From service recovery to problem prevention
Article

From service recovery to problem prevention

Take aways
  • Understanding why and when customers complain offers actionable insights.
  • Customer satisfaction increases when businesses proactively preempt problems.
  • Fixing commonly faced problems should be an organisation’s regular practice.

For customers, it takes 12 positive experiences to recover from one negative interaction with an organisation. Also, most frustrated customers do not file complaints, therefore their ordeal and insights are largely invisible to the organisation. A sustainable customer strategy should focus on preventing problems from happening for even the silent customers, rather than reacting to or recovering from customer complaints.

By the time an organisation receives complaints from customers, some of them might have already left for other providers. Therefore, a more sustainable strategy to address customer problems should not focus on reacting and recovering, but on preventing problems and irritations from happening.

Invisible and frustrated customers

When a customer runs into a problem and alerts the organisation, the system finds itself with a gap. Customer support is built to close those gaps. But for frustrated customers who just walk out the door or don’t file any complaints, they are invisible to customer support, so that there is no way to help, pacify and retain them.

Treating symptoms is not curing

Oftentimes, it may seem sensible to fix problems only after they arise. Some might ask: why should we bother to invest in a solution when there is no complaint? But in reality, there may already be a growing number of silent and disappointed customers who are just not vocal about their frustrations.

Empathise with customers’ ordeal

Before calling customer service, customers might have gone through a long journey of irritation and annoyance. They might have spent hours, if not days, looking for the solution themselves. If those problems are prevented from happening at the first place, the precious time could have been saved for customers.

Recovery should be hygiene, not practice

Customers usually understand and are able to bear with hiccups in services, but not with recurring issues that they perceive are preventable. Identifying hotspots and preventing them from happening should be a regular corporate practice. It is a mistake to treat isolated incidents and recurring issues as the same category of problems.

Listen and act, don’t react

Listen to your customers’ feedback. Understand their journey before, during and after reaching out to customer service. Incorporate these valuable insights into your customer strategy, so that you can be more proactively and effectively to address and preempt their concerns.

News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience

Don’t forget the silent customers

Statistics show only one out of 27 customers files complaints. Therefore, a sound customer strategy should focus on preventing problems from occurring for the 26 silent customers, rather than just pacifying the vocal one. This approach creates a consistent experience for all customers, shows customers the organisation has the intention as well as ability to get rid of hotspots, and fosters better relationship with customers.

Seize the opportunities

Organisations should seize the opportunities to get rid of customer problems early, in order to keep most customers satisfied. Listen to what your customers tell you and act accordingly. Save time by keeping your customers happy and not getting them into trouble. Remember: it takes 12 positive experiences to recover from one negative interaction with the organisation.