Jeffrey Gitomer Jeffrey Gitomer

The secret formula is React, Respond, Recover, +1

You do something wrong. The customer gets mad. You apologize and try to fix the problem, make nice, and hope they don’t go someplace else next time.

Want to buy some “Customer Insurance?” Sure, you do. How do you get “Customer Insurance”, you ask? Easy, you already have it. The problem is that most people (companies) don’t use it. Reason? Insurance costs a little extra. It’s called Plus One Insurance and here’s how it works:

When the customer is angry, or you can’t deliver the way they expect, the formula that will make them forgive you, continue to do business with you, and tell others about you is React, Respond, Recover, +1.

Here’s what that means.

Let’s say you’re late for a delivery, or you deliver the wrong thing, or you make an error in something personalized, or you miss a deadline, or you deliver bad food to the table. In short, you make a business mistake that irritates (or angers) the customer. Now, you have to react, respond, and recover from the mistake.

When you’re done with your dance of apology and making amends, that’s when the customer STARTS talking. They will say something good, nothing, or something bad about you depending on what you said, how you said it, what you did, and how you did it.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The customer’s story was crafted by your words and deeds.

How much is a positive story worth? How much is a saved customer worth? How much does a negative story cost? How much does a lost customer cost? The answer is “Plus 1.”

All you have to do to ensure that the story will be positive, and the customer will be saved is to add a “+” to the end of the transaction. Something extra that the customer was not expecting. Something that will add a smile. Something that will add some “good” to the situation and make a pleasant surprise the last memory the customer has.

For example, if your customer:

  • goes into your store for a sale item and you’re sold out.
  • checks into your hotel and their room isn’t ready.
  • orders something and you deliver it wrong.

You figure if you just get the customer what they need, you’re out of the woods and they’re “satisfied.” And you figured wrong.

You may be out of the woods, but you may still be in the doghouse. You need to add the extra. The “Plus.” You need to add a surprise. You need to add the memory. You need to add a reason to say something good about you. Because the risk of NOT doing it is too large.

Let’s take the three examples above and elaborate. Let’s assume you can meet their fundamental needs and recover from the wrong. The real question is: what can you ADD to the situation that will make it a memorable one?

Here’s how to add the “+” and create a WOW!

You go into the store for a sale item, and they’re sold out. The clerk gives you a “raincheck” to ensure you get the item. AND (the plus) the clerk calls other stores, locates the item, and has it delivered to your home at no extra charge. AND (another plus) the clerk gives you a “private sale” card that lets you purchase anything else in the store today only at a 15% discount.

You check into a hotel and your room isn’t ready. The clerk says, “Mr. Gitomer, you’re in luck! Your room isn’t ready. That means you get to eat breakfast for free AND (the plus) use our business center for free. Wow!”

You order something and it’s delivered wrong. The correct response when confronted is NOT an excuse. The correct response is, “OH, THAT’S HORRIBLE.” Followed by a statement of what will be done and when. Followed by some bonus that has verbiage something like this: “Mr. Gitomer, you are in luck. You have qualified for our “Wrong delivery, customer bonus” program. Here’s how it works………”

The “PLUS” is the difference between satisfactory and loyal. The “PLUS” is the difference between a positive and negative story retold.

And the story will be retold. The only question is which way. I hope you’re willing to invest in the “plus” customer insurance premium. Some fools aren’t.

About the Author:

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of twelve best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His real-world ideas and content are also available as online courses at For information about training and seminars visit or email Jeffrey at [email protected] or call him at 704 333-1112.

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