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The recipe for providing excellent customer service to your customers is straightforward: have a Service Mentality, utilize appropriate listening skills, know the different questioning techniques, avoid the Five Forbidden Phrases, follow the Six Cardinal Rules of Customer Service, provide proactive customer service, and put forward your best telephone skills.

But what happens when you follow the recipe, and a customer service situation still goes wrong? That’s the time for Service Recovery.

What is Service Recovery?

Service Recovery is a specific set of actions that customer-oriented organizations take whenever there’s a disappointment for the customer. It’s also defined as “a skilled combination of solving the problem while managing the customer’s feelings.” Regardless of how committed you or your employees are to delivering the best possible customer service, situations will arise where the company, product, or service doesn’t quite meet the mark. Service Recovery goes beyond simply trying to correct the mistake.


return great customer service

Even in situations that require Service Recovery techniques, relationships can be salvaged in order to protect future business from that customer. This is because, according to Salesforce Research, 78% of customers will return to a company following a negative experience if the company provided great customer service. This means that all is not lost if a mistake happens – because we’re human, and mistakes will happen.

Why Service Recovery is Necessary

Following one bad experience with a company, 50% of customers will move on to a different business, according to Zendesk. When the number of bad experiences goes past just one, the percentage of customers who will switch to a different company goes up to 80%! Failing to effectively handle customer service interactions that have gone wrong is a high-stakes game with a lot to lose.

Additionally, many customers who are on the receiving end of the Service Recovery process end up being more loyal to the company than if they’d had a pleasant, typical experience in the first place. This is because Service Recovery goes beyond fixing the problem and takes into account the customer’s feelings and satisfaction in how the situation was resolved.

What does this mean for your company? Well, customers who experience a mistake or problem with a product or service will be handled by a customer service representative using the Service Recovery process. Of course, the customer won’t know it by this particular name. Instead, they’ll recognize this as a company going above and beyond the norm to rectify the problem they’ve experienced. The customer is likely to then go and tell friends and family about their situation. After all, Qualtrics XM Institute reported that 94% of consumers will go on to recommend a company who they felt provided “very good” service.

In the very worst-case scenarios, stories about poor service experiences can be seen by thousands of people very quickly using social media. In addition to the threat of losing business because of poor service, your company is risking its reputation as well.

Great Customer Service

Taking Customer Feelings into Account

An important distinguishing factor that separates Service Recovery from simple problem-solving is the consideration of the customer’s feelings. While it’s no secret to anyone in the customer service industry that customers can bring a lot of emotion with them during any given call or interaction, addressing these feelings plays a big role in recovering from service situations that have gone wrong.

Imagine that you work for a company that sells cell phones. A customer calls because their cell phone has stopped taking pictures, and they’re leaving in three days to visit their new grandchild in another state. This problem with your company’s product is causing the customer a great deal of stress and frustration! They want to be able to take pictures of their grandchild, but now they won’t be able to because your company’s product has let them down.


As a customer service representative, you have an opportunity to address the problem to the best of your ability while keeping the customer’s feelings front of mind in order to salvage the relationship between your company and the customer and, most importantly, relieve the customer of their frustration, disappointment, and stress. If this sounds complicated, don’t worry. There are simple steps to follow that will put you on the road to Service Recovery.

Six Steps to Service Recovery

Service Recovery is a detailed process that goes beyond simply providing good customer service or trying to fix a problem. There are six steps to the process; they include:

  • Responding quickly
  • Providing a sincere apology
  • Taking ownership

To learn the rest of the Six Steps to Service Recovery and how to implement them effectively, contact a ServiceSkills representative today to receive a free demo.