhappy customers tell between nine and 15 people about their experience; however some tell 20 or more (White House Office of Consumer Affairs).
Good customer experiences lead 42% of customers to purchase again (Zendesk Customer Service Study).
In most cases negative customer experiences will result in bad reviews and it takes an awful lot of positive reviews to undo the damage, let alone multiple negative reviews. You don't need to make your job more difficult so you want to keep a few goals in mind when you're training your front line team or when you're personally dealing with customer problems:
First and foremost, your goal is to make sure that your customer feels that you take the issue seriously and have a solution, process or system in place to prevent it happening again.
Foster customer loyalty
Generally, people are reasonable and understand that mistakes occur however, if you place the blame back on the customer for not following a policy or procedure that the business put in place or if there is a high frequency of problems that loyalty will disappear.
Ensure positive word of mouth
Great recovery can actually improve customer loyalty because people will rave about how you fixed their issue. They’ll know that you actually care about their experience and that you did everything you could to fix the situation because you truly care.
Learn and grow
If you’re not chasing improvement then you’re only fighting half the battle. Negative feedback is a gift. It shows you where the issues are and gives you a chance to fix them so future customers don’t experience the same thing.
You need to be looking at your operation with a critical eye, thinking through each step and buttoning up the holes. You’ll also learn from these situations, allowing you to polish your skills and in addressing guest complaints.
If you resolve an issue right out of the gate you’ll spend less time dealing with the aftermath and can get to retooling the operation so those problems don’t come up again.