Equipping for Service Recovery

By January 23, 2013All

“Developing, honing and keeping competitive edge on your people ‘recovery skills makes strategic sense.” Ron Zemke


How important is it to train employees to resolve customer complaints? Customer service leaders can become more effective in coaching their team performance in handling customer complaints. Companies can certainly benefit from a reputation of great service recovery that can translate to better customer loyalty and increased profits.
The ability to turn around a dissatisfied a customer into a raving fan is a competitive advantage when a customer has more choices than ever of where to spend their money.
There are many places that leave service recovery for chance. Service recovery must be part of the company’s on- going strategy to win its customers when things go wrong. And they will at times.
The acid test of memorable service is occasionally based on how a company handles a customer complaint successfully.
Service recovery can either make or break a company if that customer is worth half of the company profits. Several studies show companies with high quality customer service and effective complaint handling processes can charge a premium as well as increase loyalty.
Customer service leaders must rally their people to develop their service talent to handle customer complaints effectively to create loyalty even when mistakes happen.
How can customer service leaders coach their teams to embrace service recovery as part of the on-going efforts to achieve customer delight?
Empower your people to do the right thing
Empowerment was the buzz word of the 1990s, but I can’t emphasize enough how critical empowerment is to service recovery. Customer service leaders can guide and set parameters to help their people with empowerment that creates a win-win situation for the customer and the company.
Companies like the Ritz Carlton hotel company empower each employee to spend $2000 to resolve a customer problem. When everyone is empowered to do the right thing for the customer and the company, everyone wins. Secondly, as a customer service leader, you have to give your people the tool and resources to create magic.
Customers loved to be wowed by someone in your company who goes above and beyond the call of duty- Someone who cares and willing to own the problem all the way to the end.
Customers don’t like to be dispatched through multiple people in the company to solve their problem. They want the problem to be resolved the first time by the first person they interacted with.
How can customer service leaders create an empowering complaint environment?
First, model the expected behavior-leading by example is a very powerful message to your team. Second, monitor situations as they occur and finally reward your team for handling customer complaints effectively.
Customer Service leaders set the example in one-on-one coaching, in training sessions and by being there with the team, hands on.
Drink the service culture Kool-Aid
Customer satisfaction is closely tied to employee satisfaction. Companies like Southwest Airlines, Zappos and Marriott continuously work on their service culture as part of an on-going awareness to exceed their customer service needs. These companies embrace significant values that separate them from the rest. The values and culture of these companies is-a people first service culture.
Their customer service leaders understood the importance of on-going commitment to keep their people learning and providing the guidance to deal with difficult customers.
How can customer service leaders embrace service culture in their company?
·        Every person is involved in driving the service mission and adds value to enhance commitment to customer loyalty.
·        Leadership, training and culture engagement activities are part of the ongoing
reinforcement of customer complaints handling.
·        The entire management team is committed to constant improvement in service recovery and taking ownership to deliver wow service.
As the founder of Marriott Hotels, JW Marriott said, “If you take care of your people, they will take of the customer. And the customer will come back.” Taking care of your people is all about ensuring they have what they need to succeed in their jobs. As customer service becomes more and more challenging, so is the need for more guidance and mentoring.
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