It’s time for brands to come to terms with the truth: what kept them afloat a decade ago threatens to sink them today. From operations to training to managing the customer experience, every facet of your business must reflect changing market realities. The same is true for service recovery.
When a customer is unhappy with a brand experience, the opportunity to recover that relationship, strengthen it, and drive future sales is huge. But so is the loss to the brand if service recovery isn’t effective.
Many brands keep doing service recovery the old-fashioned way because they expect too little from the program. Yes, service recovery is a necessary expenditure, designed to bring closure to the worst of the worst cases. But it’s so much more than that. Rather, it can be, if you set your sights higher (first and foremost) and build your program to deliver top- and bottom-line results.
Old-School Service Recovery: Limited Impact, Little Value
Brands have traditionally handled service recovery one of two ways. Both methods make sense at first blush, and in past eras, when there was little else brands could do to salvage the customer relationship.
But these two approaches have critical flaws. Without the benefit of tools that streamline and enhance service recovery, these processes fall well short of what’s possible.
Method #1: Service Recovery Team Parachutes in When Calls Are Escalated
“I’m not happy with what I’m hearing. I’d like to speak to a manager.” At this point, calls are flagged for service recovery. But few dissatisfied customers ask for a superior. Most will end the call/chat/email interaction, move on to another brand (one of countless choices in the marketplace), and never do business with you again.
Method #2: Customer Service Reps File Their Own Reports
Front-line team members are responsible for flagging unhappy customers’ calls and filling in the necessary information for the service recovery team. But there’s little incentive for reps to do this. “I didn’t do a good enough job for this customer” is not something most people would want to broadcast.
Service Recovery That Works: Data-Rich, Focused, and Timely
How can you maximize and effectively seize the opportunities in front of you? It all comes down to how you collect data, how effectively you use the data, and how quickly you act.
Whether brands collect corporate-level, NPS®-type data, or their customer service reps add data to the CRM, sifting through data to identify contacts in need of follow-up is a time-consuming process. But inefficiency is only part of the problem. Because traditional customer survey response rates hover around 2-3% and reps might not have the time or inclination to record every failed interaction, opportunities for service recovery are few and far between.
Now, imagine the potential of collecting front-line, interaction-focused data immediately following service engagements (with a response rate typically 10x that of traditional surveys).
Customers could choose the specific reason for their dissatisfaction, and responses would arrive in near real-time. Coded responses would sort themselves, making targeted service recovery easy. And your service recovery team would get pop-up alerts as soon as relevant responses come in.
Suppose your service recovery priority is responding to complaints about product knowledge, which you can expect due to an abundance of new or seasonal hires. “I see here you spoke with Susan, who’s new to our team and is still getting up to speed on our products. I can give you the information you need about that product you were interested in.”
Within 10–15 minutes of getting an alert, your service recovery team will have reached out and resolved the customer’s issue.
This is critical, because if service recovery doesn’t happen quickly, the value you could have extracted—either by saving the sale or saving a relationship—evaporates. If you respond in real time to make it right, the interaction is still fresh in the customer’s mind. And the customer will know you care.
That alone is worth its weight in gold.
The Proof Is Out There
Some leading brands are perfecting the art of service recovery, resulting in reduced costs, increased effectiveness, and significant business value. After repurposing much of its contact center QA team to respond to dissatisfied customers, one major retailer saw average star ratings from these customers jump from 1.06 to 4.65, and its average NPS® score among these customers climbed nearly 100 points (from -85 to +22).
You can read more about this remarkable success story by downloading our free eBook, “Doing Contact Center QA the Right Way: How Leading Brands Use VoC Data to Drive Contact Center Performance and ROI.”