Lesson 14 – The Recovery Process

The Recovery Process

The service recovery process should begin once the customers’ problem is identified. Not all of the six steps described below are necessary for each customers. Use what you know about your products and services, and what you can discover about your customers’ problems, to customise your actions to the specific situation. One size does not fit all.

You should always take immediate steps to solve problems. The sense of urgency you bring to the problem solving tells your customers that recovery is important to you and to your organisation.


It doesn’t matter who is wrong. Customers want someone to show concern, and acknowledge that a problem occurred.

Listen and empathise.

Treat your customers in a way that shows you care about them as well as the problem problem at hand. People have feelings and emotions. They want the personal side of the transaction recognised.

Fix the problem quickly and fairly.

A “fair fix” is one that’s delivered with a sense of professional concern. The bottom line is: customers would like to receive what they expected in the first place, and the sooner the better.

Offer compensation.

It is not uncommon for unhappy customers to feel injured or put out by a service breakdown. Often they will look to you to provide some value-added gesture that says, in a manner appropriate to the problem, “I want to make it up to you.”

Keep your promises.

Service recovery is needed because a customer believes a service promise has been broken. During the recovery process, you will often make new promises. When you do, be realistic about what you can and can’t deliver.

Follow up.

You can add a pleasing extra to the recovery sequence by following up a few hours, days, or weeks later to insure that matters really were really resolved to your customer’ satisfaction. Don’t assume you have resolved the problem. Verify to be certain.