Complaint Management and How to Effectively Handle Complaints

Complaint Management and How to Effectively Handle Complaints

Because no organisation is perfect, it’s only natural for customers to express dissatisfaction with products or services. Such customer complaints may be a natural part of the business process but they don’t have to be overwhelming or ruin your business’ reputation.

With this in mind, it’s essential to understand the process of handling of customer complaints to keep these to a minimum and to ensure that your product or service offering is fully optimised and as efficient as possible. In this article, we explore complaint management and its benefits and also look at the processes to streamlining complaints with beneficial software.

What is complaint management?

In a nutshell, complaint management is the management of complaints. Although this may sound like a circular explanation, it essentially involves a team of people in your organisation who are specifically trained to handle customer dissatisfaction with your product or service.

Whether it’s long waiting times, continued transfers from one department to another, non-resolved issues or poor product or service quality, in each of these instances, a customer’s complaint should be viewed as a positive for your business in the sense that it can help you improve.

As such, you’ll be able to limit the number of complaints and go on to provide a superior and more competitive product or service than your competition.

Why is customer complaint management important?

Having covered what complaint management is, it’s also important to consider why it is important for your organisation. Below are just a few of the reasons why you need an effective complaint management system in place:

  • It can boost your internal complaint-handling efficiency
  • This can, in turn, increase customer satisfaction and boost the customer experience
  • You’ll be able to guarantee the required levels of safety
  • It can help you remain compliant with your legal obligations
  • Proper complaints handling can offer insights into your own customer service team
  • This is a great way for multiple teams in your organisation to continuously improve
  • You’ll be able to reduce recurring or future complaints
  • Service standards that the community expects will be maintained
  • The standards for decision-making will be raised
  • It can lead to reduced costs and increased profitability
  • You can boost customer advocacy and loyalty
  • You can also strengthen existing relationships with customers
  • Determine areas for product or service improvement

The complaint management process

When it comes to the question – what are the priorities when handling a complaint – a few important characteristics stand out:

1. Customer focus

First, your complaint management or handling process should be customer-focused. This means actively listening to what the customer’s needs are and trying to resolve their issues in a timely manner.

2. Transparency and traceability

Also important is the need for your complaint management process to be transparent and traceable. This means that if you have rotating teams, any one member of the team should be able to pick up where a previous member left off and continue the process of communication for the best results.

3. Easy access

Furthermore, complaints management should be easily accessible. Whether you use chatbots, a call centre, emails or you are managing complaints through online review sites, each of these channels must be easy to access for your customer to enable them to find your contact details easily and quickly.

4. Responsiveness

Another important characteristic of customer complaints management is that it needs to be responsive. Responsive means short waiting times and efficiency in resolving the issue in question. Customers should not be kept waiting for long and their matters should be handled to their satisfaction.

5. Confidentiality

A crucial aspect of the complaint management process is that it should be confidential. This means that when a customer speaks with one of your team members, their query or complaint should be handled in a manner that respects their privacy. Avoid taking complaints to the online space to help guarantee your customers’ privacy and to ensure that you do not damage your business’ reputation over the long term.

6. Accountability and renewability

As a final point before we start talking about the complaint management process, it is also important that it is accountable and reviewable. Accountability means taking responsibility for one’s actions and being reviewable means that there is a sufficient paper trail that enables a newcomer on the team to go back to the entire complaint communication and review it from start to finish.

How to create a complaint management process

And now, having covered some of the elements of a complaint management process, it’s important to consider what this process should look like.

Here are some considerations that you should bear in mind when creating your complaining management process:

  1. Define your complaint policy effectively: make sure everyone on your customer service team knows just how to handle every type of complaint that may arise. Ensure that there is uniformity and clear understanding as well as clear communication between your team members. Define complaints, define the right channels of communication, outline your process and figure out ways to prioritise different complaints. 
  2. Standardise your process: everyone on your team should know the procedures for managing complaints and then be able to follow and apply these. This can help improve the quality of your service and also boost your levels of compliance. Examples of factors to standardise include whether there’s a specified timeline for resolving a complaint, if there’s a standardised database that needs to be used, the allocation of certain team members to handle complaints, which complaints should be escalated, etc.
  3. Define different responsibilities: every member of your team should know who to speak to in different situations. Whether it’s logging complaints, sending notifications to the relevant parties, identifying whether complaints will be department-specific, who will provide the final approvals or inform upper management, who’ll deal with escalations, etc.
  4. Continuously focus on training and development: your complaints management team should be trained and coach in terms of using the right approaches for handling complaints. Even if they aren’t yet aware of who to contact in the event of a certain scenario, they should be able to know what the parameters of their duties are and who they can approach in the event of complications for further future development of the entire department.
  5. Track and report: in complaints management, it’s also vital to track key metrics, report them to the relevant stakeholders and review your process for optimisation and improvement and to identify and reduce errors much more quickly and efficiently.

How to handle customer complaints

Customer complaint resolution involves being empathetic towards the customer’s specific situation and needs. This is not a roboticised or automated process. The customer is reaching out because they want to speak to a human who can understand their needs and address their concerns thoughtfully. With this in mind, it’s essential to understand how to approach customer complaints more effectively. The following points are worth considering:

  1. Listen actively and attentively and ask the right questions for greater understanding and clarification; acknowledge the problem; reiterate the problem to ensure you are both on the same page.
  2. Identify the type of complaint and the customer through a dashboard that gives you access to their profile and log it in your database.
  3. Make sure that irrespective of the channel used by your customers, your complaint management response time is super fast.
  4. Once a complaint is resolved, it’s important to verify this; give them proof that the solution has been implemented; ask to assist further; and finally, follow up after a few days.

Complaint management systems and their features

Nowadays, there’s no need for manual complaints management when all you need to do is have a shared system that your entire customer service team has access to. With features such as customer profiles, call or email logs that detail what went wrong and solutions that were offered, you can better verify the problem in question and its successful resolution.

The bottom line

When you are in search of a complaint management system, you’ll want one that offers customer relations management, booking history tracking, auto feedback management, SMS and notifications scheduling and a whole lot more. Luckily, ServiceOS offers just that.

Whether you use an online booking system and you want to keep better track of your services or you want to absolutely minimise the number of complaints your organisation receives, choosing the right complaints management system is the right route to take on the road to greater business efficiency and more happy customers.

Experience the power of the efficient complaints management system yourself. Book your demo now for a more streamlined business and happier customers.

Test our online booking software with an efficient complaint management system today!

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