The 7 Proven Actions Of Great Customer Service Recovery

August 13, 2020 by

In any business, things do not always go according to plan.  Mistakes are made and customers get upset.  While this is a business reality, it is how the mistakes are handled that can turn dissatisfied customers into extremely enthusiastic promoters of your brand.


     1. Apologize.

Immediately acknowledge and accept full responsibility for the error.  Saying something like the following works best to get your customer relationship on the road to recovery:

“Thank you so much for letting us know about this mistake.  We are so sorry we made the error and will immediately begin working on correcting it.”

Most importantly, do not commit the two greatest mistakes of customer service recovery:  blaming someone else for the error and/or making excuses.  Organizations making these two errors rarely, if ever, retain the customer.  Moreover, they transform the customer’s previous disappointment into active, and bitter, disdain.


     2. Give your customer an opportunity to share their feelings about the mistake and the trouble it caused them.

Truly listen to, fully acknowledge, and show empathy, about their feedback, specially using their first name:

“I completely understand how you feel and the trouble it caused you Mary.  We will make it right.”


     3. Propose a solution to correct or unwind the mistake as quickly as possible.


     4. Ask the customer if the proposed solution meets or exceeds their expectations.


     5. Give the customer reassurance as to how the mistake could never happen again.


     6. Give the customer restitution.

Yes, restitution costs money, but pales in comparison to the significant financial loss of losing the customer for the long term, as well as the loss of their customer referrals going forward.


     7. Reconnect with the staff members associated with the mistake.

 It is so important to do so, for several reasons:

  • To ensure that they fully understand how the mistake happened and how to prevent it from happening in the future.
  • To bring closure for your staff by letting them know that your customer service recovery efforts were successful in retaining the customer.


If you want a great example of how NOT to retain a customer when something goes wrong, have a look at the “United Breaks Guitars” example I have repeatedly used in my Keynote Speeches & Podcasts:

Hilarious and spot on!

By following the 7 aforementioned tips, you WILL be successful in transforming dissatisfied customers into enthusiastically wild  customers of your brand.


Kevin Sheridan is an internationally-recognized Keynote Speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author, and one of the most sought-after voices in the world on the topic of Employee Engagement. For five years running, he has been honored on Inc. Magazine’s top 100 Leadership Speakers in the world, as well as Inc.’s top 100 experts on Employee Engagement. He was also honored to be named to The Employee Engagement Award’s Top 101 Global Influencers on Employee Engagement of 2017.

Having spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant, Kevin has helped some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, has been consistently recognized as a long-overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement. His first book, Building a Magnetic Culture, made six of the best seller lists including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He is also the author of The Virtual Manager, which explores how to most effectively manage remote workers.

Kevin received a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1988, concentrating his degree in Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior. He is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three different companies.