If you’ve ever been through GrowBIG® Training, you’ll remember how we highlight the importance of consciously creating positive interactions with your clients. You should also know that negative experiences tend to be much more memorable and powerful than positive ones. In fact, some behavioral science research has suggested that it can take four positive experiences to overcome a single negative experience. Obviously, it is much easier to make a good impression up front instead of trying to play reputational “catch up.”

That being said, we all understand that despite our best intentions and preparation, it is inevitable that something will eventually go wrong. That's the premise of Murphy’s Law - “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” As long as you’re human, this will apply to you and your business. Luckily, our reaction to these kinds of negative experiences can make a significant difference in the mind of the client.

Some interesting behavioral science has come out in the past few decades that suggests that successful service recovery can actually allow us to turn negative events into powerful assets for building strong client relationships. To get a quick understanding of the power of service recovery, take a look at the article in the link below.

http://archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2001/12/24/315311/index.htm.

This second link is a great opportunity to see (or rather, hear) service recovery put into practice in real life. It is a firsthand account of a successful service recovery done by a Ritz Carlton hotel. In short, it’s all about going above and beyond the call of duty to fix the problem and make sure that the customer feels important.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xlUShkZdIY

Finally, here are some of our tips for taking a negative experience and turning it into an asset:

1.     Listen.

Make sure that you truly understand the nature of the problem before you go about trying to remedy it. This technique is the same as the one used in GrowBIG® Module 8 to resolve objections. Although you may feel pressure to act quickly, it is also important to remember that the negative experience will be much worse if your service recovery does not deal with the client’s real problem.

2.     Prepare.

We emphasize in GrowBIG® Module 10, that planning is essential for good execution. While the hope is that your planning will help you to avoid tough situations, there is also merit in planning for how you will deal with negative situations. Also, keep a record of your service recovery attempts and take notes on what works and what doesn’t. Although it is unlikely that two situations will be exactly alike, being able to build upon prior experience will make your service recovery much more likely to be successful.

3.     Go above and beyond.

While you might not have to send your clients on a shopping trip or give them a standing ovation like the example in the YouTube video, service recovery in every industry is all about focusing on the relationship. GrowBIG® focuses on building strong relationships with your clients as you move them along the Path to a Raving Fan. It’s all about the long-term value of the client relationship, not just the transactional value of a quick sale. The same is true for service recovery. Although you may have to dedicate valuable time and resources to fixing a negative situation, the long-term benefits of not only saving a client relationship, but also moving clients toward becoming Raving Fans greatly outweigh the initial investment.

Raving Fans, after all, are people that sell you and your product without receiving anything in return. Going beyond the bare minimum of service recovery is one of the best ways to develop this special strain of loyalty in your customers. Great service recovery shows your customer that you really care about them, not just their money, and that is powerful stuff.

Each service recovery will pose its own challenges. Obviously, the best practice would be to avoid as many of these situations as possible. Nevertheless, when they do happen (and they will), the key is to see them as an opportunity to turn a negative situation (-) into a really positive one (2+).

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