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"Customer Service, Disney Style: What If You Canít Give a Customer What They Want?" by Bruce Jones, Disney Institute


“I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do.” Sound familiar? I’m sure, at one point or another, we have all heard a response like this from a business or organization when dealing with a service failure. It’s frustrating; it’s aggravating; and it can significantly damage the relationship we have with the company or brand, sometimes forever.

Now, let’s think about this experience from the opposite perspective—as a service provider. What if a service failure has occurred and you want to provide service recovery, but you simply cannot give the customer what they are asking for? While every situation is different, there will be cases when you cannot (or should not) give a customer what they are asking for—you have to say “no.” What happens now?

At Disney Institute, we believe that the heart of service recovery is to pursue the reconciliation of the relationship, not just the resolution of the issue.

Very often, the reality is that when you must deliver a “no” message, the opportunity for preserving – and strengthening - the customer relationship has just presented itself. Here are two critical components that can help with this scenario:

Explain the reason for the decision. Customers are generally happier with a difficult decision when they understand the reason behind it. Without an explanation, you may be perceived as insensitive or that you are hiding behind a policy—which further aggravates the situation and can infuriate the customer.

Provide some offsetting consideration for the customer’s disappointment. It’s far too easy to say, “Those are the rules” or “That’s just our policy,” and leave it at that. Remember, this is now about saving the relationship with your customer. By training service providers and empowering them with service standards and guidelines for recovery, this becomes an opportunity to turn potential negatives into “wins” for your customers and for your employees.  READ ARTICLE