Service Delivery Failure. A problem or an opportunity?

Service Delivery Failure. A problem or an opportunity?

A service delivery failure is equal to breaking promises and it doesn’t usually turn out very well for the company as well as the customers. It is when reality meets the expectations for the customer. A sale might be selling a dream, and service is what keeps that dream alive. Service Failure is when that dream shatters.

Customer’s Tolerance Zone


And as per this article, customer’s have a zone of tolerance, where desires meet reality.

Adequate is what the customers find acceptable and Desired is what they hope to receive. And anything above desired is what causes Customer delight.

Ideally most eCommerce businesses aim to operate within this customer’s zone of tolerance, one should always try to go beyond and aim for the the customer delight, that lies beyond the customer’s desired level of expectations.

Services Failures are an opportunity.


Even the companies who have a reputation for great after sales service and support, tend to stumble. Thus it becomes necessary to have a strategy on how to recover, and not just recover but bounce back when a service failure occurs.

This is called as a service recovery paradox.

Service Recovery Paradox

The service recovery paradox is an outcome of a perfect service recovery, that causes customer delight and helping establish a stronger level of trust and advocacy with respect to the brand and the company. Thus at the end of the service recovery customers feel more satisfied than in the cases where service failures would not have occurred. Thus the service failure problem presents itself as opportunity here.

An example would be a customer trying to buy a relatively cheaper product from an online store and receiving the product not within the time. As a result, the product is given to him completely free of cost and with an addition to this 30% discount on a selection of products. Thus a long term customer is gained by the business as well as the customers also feels a sense of trust for the company, and over the time this relationship works out great for the customer and the company. The customer feels important as well as he spreads a positive word of mouth whether physically or by blogging or tweeting about the great service quality of the online store, thus bringing in more traffic and sales.

6 Tips to remember for Service Recovery:

  1. Acknowledge the problem – It is important to accept the error on the company’s part. Sometimes customers are understanding enough to know that mistakes happen and they just want the company to admit that there has been one. Customers want the company to accept responsibility, rather than shift blame to something else

  2. Communicate to the customer – Communicating to the customer by empathizing with their problem and accepting the mistake on one’s part gets half the job done. It is very important in reestablishing trust and gaining that customer back

  3. Listen what customer has to say – Listen, listen and listen. I cannot stress this enough. Sometimes a customer just wants to be heard. Other times a customer genuinely has some feedback to offer which can help the company in terms of better service. Finally, it also helps you understand what would be the right way of “service recovery” with this particular customer

  4. Be polite in response – Although this is usually understood, but it is harder to do at times, when a customer is being quite dissatisfied and angry, or suffered a loss because of service failure. The last thing to do here is to get into an argument, especially if you are doing that on your facebook page. The world is watching, and you better come clean.

  5. Be prompt to resolve the issue – This is extremely important. The service recovery must be done on a priority one basis, otherwise the further delay will lead to more dissatisfaction. Remember, a stitch in time, saves nine.

  6. Go beyond the expected – This is where you see the problem as an opportunity. When all the above steps are met, now is the time to go beyond the customer’s expectations and show genuine gratitude for helping the company improve. A gift card, an acknowledgement email, a discount coupon as well as acknowledgement of inconvenience is all that sometimes take to win the hearts.

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