Soft skills and the service recovery paradox


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Entry # 2 in my macro-microblogging series.

The Service Recovery Paradox says an effective problem resolution can result in a stronger customer relationship than if the problem never happened. A strictly efficient, time-to-resolve mindset will result in few observable instance of this paradox. But combining timely and effective resolution with soft skills aimed at tapping into these 6 psychological phenomena that drive positive customer behavior will greatly increase the chances of experiencing it.

  1. Build a relationship by listening, understanding, and taking appropriate action
  2. Clear memory of the failure by creating a more recent positive emotional memory
  3. Establish mutual understanding by exhibiting sharing and caring behavior
  4. Drive customer desire to reciprocate by exceeding customer expectations of the interaction
  5. Build customers’ trust and confidence in the company through professional behavior
  6. Implicitly ask for forgiveness by admitting the company’s role in the failure

Still, the best approach is to minimize failures in the first place!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Troy Powell, Ph.D
Troy consults on solutions to derive insights from customer information that optimize business performance. He has primary responsibility for deploying advanced analytics and developing innovative solutions for understanding and driving customer behavior. Troy has fifteen years of research across multiple research disciplines for both academic and corporate organizations. Troy holds a Ph.D. from Duke University.


  1. Troy –

    As you accurately point out, registering a complaint or problem, and having it addressed and resolved in a proactive, sensitive manner gives any company the opportunity to demonstrate true customer centricity. Much of this value-add, leading to greater loyalty, comes through employee advocates, true ambassadors for the organization. This is extremely important in optimizing customer experiences; and, reflective of how pivotal this element of value delivery is, over 6,300 people have read my CustomerThink blog on this subject in under three months:




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