Here Is A Sample From Service Recovery!
In order to be effective, service recovery must be invisible. Just like
the Stealth Bomber, which can't be seen by radar, "stealth service
recovery" cannot be obviously noticed by the customer. For example, if you
missed an appointment, you would not tell your customer; "I'm sorry we
missed our appointment. In order to keep you from going to our competition we
will give you a discount off our regular rate for service."
That would seem crass to the customer. You would be much better off
phrasing your comments like this: "I'm sorry we missed our appointment. We
realize you were inconvenienced and would like to extend a 50% discount to you
to show our sincere apologies." This sounds much better doesn't it?
Your service recovery techniques should be presented in such a way that
the customer comes away from the experience appreciating the efforts made by
your company to resolve the problem. If the experience is positive enough, you
may gain a customer that will produce more positive word of mouth advertising
than you could ever imagine!
My wife and I take our children to Walt Disney World every other year. We
usually spend about ten days on the premises and have a wonderful time. One
year, we booked a plan including admission tickets and hotel accommodations. We
arrived late afternoon and wanted t see the last performance of the Electrical
Parade before the parade went to Europe. Much to our dismay, no one had our
tickets and the ticket offices were closed for the day. We were told to go to
the park and explain our situation and see what could be worked out.
We went to the park, explained our situation to the Customer Service
person and he offered us 4 free passes for that night! Needless to say, we were
very happy. Good customer service so far, right?
When we returned home I wrote a letter stating how
pleased we were with the way the incident was handled. I also stated that
keeping ticket counters open in the hotel would have eliminated the frustration
that we felt when we arrived. I did thank them again and mailed the letter.
A couple of weeks later a letter arrived from the
company. It contained a letter of apology and 4 seven day admission tickets
worth approx. $750.00!! The note of explanation stated that they did not want
any visitor to experience frustration when they came to their parks. The hoped
we would use these tickets and come back to give them another chance! Needless
to say, we were thrilled.
A couple of weeks later we received another letter
containing a check for the tickets that we purchased for our trip. I thought
that there must have been a mistake and called their offices. I was told that
there was no mistake. They had made an error that resulted in us having less
than a wonderful experience and they wanted to refund our money!
Needless to say, we were extremely impressed with the
treatment we were given. It far exceeded anything we expected! We were so
impressed that we went again the next year instead of waiting the extra year!
This is a perfect example of excellent service
recovery. For those of you that think this cost the company a lot of money,
let's look at it from the company point of view:
The largest expense was the cash refund. That came to
about $750.00. That's a bottom line figure. The actual cost of the 4 free
tickets? Since the parks would be open anyway and all the rides operating, the
only actual cost of the tickets was the few pennies it cost to print them! Add a
couple of dollars for postage and that's about it! With that in mind, let's take
a look at what the company gained from their actions:
We used the free tickets and went the next year. We
probably spent $2,000.00 during our time there! That's income to the company
they would not have had if we did not get the free tickets. I figure that we are
about even now. Here's where the company really gets the benefit of their
Over the course of the last few years I have told
countless family and friends about this story. I have used this example in
seminars and printed material such as this publication. All this free publicity
has been achieved by a simple, yet presented in an extremely effective manner,
gesture of good faith by the company. It is impossible to figure the value of
that kind of word of mouth advertising!
The unique thing about the above example is
that the service recovery was presented in such a way that we were drawn to
return and give them a second chance. Not because we really deserved all we were
given, but rather because we were made to feel that we really were appreciated
by the company involved. We were being asked to give them another chance to let
them shine. The best part of it all was that it was all wrapped up in a package
that generated some revenue for the company at the same time! As you will learn
later, this was a perfect example of a win-win situation!
No matter what method of service recovery you choose,
it is critical that you present in such a way that it is not obvious to the
customer that you are doing this just to retain them as customers. While some
will see through your methods, most will be happy to be treated with respect and