Resolving the Tensions
Our experience with managers interested in improving service recovery indicates that most hope for a quick fix of some specific tensions. But quick fixes only treat the symptoms of underlying problems. Real resolutions should involve closer integration among the three stakeholders, such as gathering more information from customers and sharing it throughout the company, and adopting new structures and practices that make it easier to spot problems and fix them.
We suggest the following five strategies:
Create a “service logic” that explains how everything fits together. This should be a kind of mission statement or summary of how and why the business provides its services. It should integrate the perspectives of all three groups:
What is the customer trying to accomplish, and why?
How is the service produced, and why?
What are employees doing to provide the service, and why?
The results should serve as a guide both for delivering service and for help with service recovery. It should include a detailed study of internal operations; map out how the company responds to customer complaints; and describe how the company uses that information to improve service-recovery processes. Similar mapping should detail every step of customer experiences, including those of real customers with complaints, highlighting their thoughts, reactions and emotions along the way. Highly skilled managers and employees who can think outside the box are a must.