“The Psychology of Service Recovery”

I recently found myself pondering my annual family holiday.

I was excited about a week away, poolside cocktails, relaxation, kids club for my son and his 3 year old BFF. For me a good book and some coastal adventures.

On check in, I was quickly reminded of the power of the “front line faux pax” and the, eerie inclination it has to ruining one’s complete experience from beginning to end!

In brief, having left home at 0400, arriving at our hotel after a 4 hour flight, we were meet with lovely smiles and those three words that set you up for disappointment.

“I’m sorry, but…….

Yes, that’s right.

I’m sorry, but we don’t the room that you booked and paid for.

Further more, I’m sorry, but there is nothing we can do because we are full.

Finally I’m sorry, but we can’t help you. You will need to call us every day or come to reception to find out, if you can move into the room that you originally booked and paid for.

My customer service radar was now bleeping madly, and with my best emotional intelligence intact, I calmly asked. Are you able to advise us when we can move, instead of us having to come and see you or call you each day?

Response: No, I’m sorry we don’t manage the rooms from front desk its done by reservations.

Question: So is reservations off site?

Response: No, its just here behind me

Question: Ok, can I please speak with the reservations manager?

Response: I’ll check. No I’m sorry they are at lunch

Question: Ok so can you please ask the reservations manager to contact me when” they” return from lunch?

Response: Certainly.

Outcome: No further contact from the hotel.

So, the unspoken psychology of poor service recovery now kicks in.

This is when one’s experience, cascades onto the next, and the next, and the next, deteriorating each time. All culminating into a colossal fail on the customer service experience scale

Poor meal service – inedible and $50 pp for the privilege.

Kids club review – MA+ movie playing to 4 year olds.

Staff member comments direct to guest in party “someone spent too much time at the breakfast buffet”.

Restaurant – we would prefer you feed the kids outside otherwise we have to reset the tables.

Gastro outbreak from – inedible Mexican buffet night.

“We are very busy, just wait”, when inquiring after 15 minutes about the sauce that should have come with the kids meal. There were 5 people in the restaurant.

Double charged for breakfasts that were included.

Charged for a completely different guest room expenses.

The grand finale, on check out my two year old found a male body apron complete with male appendages and faux pubic hair. Clearly a housekeeping issue.

All of these avoidable events are experienced at a heightened level by the customer, due to the very first experience on the service cycle. This directly leads to one discussing the experience at every opportunity they get with anyone that will listen. This includes, friends, family, work colleagues, day care, Face Book, Trip Advisor, Snap Chat, Twitter, Linked in, Pinterest and anyone that mentions the said destination.

This continues until such time that they are convinced that the “service provider, has suffered significant consequences for not having had my room available on arrival. Or until someone asks their opinion on where to stay in that specific location.

In this particular instance, the flow on complaints, included, an outbreak of ear infections, pool faeces, pornographic toys and food poisoning! Copy and paste responses on social media are not acceptable as forms of reply!

Case studies like these are all too familiar in the hospitality and retail industries!

Stop feeding the front line faux pas!

Get it done well in the the first cycle of service and create fans instead of flames!

Discover the “L.E.T M.E.” service recovery model

L isten

E mpathise

T ell them what you can do

M ediate

E xtricate

Organise your free customer service coaching session to discover the The Magic of Customer Service Mastery. 0405 523 507