What’s Your Backup Plan in Case of a Customer Service Breakdown?

Customers have changed!  Many customers say they want brands to demonstrate that they care before they will consider a purchase!  Made smarter by the internet, they are empowered and emboldened to accept nothing short of value.  It has made them Fickle—quicker to leave if unhappy.  A significant number of Americans say that it only takes a single instance of poor service for them to consider switching companies.  It means we must have a powerful service recovery capacity to fix things quickly when they go wrong.

The dance competition was going great!  Little girls (and a few boys) had traveled with their cheerleaders, coaches, and parents to hear the pronouncement, “And, the winner of first place in the lyrical 7–9-year-olds category, a high gold goes to….”  The stage was littered with trophies.  The auditorium was packed with mothers who were vicariously on the stage.  The familiar Strauss waltz started to play and sixteen girls in creative costumes and first-time makeup leaped onto the stage.

Without warning, the power went out!  The auditorium went dark, the music stopped, and the dancers froze in place.  But the “heart in your throat” emotion lasted only for a second.  Like clockwork, the emergency lights came on, the generator started, and the dance competition resumed just as fast as it stopped.  Coaches and mothers breathed a huge sigh of relief.  Dancers on stage continued their arabesques with the utmost grace, charm, and confidence.

Customer service rarely goes perfectly on schedule, or like the clockwork of a dance competition.  Sometimes, the lights go out on the delivery of service.  Do you have the service equivalent of emergency lights and a generator for backup power?  Customers do not expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you to care when things go wrong.  Think through all that could go wrong and plan for every service breakdown contingency.

© Chip Bell Group, 2024.  Courtesy of John R. Patterson (www.johnrpatterson.com).  Permission is given to download and distribute this article as long as it contains this copyright notice.