By Kristin Baird
It takes more than smile lessons and a pocket full of gift cards to create a well-founded service recovery culture. There are three fundamental elements necessary to promote a well-founded service recovery culture including:
1. ADOPTING A PROACTIVE POSITION
2. MONITORING AND RESPONDING EFFECTIVELY
3. LEARNING AND IMPROVING
ADOPTING A PROACTIVE POSITION
This step begins by first understanding executive beliefs and attitudes. Will they help or hinder progress with all other steps? Will they be able to empower staff to take action? Senior leaders must get crystal clear about what the frontline can do to resolve service issues before training begins. This is essential and skipping this step will result in confusion and distrust.
In a previous blog, I wrote about the need to empower employees with the tools needed for success rather than paying lip service.
Being proactive means preparing leaders to hire for service recovery aptitude and attitude as well as preparing them to coach and how to reinforce skills gained in training.
Having service recovery standards, training, and tools in place sets the organization up for greater consistency and to promote a well founded service recovery culture.
MONITORING AND RESPONDING EFFECTIVELY AND EFFICIENTLY
This step requires having trained staff and reliable systems to help spot issues, take action, and track and monitor for closed-loop resolution.
We often see well-meaning patient experience leaders creating “service recovery kits”. They consist of gift cards to distribute in service recovery situations. This is fine if it is done in conjunction with other means of service recovery actions to connect the trends with the root problem.
Most organizations already track recipients because there is a monetary value assigned. However, if the monitoring and tracking ends with how the gift cards are distributed, you miss a huge opportunity for quality improvement.
Track how the issue was resolved, by whom, and how fast. This will promote a well founded service recovery culture.
LEARNING AND IMPROVING
This step is essential in preventing future issues. Once data on the service recovery side is collected, what will you do with it?
Mining data will help you identify trends and determine how issues can be prevented. In an article from MIT Sloan Management Review, authors state, “The vast majority of companies do not take advantage of the learning opportunities afforded by service failures.”
Service recovery training is important. But you will be far more successful if that seed is planted in the fertile soil of a distinctive and well-founded service recovery culture.
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