Six Steps To Service Recovery

The Internet and social media have amplified the consumer’s voice.

January 1, 2012

The Internet and social media have amplified the consumer’s voice, says Maribeth Kuzmeski, author of “…And the Clients Went Wild! How Savvy Professionals Win All the Business They Want.”

That makes it especially important for credit unions to have a service-recovery plan in place.

“If someone were to go viral with a negative story about your company, you might lose scores of customers,” she says.

Kuzmeski offers these service-recovery tips:

  1. Understand the member’s situation. Teach employees to understand the context of a situation, sympathize with the member, and tailor the solution accordingly.
  2. Be specific about how the problem will be handled. Let the member know not only how the problem will be resolved, but when. This will reduce the member’s anxiety.
  3. Follow through. Make sure what you said would happen to resolve the issue actually did.
  4. Treat subsequent complaints like emergencies. Most people are forgiving of one mistake, if addressed promptly. But if a complaint resurfaces, there’s no room for further delay or error.
  5. Make sure your service philosophy permeates your credit union. Confirm that everyone understands your member-service plan and knows how to solve problems together.
  6. Don’t assume members will give you a second chance. You’re lucky if a member contacts you at all about a problem—so get it right the first time. Too often, members will just move on.

Many companies focus on major initiatives but lose their customers over little things, Kuzmeski says.

“Customer relationships are made or broken when something goes wrong. If you don’t have well-developed service recovery techniques in place, you’ll lose the customer every time.”