Service recovery refers to the actions taken by an organization in response to a service failure. A service failure is a service performance that falls below a customer’s expectations in such a way that leads to customer dissatisfaction.
In fact, bad service is so common that we often accept it and try to find places to do business with that are the best of the worst. All organizations, no matter how well trained their employees are, or how technical their systems are, have times when something goes wrong. It is at these times that an organization can take a negative experience and turn it into a great experience.
There are a number of steps that can be taken to recover the lost customers are mentioned below:
a. Make the service fail-safe – do it right the first time
This makes recovery unnecessary, customers get what they expect and the costs of reducing the service and compensating for errors can be avoided. It is important for a firm to create a culture of zero defections to ensure doing it right the first time.
b. Encourage and track complaints
Customer research can be designed specifically for this purpose through satisfaction surveys, critical incidents studies, etc. Toll-free call centers, email, and pagers are now used to facilitate, encourage and track complaints.
c. Act quickly
Employees must be trained and empowered to solve problems as they occur. Empowerment of employees can often allow for quick responses and help placate dissatisfied customers.
d. Provide adequate explanations
Explanations can help to diffuse negative reactions and convey respect for the customers. The content of the explanation and the style of the delivery of the explanation can also reduce customer dissatisfaction.
e. Treat customers fairly
Customers expect to be treated fairly in terms of the outcome they receive, the process by which the service recovery takes place, and the interpersonal treatment received from employees attempting to address the service failure. Acknowledging a problem has occurred, apologizing for the inconvenience, and putting effort into resolving the issue are generally perceived by customers as fair treatment.
f. Cultivate relationships with customers
If the firm fails in service delivery, those customers who have a strong relationship with the firm are often more forgiving of service failures and more open to the firm’s service recovery efforts. A strong customer-firm relationship can help shield the firm from the negative effects of failures on customer satisfaction.
g. Learn from recovery experiences
By conducting root-cause analysis, firms can identify the sources of the problems and modify processes, sometimes almost eliminating the need for recovery. By tracking service recovery efforts and solutions, managers can often learn about systematic problems in the delivery system that need fixing.
h. Learn from lost customers
Formal market research to discover the reasons customers have left can assist in preventing failures in the future. Such examination is essential for preventing the same mistakes and losing more customers in the future.
As the market is highly unpredictable, it is essential to ensure that the company maintains the existing customers and ensures that they are able to recover the customers they have lost. Customers are the revenue engine in every organization and need to be recognized as such. Businesses that embrace this and respond to customer issues will always be more successful than those that do not.