Home

Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

How Disney Leaders Recover from a Service Failure

August 06, 2013 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

As a consumer, sometimes the most frustrating aspect of a service failure isn’t the problem, but rather the organization’s inability to fix the problem. But even when service is built into your organization’s foundational thinking, the reality is that the best-designed service processes will sometimes fail.

This is an opportunity for organizations to strengthen their relationship with the customer.

When service failure occurs, emotions become heightened — customers will likely care as much or more about how they are treated as they do about the outcome itself. This is why you must see the person, not just the issue.

At Disney, we recognize that a service failure may not always be our fault, but it is our problem. For that reason, Disney Institute recommends using the following method as a means of providing consistent service recovery:

Hear: And more specifically, listen. Give the customer the opportunity to tell their complete, uninterrupted story.

Empathize: Empathy creates an emotional connection, a trust that is crucial to demonstrating an authentic willingness and ability to help the customer. Consider using phrases like “If I were in your shoes…” and “Your reactions are completely normal…” to validate the customer’s feelings.

Apologize: Sometimes, this is all the customer is looking for. The power of a sincere apology should never be underestimated. You must take ownership and remember, the manner in which you apologize matters greatly — apologies cannot be scripted.

Resolve: Speed is critical to recovery and is best achieved when the maximum amount of authority possible is delegated to employees.

Diagnose: Seek perfection, settle for excellence. Remove any personal guilt and examine the processes related to the service failure. Returning customers will appreciate your efforts to improve the experience.

The next time your customer experiences a service failure, make sure you hear, empathize, apologize, resolve and diagnose. 

Check back Thursday as we examine what happens when you simply cannot (or should not) give a customer what they are asking for during the resolution step.





Disney Institute is ready to help you apply strategic rigor to your customer experience efforts - call us at 321.939.4600 or complete our Contact Form




Posted in Quality Service | Tagged Excellent Customer Service, Effective Management, Customer Service Techniques, Customer Service Training, Customer Experience Improvement, Building Customer Relationships, Bruce Jones


Get In Touch

Phone: 321.939.4600
(M-F 9:00 am – 5:30 pm ET)

Email: You can also reach us through our Contact Form.
(No solicitors)