From service recovery to problem prevention


Share on LinkedIn

The creation of a customer service department is not the solution for businesses faced with systemic complaints. Entrusting customers with the choice of either looking for customer support or just leaving a problem unresolved, is not a sustainable business decision. Organisations should invest in preventing irritations and incidents instead of recovering from consequences.

Support departments only help those that seek help
Processes and systems define an organisation. Every time a customer runs into a problem, a system finds itself a gap. Customer support is built around closing these gaps. Support departments allow businesses to help those customers who cry for help. However, they are missing out on the much larger group – in need of support too – that just walks out the door, not wanting to deal with it.

Fixing customer problems is treating the symptoms – not the cure
From an organisational point of view, it seems much simpler to only solve problems when they arise. Why bother investing in a solution, without first receiving a complaint? In reality, a customer voicing a complaint is standing on a mountain of silent and disappointed customers.

Most customers who have a negative experience are not vocal about it. They just chose not to deal with it.

From-service-recovery-to-problem-preventionBy preventing problems, recovery processes such as filing claims and processing them become less of a burden on everyone.

Organisations are deaf to the majority of frustrated customers
A long road of irritation and annoyance is travelled before customers get in contact with customer service. Most customers try to find solutions by themselves. If you could prevent the problem, customers would not spend days searching for a solution and they would not spend hours on the phone trying to reach you.

Recovery should be hygiene, not practice
Incidents can happen, customers understand that. Yet, preventable but reoccurring problems are being treated as incidents. Isolated incidents are not reoccurring problems. Why treat them the same? By identifying hotspots of commonly faced problems, prevention could become the regular practise. Service recovery should be left to insurmountable problems.

Listen and act, don’t react
Customers constantly provide organisations with feedback and information. Understanding customers before, after and during the moment of contact, gives organisations the tools to act accordingly. Adopting a ‘listening approach’ to customers enables organisations to become proactive. Prevent problems and there will be no need to react and recover when issues arise.

News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience

The real impact on customers
For every one customer that complains, twenty six have not. The real opportunity for an organisation to impact their customers is to prevent twenty six incidents from happening rather than recovering from just one. Being preventive is naturally translated into a consistent experience for the customer. An organisation can eliminate negative experiences and focus on building positive relationships with customers when adopting a proactive prevention

Prevent problems. Improve customer satisfaction. Save time
Organisations have the opportunity to keep the majority of their customers satisfied by preventing problems from happening. Listen to what your customers are telling you, and act accordingly. Save time by keeping your customers happy and not getting them into trouble. Remember: it takes twelve positive experiences to recover from one negative one.

From service recovery to problem prevention_01
There is a big difference between what customers consider an issue and what organisations record as incidents or interactions. The problem prevention strategy impacts a large portion of the customer base and lowers what customers considers to be incidents.
Melvin Brand Flu
Melvin Brand Flu is an author, business, and strategy consultant with over 30 years of experience working for startups to global brands and governments. He advises management and leads projects on the cutting edge of business and technical innovation in industries ranging from telecommunication and financial services to the public sector and insurance.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here