You may already know that service recovery is a multi-layered process. While ensuring the process is fair, sincere and compensation adequate, studies have shown that compensation is a poor substitute for a good recovery process. Key to service recovery is ensuring that it is speedy.
A recent study by Mattila and Wirtz looked at how speedy recovery, compensation, and apologies, affected customer satisfaction. When a service failure is revealed, immediate response is required to ensure successful service recovery. Regardless of how or when the failure is identified, studies indicate that recovery outcomes (like compensation), procedures (speed of recovery), and interactional treatment (an apology) all have a combined effect on post‐recovery satisfaction.
More importantly, it was noted that speed plays a critical part in successful service recovery — i.e. the quicker businesses react to a negative experience, the higher the satisfaction, regardless of compensation or apology. An apology and speedy recovery increased customer satisfaction more than compensation and speedy recovery. This suggests that while customers value compensation above all, a speedy recovery — the process itself — and sincere apology leads to greater satisfaction, than simply buying back guest loyalty. The highest customer satisfaction levels were observed when apologies, compensation, and speedy recovery were combined.
Customer service expert Robert W. Lucas agrees, stating that the best service recovery strategy is to identify the cause of the service breakdown and remedy the problem immediately.
In order to capitalize on speed in service recoveries, strategies need to be developed and implemented for the property, and updated regularly to ensure they are working as effectively as possible. Here are some questions that managers should be asking when evaluating their service recovery strategy:
- How do I minimize the cost while increasing the effectiveness of our service recovery strategy?
- How successful is our service recovery strategy, when compared to our competitors?
- What are my most common service failures? And how can I reduce the frequency they occur at?
- What tools are available that can assist in addressing service failures before they are shared online?
Once answered, these questions form the basis for created (or reviving an older) service recovery process. Tools are a key element of this strategy — new technology has enabled and empowered guest satisfaction in ways never before seen. As more and more guests rely on mobile devices to communicate, leveraging this interactivity is key to ensuring speedy recovery.