Increasing Brand Loyalty with Thoughtful Service Recovery

  • December 15, 2022

In an ideal world, each customer interaction with our organization would be issue-free, but the reality is that even with the best intentions, customers will experience problems.  This is true for any organization. 

Service recovery is the term used to describe the process of solving problems and rebuilding the customer relationship.  Very often the relationship comes out stronger in the end.  This is referred to as the service recovery paradox.

When presented with a guest issue, Ritz-Carlton Ladies and Gentlemen enliven Service Value 6, “I own and immediately resolve guest problems.”  The following questions come to mind when faced with guest issues:  How can I solve this problem for the guest?  What can I do to repair the relationship?  What can I do to prevent this same issue from happening again?

Let’s take a closer look at the language in this important Service Value and learn how it guides employees in problem solving and relationship repair. 

I own

  • When faced with a guest issue, Ritz-Carlton Ladies and Gentlemen take ownership, regardless of their role.  Knowing anyone can take responsibility to resolve an issue increases the level of trust our guests have in us. 
  • The beginning of Service Value 6 also calls to mind the concept of empowerment.  Ladies and Gentlemen are empowered to stop what they are doing to assist a guest.    
  • Before any action can be taken, Ladies and Gentlemen know that they need to actively listen to the guest and understand the opportunity. This seems obvious, but it’s very easy when faced with a guest problem to assume you know what is happening and let your mind jump to solving the problem before you have all the details.  Additionally, when an issue is experienced, it is critical that guests feel heard and understood

“…and immediately resolve…”

  • First person problem resolution is important when a guest opportunity is presented. Acting quickly will foster an environment of trust and create a sense of genuine care thereby increasing the chances of the guest becoming fully engaged.
  • Immediate resolution wouldn’t be possible without empowerment.  Having to ask permission or guidance every step of the way impedes the immediacy required to accomplish the goal of returning the guest to what they were doing. 
  • Unfortunately, not every problem can be solved immediately.  In cases such as these, Ladies and Gentlemen continue owning the problem and provide updates to the guest about where we are in solving the issue. 

Let’s imagine for a moment the issue is resolved, the guest has provided their opportunity and it is solved to the guest’s satisfaction. What next?  The Lady or Gentleman ensures that the problem and resolution is properly documented. The Ritz-Carlton has a system of inputting and tracking opportunities. This way, potential defects are eliminated in the future and teams have quick access to problem resolution techniques based on historic information.

If you would like to learn more about this process and dive deeper into service recovery strategies in place at The Ritz-Carlton, we invite you to explore our Art of Service Recovery offerings for your organization.