Customer Experience News & Trends

3 ways to reset customer satisfaction after a mishap

You don’t have to look far or long to find a customer service mishap. However, it’ll probably take longer to find an effective rebound from it. But these proven strategies can change the course on recoveries.

“Fortunately, as consumers, we all tend to have a very short memory,” says John Huehn, CEO of In the Chat, a social media sales and customer service company. “That’s why some of the most powerful companies take a proactive approach (after a service mishap) and make a promise to how they’re going to change for the better.”

Rebuilding trust

Despite missteps, such as recent embarrassing poor customer service incidents with Comcast, most companies can rebound and win back customer love. Even Comcast continues to thrive in light of continued YouTube revelations.

“People want to trust companies,” Huehn says. “We all want to do business with companies we trust.”

And one of the best ways to build — or rebuild — trust is a quick and effective rebound after a mistake, regardless of whether it’s a poor customer service incident that affects one customer, a product recall that affects thousands or a security breach that affects millions.

Huehn recommends:

1. Acknowledge it

When customers complain, or you realize there’s an issue that will affect customers, acknowledge it immediately.

“It’s important to be transparent from the start,” Huehn says. “Leadership must communicate what’s going on to employees, then they’re more equipped to communicate it to customers.”

So acknowledging the issue is a double responsibility: Keep all employees updated on what’s happened and will happen, so they’re equipped to guide customers. And share updated information with customers so they know you are on their side in the face of the mishap.

2. Address it

Customers expect a fix, whether they’re affected by the mishap or not. For instance, only one person was affected by the recorded Comcast call when the rep wouldn’t let a customer easily cancel his subscription. But other customers who heard it were offended.

“Comcast took the right approach,” Huehn says, “by reaching out to the public and responding to it with what they’ll do better and what they’re working on.”

That’s the recipe for addressing service mishaps. Tell customers what’s gone wrong, what you’re doing to fix it and what will be done to avoid it in the future.

“Social media can be your friend here,” Huehn says. “Use it to have the ongoing conversation on what you’re doing.”

Post on social media regularly what you’re doing to fix the issue and move forward.

3. Amend it

Apologies throughout the process for inconveniencing or negatively impacting customers are a must. When a service mishap affects a smaller, manageable number of customers, it’s a good idea to do more for them — perhaps a future discount or extended warranty.

When a mishap affects the masses, announce your commitment to improving and how you’ll follow through with it.

“One powerful tool is to use a customer advisory group that will help you right the wrong,” says Huehn. “Then let them go back out to the population and tell them what the company has done to change things for the better.”

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