Think about a time when you interacted with an overly attentive employee. It could be a general interaction or during a recovery situation. Either way, there’s no doubt that the employee thought they were providing great service when they were actually taking away from the experience because they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) read and adapt to how you wanted to interact with them.
All businesses strive to provide excellent customer service but there’s a fine line between service and servility. In many situations, employees and managers fall in to the trap of extreme servility:
Anytime where an employee thinks that just because of their attention to the customer they will be seen as giving great service (think about a car dealership, restaurant, clothing store).
It’s one thing to be attentive, it’s another to be so present and “in their face” that the customer barely has time to breathe.
Overdoing service can actually be a deterrent. Less is always more and in recovery instances, it’s even more important to be aware of how your presence and actions make or break your efforts because it’s so easy to over-recover from an issue. Constant apologies, letters and acknowledging an issue at every interaction forces the customer to relive the experience again and again. It’s important to acknowledge when a mistake occurs, apologize for it, own the recovery and move on. There’s little to be gained from reminding the customer about it over and over.
To avoid extreme over-recovery, there are a few things to keep in mind:
First and foremost, pay attention to the details and deliver on stated expectations.
Always acknowledge the issue and apologize for the specific problem. One or two apologies is enough. More than that can come across as inauthentic.
Own any resolution to the end. Don’t pass it off to someone else and trust it will get done.
Be available for your customer but don’t hover. Allow them the space to consider options / solutions and to come back to you when they are ready.
The difference between good and great customer service is the ability to read a situation and respond. Training efforts need to help employees develop self awareness and how to put it in to practice during different scenarios. Whether it’s body language or verbal cues, customers will always let you know when you’re providing too much, too little or the right amount. It’s up to you to interpret this feedback and act on it.