There is one basic truth in all organizations that find themselves established but unable to traverse the higher plain of service delivery; one element that many service strategists fail to successfully implement, service recovery.

What is it that makes service recovery such an enigma? Why is it so important? When will organizations realize the importance of this element of service delivery? How is it implemented? Let’s explore the service recovery phenomenon.

The singly most important factor in increasing one’s customer base and extending the customer life cycle to create customer advocates lies in an organization’s service recovery process. It is a process so fundamentally straightforward that it is often overlooked by even the most advanced service oriented organizations.

A typical organization’s illusion of fine service halts at the act of product handover. Follow-up customer care is subsequently extracted from a generically sculpted manual of product information and internal processes. This same manual is the reference for handling of queries and complaints from a customer, but is that adequate? It is unfortunate that many companies disassociate themselves from their customers upon product delivery. The “it’s no longer our problem” attitude translates into continuous high budgets on marketing to attract more customers.

If service recovery remains a mystery to businesses and they don’t endeavor to understand it, they will find customers falling through the gaps, ultimately losing them forever.

Solving a customer’s problems or complaints then create such an experience that they feel like they’ve just done business with the greatest people and company in the country! Service recovery defined is ensuring the customer remains smiling after an error or mistake is made. Turning a customer’s disposition around and make them love you more and all done faster than you can toast a slice of bread.

The service recovery process can be executed in the following order:

  1. Apologize – Apologize for the mistake or error
  2. Solution – Provide a solution or the best alternative
  3. Value-add – What can you provide the customer additionally to delight them?
  4. Analyze – Conduct an analysis of what happened and what can be corrected so it won’t happen again.

Catch Part 2 of this article as we break down the actions that can be taken in the 4 step service recovery process.

Ken Ng
CEO/Senior Managing Consultant