Do you work for an organization where everyone is perfect and mistakes are never made? I didn’t think so. As long as people are responsible for delivering products or services, there will be mistakes. How you handle those mistakes says volumes about the level of customer service you offer and the length of time your organization will be in business.
My wife and I found a great restaurant shortly after we moved to Orlando. It became one of our favorite places to eat. Let me explain.
During one of our first visits, I was having lunch with my family and some out of town guests. I had ordered a sandwich and had taken my first bite when it happened…there was something in my sandwich that did not belong there. (In case some of you are reading this around meal time, I will spare you the details.)
I alerted the server and she apologized and took the sandwich back to the kitchen. A few minutes later the manager arrived at our table and also apologized and wanted to know how they could make up for this situation. I ordered another menu item and found it to be a good choice. I actually enjoyed it much more than my original selection.
To be honest, I was expecting that they would have given me my replacement meal for free. When they brought me the check, the entire meal for my party was complimentary. This exceeded my expectations and turned what could have been a bad experience into one that transformed me into a very loyal customer. This is called “Guest Recovery.”
Since that day, we have been back to this restaurant over 20 times. We had guests in town, we usually took them to our favorite restaurant. This particular restaurant’s policy of guest recovery, and their training of all employees resulted in a loyal customer for them over the past years.
Have a Recovery Policy and Train Employees
Any business should have a plan in place so that every employee knows how to respond when their company makes a mistake. Many organizations train their managers on how to handle these situations, but their front line employees do not have a clue on how to respond to the customer. Many times you will hear, “I just work here.”
During my time as a “Cast Member” at Walt Disney World they did an excellent job of educating every employee on the importance of appropriate guest recovery when a mistake occurs. Organizations like Disney and Ritz Carlton understand that how they handle mistakes can make the difference between someone never returning or becoming a loyal customer.