How to AMAZE Customers While Recovering From Your Service Blunders

There are four steps you can take if your organization has a goal to amaze your customers, and leave them breathless — this is the second step.Typically service breakdowns include such things as a broken promise made to a customer, a product or service that doesn’t work the way the manual says it should, billing mistakes or service repairs that need to be redone because they weren’t completed right the first time.

The solution

The solution to these missteps is called service recoveryand it’s formula is simple:Service recovery = fix it and do the unexpected.Lets face it when you screw a customer over, they expect you to fix it. But they’re not particularly blown away when you correct your error; they don’t say ‘WOW I can’t believe you actually remedied what you screwed up!’.This is where most companies fall short. They actually believe that by merely fixing their mistake the customer will be satisfied and their obligations will have been fulfilled.If your goal is only to satisfy a customer, you may be content with having a fix it capability that is incredible efficient. But if you want to create the ability to consistently build customer loyalty and earn their lifelong trust you need to go further.You need to move from a positive response to “Were you satisfied with what we did to fix our service screw up?” to “Did we blow you away — DAZZLE you — with what we did to recover from our mistake?”

The surprise factor

If you choose to take the DAZZLE path, you need to understand that the source of DAZZLE is doing what the customer DOESN’T expect.The challenge is to discover the extra action that will both surprise and delight the customer and blow them away.The dazzle act must first of all be relevant to the customer. Providing something extra for the customer that doesn’t resonate with their needs, wants and desires will leave them scratching their head.And it’s not about coming up with a boilerplate trash-and-trinket program that provides the same response to every customer suffering from a screw-over.The recovery action must have personal meaning to the customer otherwise it will be ineffective — in fact could make matters worse!And the dazzle act must be compelling. It must be a high priority with the customer to make them incredibly impressed that you would go to all that trouble for them.This is the emotional component of recovery. A compelling act will stir the emotions to make the customer believe you actually care about them.

Customer secrets and speed

In order to recover in a relevant and compelling way, you need to understand what makes each and every one of them tick, what turns them on and what action on your part would trigger an emphatic emotional response — you need to know their secrets.You can be relevant and compelling in your recovery act, but if you take a week to get it done, forget it. Your investment will be worthless.Studies have found that you have about 24 hours to get it done; after that, the ability to capitalize on the screwup and build stronger customer loyalty goes down the tube.“If you make a mistake and recover in a dazzling way, customer loyalty is stronger than if the service screwup never happened.” — Roy Osing, Customer Service ChampionLast point: if recovery is such a critical element in building customer loyalty, why are there very few organizations that have a recovery service strategy?You can’t recover well by ad-hoc action. Recovery must be carefully thought out in terms of the customer group involved, the recovery actions that should be taken and the level of recovery investment the company feels is necessary given the value of the customers they serve.And substantial training should be given to all employees.The dazzle plan and the required investments should reflect the value of the various customer groups served; the higher the customer value, the more robust the recovery actions and the higher investments that should be acceptable.

5 key takeaways

  • Recovery = fix it and do the unexpected;
  • Do something personal; make it relevant and compelling;
  • Know your customers’ secrets;
  • Get it done in less than 24 hours;
  • Build a detailed recovery strategy.

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