5 Simple Tips for Customer Service Recovery

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No matter how great an organisation’s customer experience is, planning for service issues is a must. Here are five quick tips for doing so.


Most people make the mistake of reacting too quickly without understanding the exact concerns the customer is raising. Asking the customer the right questions whenever he or she confronts you with an issue will give you a chance to dig deeper into the issue and succeed in your service recovery efforts. The questions you ask can also work as a signal to the customer that you are indeed concerned about his or her problem and your honest intention is to help.

There are many ways to anticipate potential problems by offering the customer a chance to give feedback. Many companies such as McDonald’s, Nike and Sears have customer survey campaigns that are productive for both the company and the customers. Survey campaigns often use incentives such as vouchers or prizes upon completion.

For more information on this topic, read our article: 9 Ways to Encourage Customers to Give Feedback

Listen Carefully

You need to listen to the message in the message. When customers are angry, they can be aggressive or wrong in how they articulate their issues. It’s natural for a customer service representative to start thinking about how the customer is acting instead of focusing on what he or she is saying.

At this point, you should listen to the message keenly and ignore the inappropriate conduct of the customer. Interestingly, some customers complain about what they aren’t upset about. Having soft skills like empathy is essential when working in customer support.

Use Communication Channels

Every communication channel has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, start by respecting the communication channel that the customer chose to use.

Your first response should be through the channel the customer felt favourable to use. In case you feel the channel is not the most appropriate method for handling that particular situation, and provided you have accommodated the customer, you can politely request the customer to allow you help him or her through the channel you find more suitable.

For example, if the customer complains through your website’s online chat, the problem should be dealt with there first. If it can’t be solved, it must be transferred with all the details to the call centre department.

Knowing the problem and causes, the call centre operator can focus on the best solution for both the customer and the company.

Focus on the Solution

Beginning your response to a customer service situation by telling the customer what you can’t do and why you can’t do it is not an effective recovery strategy because it makes the customer feel trapped and unappreciated.

Instead, you should focus on the solution that you can provide by explaining to the customer what you can do. This means that if you can’t accommodate the specific requests of your customer, you can quickly jump to what you can provide for him or her.

Although it may sound like a bad approach, it’s an effective service recovery tactic for providing your customer with alternatives if you feel that you can’t meet his or her desires. You can transfer the call to another colleague who has more authority and can offer the customer a better deal.

Close the Circle

You’ll want to close the loop whenever you’re faced with a customer service issue. The biggest mistake that most organisations make is assuming that the customer service issues have been resolved when the customer doesn’t call back or decides to let it go. Even if the customer doesn’t get in touch with you any more, try to think about ways in which you would have solved the problem. The same problem might arise in the next couple of days, so this time you will be more prepared than the last time.

There are two actions that happen when you close the loop in a customer service recovery situation: either you have circled back with the customer to ensure that the issue is fixed and any other future similar instances won’t happen, or the issue has been closed internally and all the teams responsible for the issue get to share the feedback.

After the customer service issue has been closed, a post-game analysis should be conducted to ensure that it never happens again, to that customer or others.

Thanks to Elisabeth Goldberg at CustomerSurvey101

For more information regarding the topic of service recovery, read our article: How to Get Service Recovery Right – With a Definition, Examples and Expert Tips

Author: Robyn Coppell

Published On: 5th Jan 2018 - Last modified: 6th Aug 2020
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