Service failures are a unique problem for brand identity, in that they can happen to any organisation – from the smallest companies to the largest – and damage the hard work done by marketing and customer service departments to maintain the image of perfect staff and systems.
We’ve all suffered a service failure in the past, so think about one you’ve experienced. Were you surprised? Angry? Did you give the company the benefit of the doubt and keep coming back anyway, or was it the last straw, and a story you recounted to all your friends and colleagues? It was more likely the latter.
Service failures range from malfunctioning machinery to a slip in customer facing standards and, in general, we have no control over a customer’s response to a failure. We do, however, have control over our company response to a failure.
Did you know that the company response to a service failure can shape what happens next? A recent paper by Maxham and Netemeyer confirmed that when something has gone wrong, poor recovery efforts only service to intensify customer dissatisfaction. The consequences are damaging. Research by Temkin Group shows that when service recovery is poor, 63% of consumers consciously cut back their spending. Not spending isn’t the only result of perceived poor service – dissatisfied customers tell up to 15 people about their experience, and more research by Temkin found that customers are more likely than ever to share this feedback on Facebook and Twitter. Even worse, 65% of consumers have completely cut ties with a brand over a single poor customer service experience.
For a customer service manager, the above statements sound frightening – but to a manager with a recovery program, they sound like opportunities. When you’ve worked hard to create a brand image, what happens when it could be destroyed, at least for one customer, in the blink of an eyes?
We know that poor recovery efforts make dissatisfaction worse, so acknowledging a failure and taking strides to fix it is the next logical step – and the only way to take full control of a brand reputation.
Service recovery. Creating a great service recovery policy, building a flexible program and cascading excellent training are the three final steps in creating a fantastic, all-eventualities brand that deals with its problems and becomes known for doing so.
We know that when companies recover quickly (and well!) from a service error, customers are more satisfied, and more likely to return. While they’re probably still likely to take to social media to tell their friends about what happened, after a service recovery moment, chances are far higher of the story being told in a more flattering light – saving your brand and perhaps even building you a new reputation for making things right.
Getting recovery right depends on having a purpose built program that works for you, empowering staff to acknowledge a service failure as it happens. We know that compensation is increasingly perceived as putting a price on a problem, so a gesture of goodwill is the way to go – and with customer service recovery program designed by Simply Thank You Corporate, employees are empowered to choose gifts for individuals, select wrap and ribbon, and write a sincere message for the card to keep the entire gesture strictly on brand.
With great training and a well communicated service recovery program, potential brand failures become successes, enabling staff to recognise moments and transactions that don’t meet your high standards, then act fast to rectify and atone.
Temkin Group: What Happens After a Good or Bad Experience, 2016