6 Customer Service Recovery Strategies to Add to Your Toolbox [+ Examples] (2023)

let's be honest Every business has issues with their service at some point, which can lead to unhappy or dissatisfied customers. It's up to you to change each situation and win back those customers who are at risk of giving up.

6 Customer Service Recovery Strategies to Add to Your Toolbox [+ Examples] (1)

In a perfect world, customer service representatives would always know exactly what to say and do with customers, but that's not the case. Problems are inevitable in any business. The system crashes and consumes customer data. A storm prevents you from delivering the customer's new TV on time. The waiter brings the wrong order to the customer.

All these situations require your company to correct a mistake made with the customer and turn a bad situation into a positive one.

In this post, you'll learn about customer service recovery strategies to add to your toolbox.

What is Service Recovery?

Service recovery refers to a company's ability to resolve a dissatisfied customer's problem through good customer service. Service recovery doesn't come naturally to your company - you need to design systems that allow your service agents to provide the best possible solution for your customers.

You can think of service recovery as a positive approach to handling complaints. Complaint handling is negative, it's about placating angry customers and minimizing a bad situation. Service restoration unlocks value for a customer and is part of maintaining an ongoing customer relationship.

Have you heard of the service recovery paradox?

The service recovery paradox is a common business phenomenon that can lead to increased customer loyalty to your brand.

Look at this chart. This shows that customers who have experienced a service interruption and successful recovery are more loyal over time than those who have not experienced a service interruption.

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This is because your company has the opportunity to show how important the customer is to your brand. By solving the problem for them and going the extra mile to show how sorry you are, customers grow closer to your business.

This is no reason to check for service errors to fix, butesa reason to turn service outages into customer retention opportunities.

6 service recovery strategies for better customer retention

  1. Apologize to the customer.
  2. Take responsibility for the problem.
  3. Get to the root of the problem.
  4. To solve the problem.
  5. Offer something special.
  6. Follow the customer.

1. Apologize to the customer.

The first step to restoring services is to do asincere and sincere apologiesfor the customer. You shouldn't feel mechanical and make sure the customer feels you mean business.

Show that you appreciate and regret what the customer went through in the situation. Think about what the customer wants to hear in an apology and offer it to them. What motivates your frustration? How are you feeling now? Take a moment to put yourself in their shoes.

These phrases can help show that you want to work with the customer:

  • "I totally understand how frustrating that would be."
  • "I see. I would be upset too."
  • "I'll fix it for you."

Listen carefully to the customer's issue and tailor your apology to their specific circumstances. This is not the time for a standard message that obviously looks like copy and paste.

The customer wants to feel that you are on their side and that you are listening carefully. They want to feel like they are your top priority and that their problem is being taken seriously.

2. Take responsibility for the problem.

You need to empower your people to own up to the problem and take action to fix it. No customer wants to feel like the other team members or that their service rep is blaming someone else for the situation.

Let your employees take control and use their time and effort to resolve customer issues. Let them use company resources to help customers recover from service outages, rather than delegating responsibility to a senior manager.

Structure your support team so agents can resolve issues quickly and efficiently without asking managers for permission. Make sure the service they offer is fast and efficient.

3. Get to the root of the problem.

They apologized to the customer and fixed the problem. Now is the time to ask follow-up questions and do some research to get to the root of the problem and see if you can fix it.

When working on service restoration, it's important to do as much investigative work as possible, rather than relying on the customer to tell you what happened or resolve the issue for you. Frustrated customers don't want to answer more questions or repeat themselves. Instead, read past conversations, analyze the customer experience, and find out as much as you can.

Only when you feel you understand the full context of the issue should you return to the customer to ask further questions. Since you've already apologized and agreed to advocate, they'll be much more willing to work with you to find a solution.

4. Solve the problem.

Once you've figured out the cause of the problem, it's time to fix it. It may be necessary to replace a bad service or product, which is critical to meeting customer expectations.

Don't let the conversation with the customer end until you've resolved the issue. This requires service workers with excellent problem-solving skills, and you should be sure to train them in service recovery.

Solving the problem means the customer is satisfied with the solution. Remember to ask follow-up questions to confirm that the customer feels the issue has been resolved and not to make assumptions.

5. Offer something special.

A customer can experience great inconvenience with the interruption of their service and offering them exactly what they should have originally received is not enough. You may need to offer some extras, like free shipping or a free monthly subscription, to make up for the customer's sense of unfairness.

Come up with creative ways to restore customer satisfaction with your products and brand. Remember that your customer was stressed and upset by the service issue and you need to go the extra mile to compensate for the inconvenience.

6. Track the customer.

When you're done talking to the customer, don't forgetcontinue with themto check if they are satisfied with the solution. Show your concern for the customer by sending a follow-up email or making a follow-up phone call, which means you can also identify any other issues the customer might be having.

Be sure to let your co-workers know that the customer was the victim of a service outage. All other customer interactions should be done with this in mind so that your reps can communicate properly without the customer having to explain the issue again.

Consider sending the customer a handwritten note to show how much you appreciate their business.

Examples of restoration services

1. Zingermann

A customer ordered a large basket of baked goodsZingermans Deli. Unfortunately the delivery was damaged in transit and the cookies fell apart and the brownies were crushed. The customer and his family were still able to eat the products, but when Zingerman sent a follow-up email about customer satisfaction, they expressed disappointment with the delivery.

Zingerman's responded immediately to the dissatisfied response, offering to send a replacement basket, gift certificate or refund.

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2. Club Med-Cancun

Club Med-Cancunrecovered from a service disaster and won the loyalty of a group of tourists.

Tourists had endless nightmares traveling from New York to their Mexican destination. The flight took six hours to take off, made two unscheduled stops and circled for thirty minutes before landing in Mexico.

Due to unexpected delays, the flight took ten hours longer than expected and ran out of food and drink. Finally, he arrived at 2 am, which was such a hard landing that the oxygen masks fell off. When the plane finally arrived at the gate, the passengers were hungry and thought their vacation was ruined before it even started.

Fortunately, the general manager of the Cancun resort found out about the horrific flight and quickly made an ointment for the wound. He took his team to the airport, where they set up a table with snacks and drinks and put on a stereo system to play music. Guests who walk through the door receive a personal greeting, help with bags, a listening ear and a ride to the resort.

A banquet, mariachi band and champagne awaited them at Club Med. The staff encouraged other guests to wait and greet the tourists and they partied until dawn. In the end, guests had a better experience with Club Med than if the flight had gone as planned.

3. Zappos

Jay was best man at a friend's wedding and asked for apair of zappos shoesBe punctual on the big day. Unfortunately the package was sent to the wrong place and did not arrive in time for the wedding.

Jay called Zappos hoping to get a solution to his problem. The company not only refunded him, but also gave him a new pair of shoes at no extra cost and upgraded him to a VIP account.

He was so impressed with Zappos' customer service that Jay said, "Zappos has a customer for life."

Free Service Recovery Email Template

Here is a model of oneService Recovery EmailYou can effectively apologize and change the situation. Remember, even the best-written email won't turn your unhappy customer into a repeat customer if you don't take action to resolve their issue.


name hello],

As you know, [describe the customer's specific problem]. [Explain the desired result and the actual result.]

It is unacceptable that this [problem] happened to you. You trust us for [your product's purpose] and we let you down yesterday.

I would like to sincerely apologize for [specific issue and/or impact] and also for not informing you of the issue.

Part of our corporate mission is [insert mission statement] and we fell short of that mark yesterday. We take this issue very seriously and are making plans to ensure this never happens again. [Describe the steps you take]

As a thank you for your patience and understanding, we will give you [discount, free item, coupon code, etc.]. And [describe something you have already done to make up for the inconvenience, e.g. B. a refund].

If we can help you, just reply to this email.


[Your name]

[Your Headline]

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With Customer Service Recovery you can turn an unsatisfied customer into a satisfied and loyal customer. A customer service failure doesn't have to be the end of the road for your customer; Now you know what you can do to reverse this and save a negative situation.

Make sure you sincerely apologize, acknowledge the problem, and get to the root of the problem. Then solve the problem and give the customer something extra for their effort. Finally, talk to the customer to make sure they are satisfied.

Take the lead from leading brands like Zingerman's and Zappos to implement service recovery now.

Matters: Customer service

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