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  1. It is indeed a common belief that recovering a customer after delivering a poor experience results in better loyalty than, if the customer is provided a perfect experience the first time. This concept is called The Service Recovery Paradox(SRP). I strongly believe is only an assumption. I do not believe that in these modern times customers appreciate any imperfection. They spend money very wisely and choose a brand/company, out of many other options, based on the perceived value. Gone are those days when customers would appreciate the post-sale services to “correct things” and bond better with the company as long term loyal customers. In earlier days this concept would provide some comfort to the companies which made a lot of errors/ defects in the product and were happy to spend an extra cost to “Recover” customers. The concept gained a somewhat acceptance because there were some researches that did show that an element of correctness existed in the claims of the concept SRP. However, the crux of many studies showed that SRP is most likely when the error/defect is not deemed severe by the customer and has had No previous concerns with the organisation. In this situation, the customer feels that this is an exception and an uncontrollable situation and the company may have had some rare deviation from normal process and also the defect is not so severe. Hence the customer is okay to “give another chance”- Recovered customer!! In fact, this is also what the customer recovery team is supposed to convince a customer to do, many a times with an incentive as a token of appreciation (Discount/Refund/benefit on next purchase/ vouchers) for being so “Cooperative” and “Loyal”. In my personal experience in products of immediate consumption or allied functions, I know that majority of the customers do not complain about the inconvenience as they feel "managing" the situation is better than to take an effort for correction. They do not give a repeat chance for some time, as they order from some other place and talk about their bad experience with their circle of contacts and very recently the online medium is used widely to vent out dissatisfaction and frustration …. The damage is beyond the reckoning of the food outlet, but may have been controlled if the product/ service was provided right the first time. I have seen that even in situations where the SRP may be deemed successful, wherein the customer has “Forgiven” the defect on record, the customer actually coming back is lesser times than the customer shifting loyalty for at least some time. In my experience in food industry, where the life of the product is not for long and there are many other options in rampant, the service recovery mechanism; - Satisfies the customer at that point of time, as the immediate need is met, but does not guarantee revisit intentions - Does not avert the sour experience from being shared more in detail than the recovery effort, which causes negative word of mouth recommendation. - Does not guarantee that the Brand image remains intact and does not get hit negatively - Incurs cost – either directly or indirectly It is also seen that the same customer may return after some time after trying other options, but will recheck for the defect experienced earlier- the faith/trust is reduced, The positive or encouraging factor in the above points is that the customer is satisfied that his concern is taken care of, which is actually a trailing measure of performance It is right to believe that a very strong and focussed approach is required to retain a customer, - Difficult task with less chances of success and almost all the time, an attached undesired cost!! A good example is the case study of the recent recovery efforts by the United Airlines. The margin for error in a service recovery process is very low as even very large scale recovery efforts eat into the trust and reduce the loyalty- there are times that the recovery process may also disturb the customer. The customer feels that there is a need to try other available options. The concept of loyalty shift cycle applies, most of the times, and the customer does come back but a considerable damage is done already. It is in fact easier to focus on creating experience which are convenient and enjoyable for the customer while meeting their need. The focus and spend should rather be on developing processes and systems to get the product/ service right the first time, consistently. That is the most dependable and sustained method to earn customer trust and loyalty and also recommendations. Efforts on QA systems and standards and training yield long term and effective results for sure. As a matter of fact, it is notable that in their profiles, the top ranking companies in the world boast of their services which are right the first time and lay very less emphasis on their post sales services or retention programme Having said that, it is not advised that organizations should not try to recover a customer in case of a defective delivery. But it is definitely advised that the company should not hope that such recovery activities will increase the lifetime value of a customer or improve their inclination to ask for the service /product again in the near future. I strongly believe that the SRP is a debatable myth!!
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