Cate Triendl

Dec 14, 2021


2 min read

The Secret To Successful Service Recovery in Hospitality [Part 1]

The Secret To Successful Service Recovery in Hospitality [Part 1]

Customer service failures are an inevitable part of operating in the hospitality industry. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the customer is lost forever. With the right service recovery strategy in place, those failures should be seen as an opportunity for businesses.

From customer anger to customer loyalty

What is service recovery in the hospitality industry? In short, service recovery allows businesses to handle a complaint or negative review in such a way that they can turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one

Studies have shown that the customer satisfaction level is higher after a successful service recovery than it would be without the incident happening. In fact, customer retention rates can increase by up to 70% after the recovery. 

The reason for this phenomenon is that it allows businesses to prove that they truly care about every single customer. They are willing to go the extra mile to exceed customer expectations. The level of trust in their brand has risen, which in return nurtures their relationship and helps them to retain customers.

What’s more, is the knock-on effect of a successful recovery. Satisfied and loyal customers act as brand ambassadors. Hence, chances are high that they’ll share their turnaround story based on your excellent customer service with others and recommend you. 

Steps involved for a successful service recovery in hospitality

However, it’s important to have a defined service recovery process in place that staff can use when dealing with complaints. This provides them with a structure and ensures that all complaints are handled in the same way. 

The LEARN framework is a proven service recovery method that is used by bigger hotel brands, such as The Ritz-Carlton hotels. 

It follows 5 steps:


  • Let customers talk and don’t interrupt
  • Take notes and ask questions to fully understand their complaint


  • Take ownership of the problem
  • Look at it from your customer’s point of view
  • Show understanding and repeat the key issues


  • Offer a sincere apology, tailored to the problem
  • Avoid making excuses – “I am sorry but …”


  • Rectify the issue in a timely manner
  • Over deliver on customer expectations – offer something extra


  • Follow-up to ensure everything has been resolved
  • Document the failure to identify trends

Watch out for part two of our service recovery in hospitality series. We will have a closer look at staff empowerment and choosing the right compensation as part of a successful recovery strategy in the hospitality industry.



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