Do they love you in spite of or because of a foul-up?
Let’s assume that generally your company does a good job of taking care of customers… it’s just that occasionally, stuff happens. The question becomes, when there’s a service failure that the company caused, what’s the fastest way to recover customer goodwill. My short answer – when companies bring me in to deliver seminars (live or virtually) – is fix the problem AND the relationship. That means that of course you’ll give them a replacement/ refund/ alternative, as any ethical organization would. However, fixing the problem doesn’t address the likely frustration, delay, inconvenience, and sometimes cash outlay that the foul-up caused for the customer. That’s why we need to also give the customer something for the hassle. That way, the customer discovers that unlike other organizations, you’ll go the extra mile when there’s a problem. In other words, they become more loyal not in spite of, but because of the service failure. It’s a significant step towards differentiating your brand and being considered by customers as their trusted partner.