The Importance of Customer Experience Recovery

April 9, 20206min

Have you ever experienced a truly terrible customer experience and felt like the offending organisation just didn’t seem to care? The likelihood is that you didn’t go back for more. But what if they could have turned it around? What if they could have turned your poor experience into an EPIC experience?

You would continue to be their customer right? Despite the problem you first encountered their ability to recover your experience and leave you in an even better position than before would make you feel so impressed by their service, that of course, you would stick around!

And that is exactly why customer experience recovery is so important!

So what exactly is customer experience recovery? Quite simply, it’s the ability to pro-actively remedy a situation, turning bad customer experience into GREAT customer experience, making sure your customer swiftly moves from feeling dissatisfied to feeling you have surpassed their expectations!

And why bother with customer experience recovery? Well, you want to keep your customers right? It’s widely known that it is more profitable to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one, and equally as important, loyal customers are more likely to be your best asset by telling all of their friends and family about you!

Another benefit not to be ignored is that organisations which excel at providing a great customer experience are more likely to have engaged employees, thus creating the much-coveted cycle of ‘Happy employee – Great CX – Happy customer – Returning customer – Happy employee – Great CX’ and so on.

OK, so how do you recover a bad customer experience? Follow these 3 steps to easily implement an effective customer experience recovery process:

1. Plan to fail

I am not a ‘glass half empty’ type person but when it comes to customer experience it is so important to recognise that no matter how much we care, no matter how much we plan, design and cultivate, sometimes things go wrong. Technology may let us down, people may fail us or we could be impacted by an external event completely out of our control and that is why you should have organisation-wide adoption of a customer experience recovery process. The process you design should:

  • Clearly let your team know what they are supported to do
  • Provide guidance on how to recover a poor experience
  • Set expectations on how quickly you want the team to act
  • Support a collaborative approach across your organisation
  • Promote an issue-tolerant culture (A hidden problem isn’t helpful to anyone)

2. Empower employees

Your team are your best asset for amazing customer experience recovery! If they can quickly spot an issue, speedily remedy it epically, leave that customer feeling fantastic and prevent a possible complaint then you have become the master of customer experience recovery. Empower your team to become recovery heroes by:

  • Supporting them with a robust customer experience recovery process. This will:
  • Enable them to act quickly on their own authority, providing creative and personalised experiences

3. Fix it!

You have done it. You have turned a rubbish experience into an epic experience and you now have a happy customer! But your work isn’t done yet, now comes the part where you do everything possible to prevent any other customer experiencing the same, initial poor experience. Now is the time to:

  • Identify the root cause of the problem
  • Understand its impact (is it a one-off or a repeating issue? Has it impacted the few or the many?)
  • Work with your team to fix the problem
  • Throw in some additional quality assurance to ensure your ‘fix’ has worked
  • Where appropriate, tell your customers (you might have only one or two customers that told you about the problem but you may have many more impacted so don’t be afraid to hold your hands up, acknowledge the problem and pro-actively apologise. Customers appreciate honesty and sincerity)

Customer experience recovery looks different for every organisation but as long as you leave your customers feeling happy and satisfied despite any hiccups they faced, you are on the right track to great recovery and customer retention.


Katie Stabler

Katie Stabler

Katie is a customer experience specialist, dedicated to cultivating high-value customer experience through data, design and culture. Her work is driven by the principle “Make your bed, and then make their day!”, meaning get the basics right and then create those ‘wow’ moments! She has spent over a decade in experience design for the most financially vulnerable customers working within both the not for profit and commercial sector and now leads the customer experience strategy for an international membership organisation.




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