When was the last time you were inclined to make a complaint? Was your complaint met with a smile? Was your compliant acknowledged, logged, investigated and replied to in a reasonable time frame?
It goes without saying that the way a service organization handles customer complaints can determine whether it has a competitive advantage in the market. As a matter of fact, a well established system to manage customer complaints will serve well to enhance customer loyalty and the improve companies bottom line.
No company can avoid complaints. They are like taxes and death, inevitable. Complaints can be used to identify flaws in systems and help rectify the causes. Research findings show that customers with problems who did not complain were less loyal than those who did and had their issues resolved!
It is also proven that 1 to 5% complains to management or head office. 45% complain to agent, branch or frontline representatives and 50% encounter a problem but do not complain. In another word we need to start aggressively soliciting complaints to keep the company profitable.
Customer complaint is defined as A customer complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction by a customer, whether justified or not. Definition from BS 8600.
British Standards Institution has created the Complaints Management Assessment Specification CMSAS 86:2000, to meet customer needs and feedback. By adopting the Specification organizations are able to demonstrate to customers, stakeholders and the wider market that they have a real commitment to managing customer care issues and that procedures are in place to handle complaints.
The Complaints Management Assessment Scheme is a systematic approach giving guidance to organizations on how to react when customers are not satisfied. It offers assistance on giving effective response, whether it is simply a case of saying "sorry" or whether larger actions involving compensation are involved.
The complaints management system is entirely supportive and complimentary to ISO 9001:2000, in particular how customer care is demonstrated. The scheme can help organizations capture crucial customer feedback, establish mechanisms and procedures for responding to customer complaints and queries. It can help organizations in their pursuit of wider organizational excellence through continuous service, product and process improvement. Much like ISO 9001:2000 the specification requires senior management commitment.
The main requirements that are addressed in the standard are: policy, planning, management reviews, fairness for staff and customers, establishing procedures to acknowledge, log, analyze and respond to complaints, confidentiality, measures and audits. In a nutshell, the standard will provide your company with a road map to achieve higher level for customer care, retention and loyalty.
The following are some recommendation for companies who want to pursue a customer complaints culture:
1. Consider complaints as golden opportunities for improvement
2. Encourage your customer to express their dissatisfaction
3. Simplify the process of complaining and acknowledge your customers point of view
4. Build a documented system and maintain records
5. Train your employees
6. Use a world-class standard as a benchmark for your system or even consider getting certified against that standard.
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