Sometimes, things go wrong. Very wrong. Servers fail. Systems crash. What’s important isn’t that a catastrophe happened; what’s important is how you handled it. You are facing a moment of truth.

A service failure is not the end of your relationship with a client — far from it. In fact, service failure is an invitation to build a stronger relationship going forward. How you handle a service failure is more important to most clients than whatever the service failure was in the first place.

So how do you prepare? First, conceptualize the sorts of problems that can arise.  Keep it simple: you have critical problems and you have common problems. The more critical or common a problem is, the more you need to have a plan to deal with it.

In fact, having a plan for the more unusual issues is even more important because those are the situations where you won’t have immediate recall of what to do. Imagine a client calls with a corrupt database. You don’t know how it got corrupted, and don’t need the grief of you, the client, and a third-party vendor all in a Mexican standoff, arguing about who’s fault it is.

What you need is a plan to restore the database as quickly as possible. If you have the steps to do this documented, you can start work on restoring the database right away. So instead of a debacle and a week-long database recovery effort, you have a smooth process that can get the client back up and running within a few hours.

There are three keys to service recovery:

  • Preparation
  • Documentation
  • Empathy

Preparation

Have plans in place for the most common and critical problems. Even think of a few highly unlikely but critical issues — natural disasters, fires, etc. — and make sure you have a plan for those.

Documentation

Document all of these plans. Make sure you know where they are. Make sure your team knows where they are, and what their roles will be if a plan ever needs to be implemented. If they have to wait around waiting for you to show up and save the day, that is not to the benefit of the client.

Empathy

Empathy is also powerful — your client is likely experiencing emotional distress when crisis hits. You have to respond in a manner that calms them and creates trust. Remember that empathy alone does not solve problems. Own the mistake if it was yours, but otherwise move quickly to restore confidence. Appearing disorganized, unable or unwilling to help will lose you that client forever. But taking control immediately to resolve the situation will strengthen client loyalty.

Of course, you’d prefer to not have catastrophes in the first place, but more than that your clients will measure you on your ability to handle them. Service recovery is a key moment to create stronger loyalty from your clients, and it starts with having the information you need to help sitting at your fingertips.


What thousands of MSPs have come to discover is that IT Glue can act as a central hub for all of the information they need in order to better serve their clients and staff. IT Glue also allows businesses to get the information out of their team’s heads and store it in a place where everyone in the organization can easily access it. We are a proven, best practices-driven IT documentation platform packed with features designed to help you maximize efficiency.


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