4 Tips for Customer Service recovery when things go wrong

4 Tips for customer service recovery for when things go wrong

4 Tips for Customer Service recovery

Apologising to customers without alienating employees

This is a situation that many of us face when dealing with customers on the phone when for whatever reason, the company you are working for just hasn’t got it right.

Micah Solomon’s article below provides some good guidance on apologising to customers without throwing your staff under the bus.

So what is Customer Service Recovery? It’s the ability to recover from a mishap with a client, to recover so successfully that you actually may improve relations with that client.

This involves several steps which I’’ll recap here briefly.

4 Tips for Customer Service Recovery

1. Apologise and ask for forgiveness: A real apology, not a fakey fake “I’m sorry if you feel that way.”

2. Review the complaint with your customer: turn your customers, in other words, into your customer service consultants, letting them explain what’’s gone wrong in the customer experience in the customer’s view and what you should do to fix it.

3. Fix the problem and then follow up: Either fix the issue in the next twenty minutes or follow up within twenty minutes to check on the customer and explain the progress you have made.

Follow up after fixing things as well, to show continuing concern and appreciation.

4. Document the problem in detail to allow you to permanently fix the defect by identifying trends.

Getting the apology right

I want to talk today about a hazard you may face with the first of these recovery steps, which is “Apologise.”

A great apology is emotional, sincere (or sincere sounding), and unequivocal.

The key to an effective apology is to convey to the customer at the outset that you’re willing to take her side and share her viewpoint.

However, sincere, unequivocal apologies contain within them a potential pitfall: When employees overhear a manager taking the customer’s side, don’t expect them to be thrilled. (‘‘Does my boss blame me? Does she actually believe that idiot’s version of what happened?’’)

This is a natural employee reaction, assuming you haven’t inoculated your staff ahead of time. Which you should be sure to do.

The onus is on the manager here to preemptively convey to employees that whoever speaks with an upset customer is going to empathise with and even amplify the customer’s side of the story, during that important conversation.

Because this is the first, and most important, step toward getting back on the right foot with a customer.

Take time with your staff to explain that the customer may or may not be right in an objective sense.

Regardless, whoever is speaking with the customer needs to convey complete, even disproportionate, sympathy with the customer’s viewpoint because the customer is our boss—the customer pays our pay-checks.

Human nature being what it is, this explanation will bear repeating.

Often.

Next steps

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Micah Solomon
About Micah Solomon 3 Articles
Micah Solomon is a customer service consultant, customer service speaker and bestselling business author.

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