Service recovery is incredibly important, especially in a world with blogs, Facebook and Twitter. An unhappy customer can do a lot of damage.
Sometimes there isn’t much you can do; the person is unsatisfied for one reason or another but you don’t find this out and so can’t address it. It is hard to deal with a problem when you don’t know there is one. This is why companies should encourage customer feedback: it is a far better to know about an issue than not.
But sometimes the issue surfaces and there is an opportunity to address the situation and turn an unhappy customer into a happy customer. This is a moment of truth for any organization. In some ways, finding an unhappy customer is a wonderful thing; it is an opportunity to excel.
Of course, this assumes your people are willing and able to take action.
Yesterday I spent the evening at the Hilton in Minneapolis. It was a disappointment.
Now I’m not a very demanding hotel traveler. I just need four things: an adequate room, internet service, a wake-up call and a key that works. The Hilton went one for four. The hotel had no internet service all evening, my key didn’t work and I never received a wake-up call.
When I checked out, the woman at the front desk dutifully asked “So how was your stay?” I replied, “Well, actually it was really disappointing: no internet, no wake-up call and a key malfunction.”
I would like to say this is when she quickly called in the troops, summoning the front desk manager and offering a room discount, credit for a future stay or at least a free donut. Unfortunately, she just looked astonished and somewhat terrified, and mumbled, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”
Any service organization should make sure that employees look for unhappy customers and have the tools to try, at least, to address the situation. Hilton can do better.