When Your Service Breaks, Take the Opportunity to Enhance Your Customers’ Satisfaction

One of the odd things about customer satisfaction is that customers actually become more satisfied with a service when they have a positive interaction with the service provider when the service breaks. Maybe we just expect everything to break eventually and it gives us more confidence if we know we can get it fixed. I have had two recent quite positive experiences that increased my satisfaction with a service.

Amazon Video Streaming. We frequently stream video content from Amazon or Netflix to various devices. We enjoy watching recent movies that weren’t worth the $20 to see in the movie theater, but are worth seeing at home for a lot less. On this particular evening, the Amazon movie was interrupted constantly while the video stream buffered. It was aggravating but we finally made it through to the end. Since our network bandwidth is huge, we chalked it up to a bottleneck somewhere else.

Photo Credit: peretzp via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: peretzp via Compfight cc

A few days later, we received an email from Amazon saying that “We noticed that you experienced poor video playback while watching your movie rental... We’re sorry for the inconvenience and have issued you a refund.” Since we didn’t complain, I deduce that Amazon monitors video streaming quality remotely and that they know if we had a bad experience.

I could have taken the time to complain but instead I just lowered my expectations and my opinion of Amazon. Amazon doesn’t want us to do that so they didn’t wait for us to complain. They did the mea culpa by email and made it right with a refund. This enhanced our overall satisfaction with Amazon even though we had an unsatisfactory experience with that particular movie.

My Local County Government.  Not every service we use has the kind of window into our customer experience that Amazon does. What do you do if your service has no practical way to monitor the problem remotely that your customer is having? How about making it easy for them to report it and get it fixed? This is what my local county government has done.

We noticed on our evening walk that one of the overhead street lights was out. When we got home, we went to the map on the county’s website, located the street light and reported the street light was out. In the promised three days, it was fixed. Voila! On the strength of that experience I recently went to the county’s website to report the pothole at the end of our street and again, in three days it was fixed. Who says government can’t solve problems?

So the good news is that when things break, you have a golden opportunity to positively impact the satisfaction of your customers. How could your business or organization change the way it responds when something breaks so you can seize this opportunity to enhance customer satisfaction? How could you build this into your process so your response is predictable, timely, and effective?