June 10, 2010
Simple formula really: No Apology = No Service Recovery = No Customer.
The Service Recovery Chain goes like this:
> You screw-up
> You acknowledge that you screwed up
> You apologize
> You atone for your sins
> You fix the problem to the customer’s expectations
> You blow the customer away by doing something they DON’T expect
A failure to apologize breaks the chain and a de-dazzling event (with a loss of customer loyalty) ensues.
So, get out of your ego. Take responsibility for your actions (didn’t our parents teach us that?). Its not about culpability, its about empathizing with the customer and feeling bad that you screwed them around. Being HUMAN, not an impersonal organization.
Some claim an apology will actually reduce settlement claims for major screw-ups. That said, the short term economics of “I’m Sorry” are overshadowed by the long term loyalty you achieve by not breaking the chain and having a mind-blowing Service Recovery.
So be at ease with apologizing; it’s a strategic act. Make no mistake about it.