Service Recovery

What is Service Recovery?

Service recovery is the process of making things right after something has gone wrong with the healthcare experience. It’s doing all that we can in a sincere way that satisfies the patient and their loved one – when service has failed. Why do it? We practice service recovery because it is a good, fundamental business practice that can turn a negative situation into a positive statement about our organization. In addition, it helps curb bad public relations: dissatisfied customers have a tendency to tell others about their negative experience.

Service recovery, when done right, is a loyalty creator. Patient satisfaction surveys ask how we respond to their concerns/complaints. When our customers give us high scores on how well we handled their problem, they are more likely to recommend our organization to a friend. This recommendation is an indicator of their loyalty to us. In addition, research shows that a ‘recovered’ customer is actually more satisfied than one who did not experience any problems at all!

In the service industry, occasional mistakes are inevitable. Even the perception of a mistake is enough to cause customer dissatisfaction. If a patient believes that an employee’s actions have created a negative situation – whether the employee is truly at fault or not – then that staff person needs to do service recovery.

Finally, if we want to turn potentially negative word-of-mouth advertising into glowing praise, it needs a working service recovery plan that helps us achieve ‘Outstanding Care with Compassion’.

What is the Value of Service Recovery? 

  • It’s a good, fundamental business practice that turns a negative situation into a positive statement about the organization. 
  • It empowers departments to take quick and decisive action when something has gone wrong. 
  • It turns potentially disastrous Moments of Truth into positive experiences. (A Moment of Truth is an instance when a customer comes into contact with the organization and an impression is formed.) 
  • It creates a learning culture, wherein identifying/resolving complaints is a positive strategy and a springboard for performance improvement. 
  • It can be used to identify and correct problems before a customer encounters them and to upgrade service before a patient is discharged. 
  • It is a vital communication tool for listening and learning, then changing course. 
  • It curbs bad public relations: dissatisfied customers/patients have a tendency to tell others about their bad experience.  

When to Do Service Recovery? 

Any time your service fails to meet a customer’s expectations, service recovery is in order. Remember, if the customer perceives that there is a problem, there is a problem.

The quicker the response after a patient and/or family has voiced a concern, the more effective the recovery effort will be. Studies show that customer satisfaction plummets when organizations take too long to fix their mistakes. Any employee who identifies a customer concern has 15 minutes to begin the service recovery process. We want our patients to know that we are serious about their satisfaction, and we show it by taking immediate action. Some Situations Requiring Service Recovery

  • Scheduled procedures or appointments that don’t begin within a reasonable time or are cancelled
  • Meals that are delivered cold, late, or with the wrong menu items 
  • Test results that are late or have errors 
  • Medications that are not delivered or administered on time 
  • Patient belongings that are lost or misplaced 
  • Rooms that fail to meet cleanliness standards 
  • ANY situation that embarrasses, inconveniences, angers, or disappoints a customer.