Steps to Service Recovery
By Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor
Almost anyone who’s been in a customer
service position has had to talk to an irate caller or been in an
unpleasant situation. Even though it may not be our fault, we still
need to know how to recover the situation. Here are seven steps to
service recovery that will help make your day a better one!
It is your responsibility:
If you have answered the phone on behalf of the client, you have
indeed accepted 100% responsibility. At least that’s what the
caller believes. So get off the “it’s not my fault” syndrome and
get on with the “what can I do for you?” position.
“I’m sorry” does work:
Every once in a while, I hear from a CSR who tells me they don’t
feel they should say “I’m sorry” when it wasn’t their fault. Well,
as stated above, in the caller’s mind, it is your fault. Saying
you’re sorry won’t fix the problem, but it definitely does help to
quickly defuse it. Try it; you’ll see.
When someone is angry or frustrated, the one thing they need is
someone who agrees with them, or at least makes them feel like
they’re being understood. Be careful, though: “I know how you feel”
is not a good thing to say unless you have been through exactly what
they have experienced. Instead try, “That’s got to be so
frustrating” or “What an unfortunate situation.”
Immediate action is necessary:
Don’t make a client wait for good service. Take their calls right
away; return calls as soon as possible. Send out materials the same
day, if possible. That’s recovery. Remember the Telephone Doctor’s
motto: “It should never take two people to give good customer
Ask what would make them happy:
In a few rare cases, the client can be very difficult. If you have
tried what you considered “everything,” simply ask the client: “What
can I do to make you happy, Mr. Jones?” In most cases, it may be
something you’re able to do. You just may not have thought of it.
So go ahead and ask them.
Understand the true meaning of service recovery: Service recovery is not just fixing
the problem. It’s making sure it won’t happen again. It’s
listening to the client and taking the extra steps needed . It’s
going above and beyond.
After you feel the problem has been fixed, follow up. Once you’ve
made the client happy, make an additional phone call a day or so
later. Be sure to ask them: “Have we fixed everything for you?”
“What else can we do for you?” Be sure they’re satisfied. When you
hear “Thanks, you’ve done a great job; I appreciate it,” you'll know
you’ve achieved service recovery!
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