Service Recovery: Going above AND beyond!

Today’s article about Service Recovery has been submitted by Acceler8Success Cafe contributor, Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor.

For those that might not be aware, let’s take a quick moment to review “Service Recovery” as defined by Wikipedia:

Service recovery is an organization’s resolution of problems from dissatisfied customers, converting those customers into loyal customers. It is the action a service provider takes in response to service failure. 

7 Steps to Service Recovery

Almost anyone who has been in business, be it an owner, manager or customer service position has most probably had the opportunity of running into either an irate call or person, or a situation that, shall we say, is not pleasant.

And even though it may not even be our fault, we still need to know how to recover the situation. Here are the Telephone Doctor’s 7 Steps to Service Recovery that will help make your day a better one!

1. It IS your responsibility. If you have answered the phone on behalf of the company, you have indeed accepted 100% responsibility. At least that is what the caller/customer believes. So, get off the “it’s not my fault” syndrome. And get on with the “what can I do for you?” position.

2. “I’m sorry” DOES work. Even better is “I Apologize” as it’s much stronger. Occasionally, I hear from people that tell me they don’t feel they should say “I’m sorry” when it wasn’t their fault. Well, as stated above, in the customer’s mind, it is your fault. Saying you’re sorry won’t fix the problem, but it does help to defuse it immediately. Try it. You will see.

3. Empathize and Sympathize immediately. When someone is angry, upset or frustrated with you or your company, the one thing they need is someone to agree with them, or at least feel they’re being understood. Be careful, though: “I know how you feel” is NOT a good thing to say. EVER. Instead, try something along the lines of, “That’s got to be so frustrating” or “What an unfortunate situation.” REMEMBER -You can never know how someone else feels. NEVER

4. IMMEDIATE action is necessary to make a service recovery. Don’t make a customer wait for good service. Get whatever it is they need to them immediately. Overnight service if it is necessary. That is recovery. REMEMBER: Telephone Doctor’s motto: IT SHOULD NEVER TAKE 2 PEOPLE TO GIVE GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE.

5. Ask what would make them happy. In a few rare cases, the customer can be a most difficult one. For example, if you have tried everything or at least tried what you consider “everything,” simply ask the customer: “Mr. Jones, what can I do to make you happy?” In most cases, it may be something you’re able to do. You may not have thought of it. So go ahead and ask them.

6. Understand the TRUE meaning of Service Recovery. Service Recovery is not just fixing the problem. It is making sure it will not happen again. It is listening to the customer. It is going above and beyond.

7. FOLLOW UP. After you feel the problem has been fixed, follow up. After you’ve made the customer happy, make an extra phone call a day or so later. Be sure to ask them: “Have we fixed everything for you?” “What else can we do for you?” Be sure they are satisfied. When you hear: “Thanks, you’ve done a great job. I appreciate it.” Then you know you have achieved SERVICE RECOVERY!

About Nancy Friedman

Nancy is an expert on customer service, communication skills and sales. She is a sought-after keynote customer service speaker at annual conferences, franchise and corporate meetings – both large and small. Her programs are inspiring, motivational and entertaining (See testimonials) creating a memorable session all attendees can use immediately and forever. Fun, distinctive, fast paced, and energy filled, this customer service speaker’s fast wit and laugh-out-loud audience participation has everyone wanting more. Labeled a “don’t miss” session, Nancy always delivers the ‘goods.’ Learn more at

Resources & Support

The future may be a bit bumpy for some, more so for others. Knowing who to turn to and when to turn to for guidance and help is important. Having resources at your disposal is also important.

So, if you hit a wall, for whatever reason, please feel free to reach out to us for assistance or even if you just need someone to talk to. Please do not hesitate.

You can reach us on LinkedIn, by email to, and by phone or text at (832) 797-9851.

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Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!