Updated: Nov 3, 2021
Complaint handling is not simply about resolving issues, also gathering data and information that can improve customer experience and reduce future complaints.
No one likes to hear negative feedback or listen to angry customers; however, this is one of the best learning experiences. How you handle the situation and respond to that customer will have a significant impact on how they view your brand.
Are your team are trained in how to actively seek out dissatisfied customers, listen and respond with empathy in person, over the phone or via social media? A calm, fair response can diffuse frustration and open up the opportunity to explore alternative options.
A genuine desire to improve the situation can turn a difficult discussion on its head. Satisfaction with how a complaint was handled can have a positive impact on customer loyalty. The customer respects that you had their interests at heart, so they will often give you a second chance.
Learning from Complaints
Resolving an issue for one customer is a good start, but let’s take it a step further. What can we learn from this insight? If an issue was a problem to one customer, can measures be put in place to improve inclusivity and the customer experience for others?
It is a helpful exercise to record and review data and info relating to complaints. Now seek out the patterns:
· Is there a correlation between repeat complaints and vulnerable customers?
· Do the complaints relate to a particular barrier that blocks access to goods, services, or support?
· Are there mismatched expectations due to insufficient, unclear, or false information?
· Do customers mention a particular member of staff?
· Has your company considered failed to address the needs of those without access to the internet, physical premises, or an App?
By pinpointing the root cause of repeat complaints, it is easier to allocate resources and implement change. When changes are made, actively seek out feedback from a diverse range of customers. Have this improved their experience and what other suggestions do they have?
Complaint Handling Awards
For the past 4 years, I have been invited to judge at the Complaint Handling Awards. This event highlights companies who have adapted, collaborated, and invested to greatly improve interactions with all customers.
Some award winners had previously had a poor reputation, but they listened and responded to completely turn things around. They now have a clearer understanding of customers’ needs and expectations. They have championed inclusivity, so they are better equipped to serve all customers.
In using complaints as a source of insight, they have retained and gained customers. Their actions have had a positive effect on customer experience, reputation, and revenue. A reduction in complaints has also boosted staff morale and retention.
Providing Inclusive Services
No business owner can see their organisation through the customer’s eyes. Even with the best intentions, it is easy to miss opportunities to make goods and services more accessible. We need to actively request feedback. Whilst positive comments are wonderful, the helpful insight comes from complaints. In acting on the negative feedback, it is possible to extend inclusivity.