At MCV there is a tiny little Chick-fil-A tucked away beside the gift shop in the Main Hospital. In every stay this month you could have considered me a valued customer, but on one particular occasion I had a craving for a cookies & cream milkshake. After checking for me, Dad said milkshakes were not available at that location. Nuggets would have to do. (I am actually really surprised they don't have milkshakes there, because besides ginger ale sick people want milkshakes.)
So, eventually, I traveled to the Chick-fil-A on Forest Hill to relinquish that milkshake craving. Much to my dismay, the hot water heaters at the location were down and I would not be having the milkshake, again. However, to my surprise, I found all of the location's employees outside at the beginning of the drive-thru line greeting me with a smile and handing me a coupon for a free chicken sandwich. (Although it was likely that they were smiling because they didn't have to work.)
Chick-fil-A has a culture of service. Not only do I always feel good about my experiences there, even when they make a mistake, I still feel positive about my relationship with the brand.
I found an interesting definition for service recovery on The Johns Hopkins website. They define service recovery as, "turning potentially negative situations into positive ones." Dad says service recovery is about "how you act on a mistake." In other words, it is about using tools to turn a mistake into a positive and profitable situation when it could be a loss. I remember every Thanksgiving and Christmas growing up, Dad would have to leave for several hours in the afternoon to go deliver turkeys or flowers to people who were not happy with their Ukrop's holiday meal. In the case of Chick-fil-A, they use a coupon to try and help recover lost business and potentially negative feelings. (And) When I go back to have my coupon honored, I will probably buy the waffle fries and a sweet tea to go with it. Now that is smart service recovery.
What service recovery plan(s) do you have in place for when your consumers encounter a potentially negative situation with your brand?