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Customer Services And Smoothing The Complaint Handling Process

By Expert Author: Donald Nason

The Institute of Customer Service has some interesting statements about customer response to complaint handling:

• Nearly all customers would recommend a company to their friends if a complaint had been resolved efficiently
• Four out of five customers would spread the word if a complaint had been handled badly
• Most customers would pay more for excellent service.

And the definition of ‘complaint’? The Institute of Customer Service gives the meaning according to that of the British Standards Institution – ‘An expression of dissatisfaction whether justified or not’. So while few would question the importance of doing all they can to ensure good customer relations, for many organisations the sheer volume of ‘complaints’ can be overwhelming.

This month the Daily Telegraph reported that in the second half of 2013 alone, financial companies received 2.5 million complaints and were having to deal with thousands of calls and emails daily.

A Customer Services solution provides document capture, process workflow and on-line file access to streamline complaint handling, easing the work of Customer Services staff and promoting far better customer relationships.

With automated capture and routing for all document formats – email, paper, eForm, fax or mobile – customers can record their complaint via the method of their choice, but they can all be handled efficiently within the same system.

Complaint Handling identifies complaints automatically, validates and verifies key data, and routes the complaint straight to the relevant individual or department for swift response.

For customers opting to telephone, the Customer Services team can record details on to an eForm, and the complaint is instantly uploaded into the system. Whether dealing with telephone customers or responding to complaints logged via other means, swifter resolution is far easier as with Complaint Handling the Customer Services team has access to all relevant information for any particular customer. The customer is getting better service, and it’s cutting down on the time the Customer Services team needs to spend on each query.

Outgoing replies can be generated manually or automatically, according to business or organisation preference, and again delivered via the method that best suits the customer for enhanced customer service.

Online editorial Business Zone refers to a survey in which results point to the five top reasons for losing customer loyalty as:

• Telephone calls being transferred between staff
• Getting no response to an email
• The length of time being put on hold
• Being unable to reach a human
• Unknowledgeable staff.

In addition, the Institute of Customer Service highlights the need to learn from every complaint. A Customer Services solution BI suite provides staff performance and KPI information, statistics to prompt remedial action or training and can help organisations the source of the complaints.

There’s no danger of losing complaints, responses are tracked and monitored by workflow, timeframes are monitored, and overdue work highlighted and escalated according to process rules.

Keeping complaining customers should be ‘top priority’, says the Institute of Customer Service – particularly, as the Institute points out, as it takes on average 56 days to get on board a new customer, and costs five times as much to gain this new customer as to keep an existing one.

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