The Service Recovery Paradox

Posted on 12/09/2015 in Customer Service & Support

In a recent blog on Customer Churn, we touched on the subject of the Service Recovery Paradox. The service recovery paradox is when the customer thinks even higher of a company after they’ve experienced a problem that you’ve fixed for them as compared to how they felt about your company before they experienced the problem.

This means that if you fix a problem, and fix it fast, you can actually strengthen the customer’s satisfaction and improve retention. On the other hand, most reasonable people are forgiving, but if a mistake is made and not fixed then the damage can be too big to repair.

We happen to have a perfect example to share of our own that illustrates the power of the Service Recovery Paradox. Our print vendor we’ve used for many years has a record of superior service in all categories. Well, the mistake came with a brand new client of ours where our vendor needed to ship 5 cartons of training materials. One day prior to the due date we realized that only 4 cartons had been received. We raised the issue with our print vendor and they quickly apologized, reprinted the missing materials and since it was too late to ship the materials, they actually had a courier drive the carton to our client’s location.

They came through for us and in the end we became an even happier customer. As a customer we were very impressed with their willingness to have a courier physically drive the carton to ensure that all the materials were delivered by the date promised. They apologized profusely and made sure to communicate how important we are to them as a customer. As “compensation” for our trouble they refunded our bill for the entire shipment which we would not have expected. They went above and beyond to “wow” us as a customer. This type of service policy and attitude is what every company should implement so that everyone who interacts with customers provides this level of service.  

This is a textbook example of the Service Recovery Paradox – they turned their customer who experienced a service problem into an even bigger fan after the problem was resolved. The biggest take-away lesson to learn here is that the steps you take when a customer is experiencing a problem can be a pivotal moment for your relationship with that customer.

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