The average American worker will make approximately 120 mistakes anually — after all, employees are only human. Nonetheless, such mistakes can contribute to negative guest experiences and therefore, managers must focus on mitigating them. One way this is accomplished is through employee training, in which they’re taught how to avoid mistakes.
Ironically though, if handled correctly, mistakes can be yield extremely positive results. This contradictory phenomenon is known as the service recovery paradox (SRP). The SRP explains that if a mistake is solved effectively, a customer who experienced a service failure will become more loyal than a customer who did not. The theory is based on the idea that service failures tend to result in a customer receiving additional benefits they did not initially expect.
Thus, knowing how to recover from a mistake is of upmost importance because correctly solving service failure can lead to customer loyalty.
What is a Service Failure?
A service failure occurs when a customer purchases a good or service that does not meet their expectations. If handled incorrectly, such failures can lead to negative guest experiences.
How to Recover from Service Failures?
Effectively recovering from a service failure ensures a customer’s experience is not ruined by a mistake. Here are four steps to do so:
Step 1: Apologize
The first step of recovering from a service failure is simply apologizing. Listen and understand what went wrong, and then ask for forgiveness.
When apologizing, ensure youre honest and sincere. Genuine apologizes will emphasize that you care and truly want to help. Do not use cookie cutter phrases such as “I apologize for the inconvenience.” Such phrases lack empathy and are overused.
Step 2: Outline the Mistake
After apologizing to the consumer, employees should take several minutes outlining and reviewing the service failure with the customer. This ensures no details are left out and that the employee and customer are on the same page. Most importantly, it highlights that the employee listened to the customer.
Step 3: Take Action
The third step of recovering from a service failure is taking action. Employees should offer consumers some type of benefit to account for the gap in performance and expectations. This step is particularly important. According to a study conducted by The Carey School of Business in Arizona, the satisfaction of more than 30 percent of angry customers increased to 74 percent when they were compensated for the service failure.
Examples of benefits employees can offer customers include complimentary meals or desserts, discounts for future visits and free upgrades. Although these benefits may seem costly, in the long run they will pay off because correctly recovering from a service failure generates customer loyalty.
Step 4: Double Check for Satisfaction
Once a solution is implemented for a service failure, it is important to double check on customers who experienced the inconvenience. Employees should verify they are now satisfied and thank the customer for their patience and understanding.
Mistakes are inevitable; however, an organization can control how it recovers from a service failure. If a company effectively solves mistakes, customers will take notice and be more inclined to purchase again. |