The Art of
By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone
We all know the importance of customer
service. Those of us who are in this industry normally are the ones
who genuinely want to help the customer. It’s sort of a “high” for
us when things go right. But what happens when it all goes wrong?
How do you recover?
Service recovery is simply the art of
damage control. Every industry has damage control. Think about
Hollywood; poor Tom Cruise, for example. He said something negative
about Brooke Shields and suddenly everyone was out to get him. His
PR team went into damage control mode. What about when things
happen in government? Big-time damage control shifts into gear.
It’s the same when customer service goes
wrong. Think “damage control.” What can we do over and above in
order to gain this customer back? To have them swearing by
us and not at us?
Empowerment. That’s the number one step
of service recovery. Each employee needs some form of empowerment.
They need to know how far they can go to help the customer.
Remember our Telephone Doctor rule: It should never take two people
to give good customer service. Any time you escalate a call to a
supervisor, you are losing ground. The more employees a customer
speaks with, the harder service recovery becomes.
Humor will only work when you have a
rational customer. And normally by the time you’re into service
recovery, the rationale is lost. However, what we do know is that
most customers respond in kind to gentle humor.
One of the worst things you can say to a
customer is “I know how you feel.” There is simply no way in the
world anyone can know how someone else feels. That particular
statement will get you in a lot of hot water. Drop this phrase
now. Even worse is saying, “I know exactly how you feel.”
You can say, “I can only imagine how you feel.” But it’s best that
you don’t walk in the customer’s shoes. It won’t be a good fit, I
True service recovery occurs when you’ve
helped the customer and you can tell that they’re satisfied, that
they’re back in the groove with your company again. It’s when they
go from screaming to loving you, and it can be done.
To do this, you need a whole lot of
empathy. You need to listen; you need to care. These are the tools
for service recovery. You need to go that “one step beyond.” You
need to do something they’re not expecting, something that bowls
them over. It might mean taking a loss, but if you’re really
looking to save that customer, you’re willing to take that
loss. At the end of the call, they’ll be so happy and so smitten
with your response, they’ll be singing your praises to all their
Service recovery is special. You see, good customer service
is expected. That’s nothing new or special. You’re supposed to
give good customer service. What’s the big deal? But often it all
hits the fan and you’ve got one customer who is just really fired
up. Mad, bad, screaming, totally out of it. That’s when your
service recovery needs to kick into gear.
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