If your company doesn’t have service recovery strategies in place to combat issues that crop out of nowhere, it will seriously affect your business prospects. An organization should have well-thought-out plans for various things, starting from what to do for a failed delivery to a defective product sent to a customer or a faulty onboarding process. All of these can adversely affect the organization if left unsolved.
What do you need during such instances?
Service Recovery Strategies.
What are Service Recovery Strategies?
Service Recovery is the act of getting in touch with a customer to address their negative experience with your business to promote customer retention. The goal of service recovery strategies is to find out customers who have faced such issues. After that, rectify the identified problem. The organization should ensure that they come out of the situation with a different perspective about the business.
Research says that customers who have had a service recovery failure resolved quickly are more likely to be loyal than someone who has never had a service failure. It is called the service recovery paradox.
When do you need to implement service recovery?
For businesses, it is a great chance to turn a mistake into an opportunity. Here are a few occasions when companies need to implement service recovery strategies:
- An angry customer during an interaction with a customer service agent
- A customer complaining about their shopping experience on social media
- A scathing review on a third party website by a customer
- Getting less-than-desirable feedback on the feedback form by a customer
- A low score on the NPS survey
- Poor rating for an agent on a CSAT survey
- When a customer sends an email saying that they did not find the service or the product appealing
What are the benefits of having efficient Service Recovery Strategies?
1. Retains loyal customers:
Effective service recovery strategies can change the attitude and behavior of the customers towards the organization. Customers who have always been loyal to you will feel vindicated for choosing you and sticking with you. Service recovery strategies for loyal customers should be more effective. They expect a certain kind of treatment since they have been giving you business for a long time. Long-term customers are also more likely to do business with you when you solve the problems satisfactorily. Service recovery strategies are highly efficient to heed to customer needs.
2. Increases loyalty:
Customer loyalty is a pretty important metric that businesses should concentrate on. When there is a strong affinity for the customer towards an organization, they are more likely to purchase more. They are also easier to upsell and cross-sell. With the right set of effective service recovery strategies, you will be able to develop this affinity. They will not be swayed by lower prices either when there are convenience and good customer service added on top of it.
3. Creates brand ambassadors:
By having effective service recovery strategies, you will be able to showcase the true values that your company represents. It will also make your brand look appealing. This will let the customers know that you are a brand that stays true to its word. It will also make you seem reliable in terms of the product you sell and the service you offer.
4. Troubleshooting service failures:
If you run into service recovery issues often, it means that there is something fundamentally wrong with your business. Tracking these issues will reveal other problems that were not identified until now. If left unattended, these could pose severe troubles that one might not have expected. When there are many complex processes at play, it makes it prone to undergoing service failure.
5. Increases customer satisfaction:
Probably one of the most under-rated and most practical benefits of service recovery strategies is that they will leave your customers satisfied. Once your customers go through a service failure and see you have handled it professionally, they will feel happy. They will be more content compared to how they would be if there had been no faulty service.
What are the steps a business should take to build a service recovery team?
1. Involve the leadership team:
When the leadership team is involved, it becomes easy to get access to all the resources required. To ensure that something like this is possible, the leadership team should be aware of how much businesses lose when they let the negative experiences slide without taking any action.
2. Write down recovery criteria:
Businesses should take pains to understand when an interaction with a customer should be associated with service recovery. While there will be many occasions where you should indulge in service recovery, it might not be possible always because the business might not be able to afford it at times.
The recovery strategy you choose should be based on a severe threat that requires an immediate resolution from your side. Do the resources that you have currently allow you to operate on an issue? If yes, then do it. Ensure that you make service recovery based on priority. The recovery criteria can be changed as and when there are changes with your internal structure and your preferences.
3. Start a service recovery team:
If you want your service recovery strategies to bear fruit, you need to build a service recovery team that is well equipped and well trained. In some cases, it would make sense for the customer agents to handle the service recovery cases. Otherwise, you might need dedicated people to make your service recovery strategies a success.
4. Build a process:
You need to develop a service recovery process based to deal with the different types of negative interactions. Provide guidelines for customer service recovery to handle issues uniformly with the same consistency.
For example, if the feedback is about the onboarding process, then the service recovery team should find out the proper protocols to handle the issue. The service recovery strategies should help the team determine what action should be taken for a specific problem. They should be able to act quickly to resolve the issue with minimal fuss for the customer.
5. Measure the impact of your service recovery strategies:
Once you have solved the issue, make sure that you reach out to the customer again. Ask them what their opinion was about your service recovery efforts. The company also makes the customer inadvertently focus on the positive experience that they had from you. This positive impact will have a lot of repercussions in terms of customer loyalty, repeat purchases, referrals, etc.
Closing the feedback loop is an important step that all businesses should follow without fail. Apart from just checking on one service recovery incident, you should check out how you fare totally as a business. Also, measure the entire service recovery funnel by showing the path you took from eligibility to successful service recovery. It will let your team and the leadership know about the kind of impact that service recovery provides.
What are the eight service recovery strategies?
Stage 1: Making the service fail-safe
In the first stage, the company wants to ensure that the service is done correctly to have no issue. They try to avoid negativity as much as possible. They are considered as one of the most critical dimensions of service quality. To achieve something of this level, there should be proper commitment towards the customers. The company should have the highest level of standards so that they can end up achieving zero negative experiences.
Stage 2: Tracking complaints:
Would you believe it if we told you that most customers do not bother to complain? What they end up doing is that they switch to a competitor. They don’t bother giving you a chance to correct the mistake that happened from your side. If you want to retain your customers, you need to encourage your customers to send complaints. Every complaint lodged should be treated with care and diligence.
You should use technology to track the complaints and add them to the CRM against the customer name. It should be made compulsory that each of the issues is handled efficiently and signed off by a manager.
Stage 3: Take immediate action
When customers reach out to you with a complaint, they want you to solve the issue for them swiftly. If they get to know that it will take at least a few hours before you respond or add them to a queue, it will only increase their frustration. The sooner you can get the issue resolved, the chances are that you will make a successful service recovery.
Let’s say that the resolution will take a lot of time, make sure that you apprise the customer about it. They should be told why the issue will take so much time to resolve. Also, outline the steps that you will take to resolve the issue. Fast acknowledgement of their problems will cool them down. Believe it when we say this, a swift resolution is a road to satisfaction and loyalty.
Stage 4: Explain the situation to the customer
In this stage, you need to explain the situation to the customer. They need to understand why the service failure occurred in the first place. Once customers are aware of what happened, they will be more than willing to forgive you for the issue. Ensure that you inform the customer about the situation with as much politeness and patience as possible. There are chances that a complaint is taken lightly; please make the culture so customer-focussed that this doesn’t happen. Ever.
Stage 5: Treat customers nicely
You should treat your customers nicely. There are no ifs and buts there. If you cannot accord them respect, you might even end up losing a customer forever. It would be best if you created highly effective service recovery strategies. They should focus on the speed, ease with which issues are handled, how follow-ups are taken, etc. Your customers need to know that you are doing everything within your power to make the process as effective as possible. At no point should a customer feel as if their issues are not being given the respect they deserve.
Stage 6: Forge a strong relationship with customers
We cannot stress more how important it is to have strong relationships with customers. When you have a strong relationship with customers, they will take the small mistakes from your side lightly. They will be easily forgiving. Isn’t that how most relationships work too?
For a strong relationship with customers, they should also feel that you will have their backs in case of your service issue. It cannot be a one-sided relationship at all. When they trust you implicitly, you need to ensure that you are worthy of their trust. It would help if you were using fool-proof service recovery strategies that work best in the customer’s favor.
Stage 7: Customer experience after service recovery
The next stage is to find how customers felt after the service recovery. One more thing is to identify what the business can learn from this experience. Companies should use tools to understand the effectiveness of the service recovery experience. Control charts, cause and effect diagram, blueprinting, etc., are some of the service recovery tools. Use these tools to enhance the effectiveness of the service recovery strategies.
Best practices for implementing effective service recovery strategies
No matter how good some system is, it needs to have the right conditions to work effectively. Let us look at some of the best practices for implementing service recovery strategies effectively.
1. Make feedback-giving an easy process:
When your customers are not encouraged to give feedback, you are more likely to lose them. Why? Because they do not have a place to share their complaints. Many companies think they are doing a great job keeping their customers happy as they do not get any complaints. But the reality is that the customers do not know where to raise a complaint. This is where using an online survey tool like SurveySparrow allows your customers an opportunity to send their feedback.
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2. Surveys at every interaction touchpoint:
The business should note down all the interaction touchpoints and create surveys for each of these stages. Make sure that it is customized for each customer. A non-customized survey at each instance can be annoying and hamper their experience. Send surveys at appropriate intervals; it will also act as an opportunity for customers to voice out their feelings.
3. Develop a culture where complaints are welcomed:
Your culture should be in such a way that each customer complaint is considered as an opportunity. A customer complaint is your chance to make things right for them. Providing immediate solutions to your customers shows you care for them and take their responsibility. Create recovery procedures with precision so that everyone in the service recovery team knows the steps to resolve complaints effectively.
4. Proactive communication:
Every reasonable person knows that issues will crop up, and what is important is how you handle them. The first thing about a complaint is that the user is irritated and is looking for ways to vent out his/her frustration unless you show them a resolution. Make sure that you send a response as soon as a customer receives a complaint. This simple action will save a lot of strife for you.
With technologies like Machine Learning and AI galloping ahead fastly, service recovery strategies will become more effective. There will be a growing need for agents who can handle service recovery strategies with ease. Your customers are going through negative emotions when they raise a complaint. It is in your best interests that you resolve the issues that they face as soon as possible. Train your employees effectively so that they are well equipped to handle any problems that knock on your door.
If you are looking to take the help of an online survey tool to understand what your customers are going through after filing a complaint, you can use SurveySparrow, one of the best survey tools in the market. From being able to create custom workflows to sending smart surveys, SurveySparrow has it all. The rich analytics dashboard makes it possible to find out what your customers think in visually appealing patterns.