In a perfect world, we’d always be on top of our game when it comes to clients. But if anything, human nature has taught us we’re not perfect. We have lapses — some may or may not be our fault. We make mistakes. And we fail. It’s not ideal, but it happens.
Organizations — and their brands — are affected in the same way.
And what matters most is what’s done after the fact. Because how an organization responds to and manages a situation is a reflection of its character.
When things go wrong in an experience with an organization, people want an apology — something proactive that shows both accountability and empathy.
The verbal apology itself should come from a high position in the organization. Because getting an intern to write a press release doesn’t show serious concern.
Once a client has a negative experience, there’s only a matter of time before he or she will begin to consider switching to a competitor or even spreading negative publicity about that experience. A quick response reassures a client that their needs matter — and are a top priority to the organization.
Which they might not have realized before that negative experience.
This is known as the service recovery paradox — or the theory that when clients can leave a service failure more satisfied and loyal to the company than they would be if no failure had occurred.
For example, someone eating at a restaurant might be upset at a slow pace of service and make a comment. He may make a side comment to the waiter, but not really expect anything to come from it. Now, let’s say the waiter brings out a complimentary dessert. And the manager makes an effort to apologize to that person. Because of the initial let-down, the client has now received two instances of special treatment — which wouldn’t have happened otherwise. His previously bad opinion of the situation now has the potential for being a very positive one. All because the restaurant took appropriate action.
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We should never hide from fault or failure — nor from an opportunity to apologize appropriately. It could mean the difference between losing a client forever or strengthening their respect and trust.
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