Building Customer Loyalty with Service Recovery

The test of a good service recovery is in your ability to convert an angry customer into a LOYAL one.

Listen to the customer

Be an active listener - listen to his words, body and heart.

Listen to his words - Capture all the relevant information to find out what went wrong. In case of uncertainty, ask questions to clarify. There is no room for making wild guesses.

Listen to his body - Observe his non-verbal for clues of his emotional state of mind. For example, when your customer shouts at you, understand that he is very angry. Never tell an angry customer "Sir, I'm trying to help. Please stop shouting. It is not going to help."

Listen to his heart - Put yourself in his shoes and understand that he is angry with the situation, but not with you. Empathise with him. Ask yourself, "If the same situation were to happen to me, what will I do?" Chances are you will probably react in a similar manner.


Explore various options with the customer to resolve the issue. Usually, customers are not interested in knowing the reason for the service breakdown. They only want to know what is going to be done to "fix it".


Work hand-in-hand with the customer until he is satisfied with one of the options and says "yes". Be prepared to offer a few options.


Apologise to the customer for the inconvenience caused. The apology should sound sincere and this can be achieved by saying it in 1st person. For example, say, "I am so sorry about what happened." instead of "This is a an apology for what happened." Furthermore, it must be said on a timely basis. It should be made as soon as the customer highlights the service breakdown to you.

Lasting impression

Create a lasting impression through a swift recovery. One trap that some service providers fall into is "pass the bucket". When things go wrong, they may push the blame to other departments or even to their CUSTOMERS! Instead of "passing the bucket", you should take personal responsibility and resolve the issue immediately.

The extra mile

Go the extra mile for the customer to compensate for the inconvenience that he might have experienced. In the case where a car manufacturer had to recall all the cars due to a manufacturer's defect, the company went the extra mile to collect the cars personally from the buyers, lent them a brand new car, replaced the defective parts and gave the cars a brand new paint and polish job. The cars were returned to the rightful owners in such a wonderful condition that many could not even recognise their own cars.

You are important

Demonstrate to the customer that he is important by showing care and concern.

Zack Bana, 2011
Copyright © Beacon Consulting Pte Ltd

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