10 Questions to Ask About Customer Service Failures

  1. How are you going to handle the problem for the customer? Think about an immediate solution, delivered with the right attitude and a sense of urgency that will restore the customer´s confidence in you.Photo: Gene Selkov/Flickr (Creative Commons)
  2. Why did it happen? Do an analysis to determine why this happened.
  3. Has it happened before? If it has happened before, why did it happen again? Do an analysis to determine the problem and what you can do to prevent, or at least minimize, the chances of this happening again.
  4. Can it happen again? If this is the first time the problem or mistake has occurred, determine what you can do to prevent it from happening again. (See question number five.)
  5. Can a process be put in place to prevent it from happening again? This is the follow up to question number four. If there is a process that you can put in place to prevent the problem or mistake from occurring again, do it.
  6. Can you catch it before the customer calls you? This is very important. If you know the problem can potentially happen, have a system in place to check and either fix it before the customer finds out or let the customer know before they find out on their own. In other words, be proactive.
  7. Who´s involved in preventing it from happening (again)? Determine who is responsible for eliminating the problem and what has to be done.
  8. If this is a problem that doesn´t happen often, if ever (a “freak occurrence”), what would you do differently if in the same situation? After the problem has been brought to your attention and ultimately resolved, decide if this was the best way to handle it, or if there is a better way.
  9. Is there information now that we didn´t have before it happened? If this is the first time the problem or mistake took place, you should be able to find new data or an experience that will help you prevent it from happening again.
  10. What did we learn from it? Look at all of the answers to the above questions. You should have several insights on what happened, why it happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

These questions apply for both your external and internal customers.

Source: Customer Service Strategy: Ten Questions to Ask When Something Fails by Shep Hyken

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