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3 Simple Steps for Powerful Service Recovery

17 Jul

MAS SUCKS

As a business, there will come a time that you will fail a customer.  In some businesses it happens one in every million transactions and in other maybe one in every ten.  Whichever end of the spectrum you are, service recovery is key.  As we know an unhappy customer will speak to ten others and in todays age of blogs and social media, that ten is more likely to be ten thousand.

So mastering the art of service recovery is absolutely essential and here are the three simple steps which must be followed in the exact sequence:

  1. Start with an apology, “I am sorry”
  2. Take ownership of the failure, “It is my fault”
  3. Ask how you can make it better, “What can I do to make it better?”

The above 3 are really simple to do and when you do it, you truly regain the confidence of the customer.

Service Recover Case Study:

Here is a real apology from a CEO of an airline to a customer:

I am sorry for the unpleasant experience and I can understand your frustration. I don’t know what went wrong here. We will get to the bottom of this. Please give us a chance to win you back as a customer.

The CEO does very well with the apology and he somewhat takes ownership for the problem but he doesn’t do part 3 which is to simply ask, “what can I do to make it better?”

Now contrast this to the reply that the same passenger got from the Senior General Manager of the same airline :

Thanks for the feedback.

I will get back to you soon. In the meantime, can I assist you in the (destination) booking. We can offer you the same rate as you saw in the internet.

Best Regards

The Senior General Manager doesn’t offer the customer an apology and doesn’t take ownership of the problem. All he does is offer to complete the transaction at the same price.  There is no regard whatsoever for the inconvenience  or any offer to “compensate” for the inconvenience.

Simply compare the response from the CEO and the response from the Senior General Manger and you tell me, via the poll below, which would you prefer?

So remember – when you fail a customer you must go into service recovery mode to ensure that the trust of the customer is won over. And all you have to do is follow the 3 simple steps, in the exact sequence:

  1. Start with an apology, “I am sorry”
  2. Take ownership of the failure, “It is my fault”
  3. Ask how you can make it better, “What can I do to make it better?”

The example cited above is  a real case  between Malaysian Airlines and  a customer. You can view the fully story here:

Does MAS Service Really Suck?

Does MAS Service Really  Suck? 2

Does MAS Service Really  Suck? 3

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 17, 2009 in Business

 

One response to “3 Simple Steps for Powerful Service Recovery

  1. Aris Samad

    July 18, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    When it comes to services, I believe it all comes down to the Customer Experience. What does the customer experience every step of the way? At every interaction point? I think the companies that provide the best service have made a conscious effort to “sculpt” the experience at every point.

    Service recovery is simply one of those interaction points, albeing a very important one.

    Though I can’t say I have any specific complaints with the MAS experience, unfortunately I am one of those people that will actually fly via SIA to go to New York, only because that way I am assured of a near perfect customer experience every step of the way. I am ready to switch back to MAS when I start hearing that the customer experience is a good one. (However, I would fully appreciate it if MAS has specific goals which are different from SIA – part and parcel of business would be to clearly identify one’s positioning in the market, where I may well be not the target customer. And that’s just fine.)

     

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