Customer Service Recovery: What SMEs Can Learn from Singtel’s Weekend Disruption

Customer Service Recovery

Despite its small size, Singapore has a slew of things to be thankful for–its stable and fast Internet connection being one of them. So, everyone was caught by surprise when

Singtel, one of Singapore’s biggest telcos, caused a mass hysteria around the country due to its nationwide fibre broadband outage over the weekend.

Singtel customers were beyond furious because they couldn’t access the Internet. Even an hour of disruption can derail online businesses that rely on the Internet to complete business transactions.

As of today, Singtel’s Facebook page was flooded with more than 36,000 comments expressing their angry and disappointed sentiments about the situation. We could only imagine what it’s like to call their customer hotline. What was more amazing was not the sheer volume of reactions from netizens but how Singtel managed to bounce back from this technological hiccup.

So how do you face a mob of angry virtual customers at this critical moment? Yes, you win them through customer service. Singtel’s social media team has constantly updated their Facebook post with its blow-by-blow updates once every few hours.

They even offered their affected customers discounts on their next month’s bill. Local mobile data charges are likewise waived during the weekend. As of Monday 8:25 a.m, everything was back to normal. Everyone can now go back to binge watching cat videos again.

While their fibre broadband is not perfect, you can’t deny that their efforts at appeasing their customers are nothing short of commendable. Service breakdowns are unavoidable and can happen at any given time. However, a customer service team can use this as an opportunity to provide satisfactory resolution and create loyal customers amidst these service breakdowns.


What is Customer Service Recovery?

Customer Service Recovery is a process of successfully restoring a brand’s relationship with customers after a major setback. It also a great avenue to assess what’s not working in the system so it doesn’t happen again.

Anyone who has experience in customer service knows what it’s like to handle irate customers or any unpleasant issues that any business may run into (products delivered to a wrong address, a computer server broke down, restaurants messed up the reservation, among others).

It is through proper training, consistent implementation and follow-up for a customer service recovery to be successful. Here are some helpful tips to do that:


  1. Apologize and take responsibility.

Even when it’s not the company’s fault, you still need to take responsibility and work on resolving the issue as soon as possible. A simple expression of apology such as, “I’m sorry to hear that” can be a compelling step to subdue an otherwise negative situation into something positive and solutions-oriented


  1. Understand the customer’s complaint.

Before you get too excited in resolving the problem, make sure that you understand what the  customer’s problem is and the things they expect to be resolved. Ask probing questions. Allow customers to explain what the problem is and what they think should be done to have it fixed.


  1. Resolve the issue.

Solving the underlying issue is the most important step in service recovery. Once you know what is the exact issue, work on fixing the issue as quickly as you can. Involve your team if you have to. If you need more time, make sure to follow up with your customers regularly or so to update them on your progress.


  1. Provide alternative solution.

To help you regain control over dissatisfied customers, offer an alternative solution. In Singtel’s case, since customers can’t access the Internet for almost 24 hours, they offered discounts and waivers on mobile data charges as a way to pacify angry customers. They knew how important it was for their customers get connected to the Internet.

Rather than telling their customers that there’s nothing much that can be done while they are fixing the problem, they instead focus on other possible options that are within their control.


  1. Document and review the issue.

Documenting issues can help identify trends or patterns and opportunities for improvement. Keep a record of the time, date, parties involved and detailed description of the complaint. Use these customer service logs as a basis to set objectives for the company. The team can then review the issues and work towards a solution to handle similar issues effectively in the future.

These 5 steps are at the core of any customer service recovery strategy. Like Singtel, customer service is a big part of Vodien, and we believe that a good customer service recovery is essential to any business.

Customer service is paramount to our company because we know the importance of our customers having a good experience with our products and services. That is why we have a dedicated 24/7 SuperSupport team for all customers.

We take pride in providing quality and efficient service, and being there for our customers 24/7. Common hosting problems are aimed to be solved within six hours. We understand the importance of a website or any service to stay online 24/7, hence we aim to keep downtime to an absolute minimum.

After an issue is solved, the Vodien team reviews current processes to ensure that any similar events can be handled more efficiently in the future.

In addition to supporting customers on server-related issues, we also provide support for applications that our customers may be running, such as WordPress, Drupal, Magento, etc. For more information on this, click here to find out more.