Agent Motivation

Service Recovery: How to Win Customers Back After a Negative Experience

With the rise of technology and social media, a single negative customer service interaction now has a much broader impact. While losing even one customer is a major blow to the business, this effect is amplified when that customer takes to the internet to share his or her experience on review sites and social media. As a result, service recovery has quickly become a must-have strategy to help CX teams rectify bad service experiences.

In this guide, we’ll explore the importance of service recovery and outline the steps to help you implement a service recovery program with measurable business impact.

What is Service Recovery?

Service recovery has quickly become the secret weapon of high-impact CX teams. Customer service recovery is the act of reaching out to customers who have had a negative service experience to rectify the situation. Successful service recovery is a huge driver of customer retention, new customer acquisition, and brand awareness. Building a process for service recovery can increase the impact of your call center on the larger business.

Why You Need 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 currently perform some version of service recovery, but expect too little from the program. Service recovery can and should deliver top- and bottom-line results. Brands have traditionally handled service recovery in one of two ways. Either service recovery teams parachute in when calls are escalated or customer service reps file their own reports.

In the first case, calls are only flagged for service recovery when the customer asks to speak to a manager. But few dissatisfied customers actually ask for a superior. Most will simply move on to another brand, and never do business with you again. In the second case, front-line agents are responsible for flagging unhappy customer calls and filling in the necessary information for the service recovery team. However, self-reporting is often unreliable and unenforceable.

Alerting the appropriate person for service recovery within 10-15 minutes of a negative interaction 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. When you respond in real-time, the interaction is still fresh in the customer’s mind and it shows that rectifying their experience is a priority to your team.

Without the benefit of tools that streamline and enhance service recovery, these processes fall well short of what’s possible.

How to Implement Service Recovery

How can you maximize and effectively seize the opportunities in front of you? It all comes down to how you collect customer feedback data, how effectively you use that data, and how quickly you act.

By collecting front-line, interaction-focused data immediately following service engagements, customers can pinpoint the specific reason for their dissatisfaction. Tagging and alerts help sort tickets categorically and notify the appropriate leader in real-time, making targeted recovery quick and easy.

Consider these four steps to implement a service recovery program with quantifiable business impact:

1. Flag Negative Feedback

Use modern customer feedback technology to configure alerts that notify team leaders any time a customer leaves a piece of negative feedback. With tools like Stella Connect, this alert will automatically create a new ticket in your CRM platform, prompting the appropriate person to follow up with the unhappy customer. 

Service recovery alert

2. Follow Up with the Customer 

Once the appropriate team members are notified, ensure you have a plan in place to follow up with the unhappy customer. There are many ways to triage negative customer feedback, so work with your leadership team to understand what you’re willing to offer in order to turn an experience around (ie. discounts, refunds, apologies, etc.).

3. Request Feedback Update

Once you reach out to the customer to make things right and close the new ticket, send a follow-up feedback request to measure changes in customer sentiment. Modern customer feedback tools like Stella Connect integrate directly with your ticketing system and can be configured to automatically send out a follow-up feedback request. This makes it easy to perform service recovery at scale.

Trigger Additional Survey to Track Service Recovery Effectiveness

4. Measure Impact Over Time

Service recovery has a measurable impact on businesses. Every negative interaction is a risk of losing that customer and their extended network. The success of your service recovery program is a valuable metric to help showcase the ROI of your call center.

Service Recovery Funnel

The Impact of Service Recovery

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, Williams-Sonoma saw average star ratings from these customers jump up 4x higher than initial ratings. Similarly, launching a service recovery program has helped Birchbox increase NPS, change customer sentiment, and inform product innovation.

So what are you waiting for? Follow these four simple steps to implement service recovery in your organization. 

Download our free eBook to see more remarkable success stories:

How to Ramp up Service Recovery for Better Business Results