“Customer is King” or “Customer is always right” – all these sayings that organizations used to swear by are fading away.
No, this doesn’t imply that you are not serving enough goods and services to your customers. More than the availability of products, it is about fulfilling your customer expectations these days. And, when they are not fulfilled, customers tend to make complaints and sometimes, they simply share their feedback through reviews.
Only when you handle the customers’ complaints effectively, you will be able to build stronger relationships with your customers. Moreover, these complaints, feedback, and reviews may unlock many new improvement opportunities for your business.
Before we move on the components of an effective complaints’ management process, let’s quickly look at the checklist that your complaints process should fulfill:
- It should be customer-focused
- It should offer complete visibility and traceability
- It should be easily accessible
- It should be responsive
- It should be objective and fair
- It should maintain confidentiality
- It should drive appropriate solutions
- It should be properly reviewed
- It should be accountable
- It should drive continuous improvements
To establish the right controls in place according to the checklist mentioned above, you should be aware of the 5 Key Components of the Effective Complaints Management System. Those components are:
- Well-Defined Customer Complaint Policy
If you take the aspect of complaints management seriously, you must have a well-defined customer complaint policy. The policy must include:
A. Definition of a complaint.
B. All the channels and methods the organization will use to receive complaints.
C. A detailed explanation of the complaints handling process including the dependencies on different departments or authorities.
D. A clear outline of the factors that make a complaint high on priority.
The complaints that fall in the category of high-on-priority can either be a complaint that points any sort of discrimination / violates any legalities or a complaint that could blemish the brand reputation such that the entire bottom line gets affected.
So, you must have a well-defined complaint policy for your organization to ensure that every member of your complaint handling team follows a standardized process. It will help avoid more damage to the image of the brand and your ability to do your business.
- Standardized Complaints Management Process
Like any other quality management process, the complaints management process should also be aligned in a standardized way to ensure that everyone follows the same processes and procedures to manage customer complaints effectively. Such sort of clarity in processes will help your internal team to be more efficient while limiting the compliance and quality risks in managing complaints.
If you don’t have a streamlined process for complaints management, you are likely to face bigger risks. Makes sure you formulate the complaints process after evaluating all the aspects such as receiving, investigating, and resolving the complaint. You may consider answering the following questions:
A. Are the timelines of the complaint responses specified?
B. Have you established a centralized database to store complaints and their respective investigations and resolutions?
C. Who will be responsible to record the complaint? Who will be involved in the investigation? Who will review the entire process? and much more.
D. Which complaints will go to management?
These are just a few of many questions that you can ask yourself and your team to establish the standardized complaints management process.
- Assigning Responsibilities
Assigning responsibilities are one of the key factors that contribute to the success of a complaint management process. But this may grow complex with expansion of the organization. If there will be no clarity about the responsibilities, you won’t be able to handle the complaints effectively.
So, whenever you create or review the complaints management process, make sure you have clearly communicated the responsibilities of each team member as to:
A. Who will be collecting and recording the complaints in the database?
B. Once the complaints are reported, who all will get the notification?
C. Which type of complaints will be resolved by which department?
D. Who will review the resolution of the complaint and approve it?
E. Who will notify the details to the top management?
F. When exactly a complaint should be escalated and to whom?
G. What are the respective timelines based on the complexity of a complaint?
H. What could be the consequences of not handling the complaints on time? Etc.
These questions depend on the internal structure of your organization. Clearly defining the responsibilities will reduce the chances of missing complaints, which could also hamper the brand image.
- Training and Development
Yet another important aspect of a successful complaints management system, training and development needs should be carefully analyzed and evaluated to ensure that the complaints management team responds to customer feedback, complaints, and queries with the most suitable and relevant solution.
Even if the team finds it difficult to respond to a customer complaint, they should know the right time and person to escalate the complaint for timely resolution. And, this all will be possible only when they will be trained for the role and responsibilities assigned to them.
For identifying the right training needs and programs, you can use a training management software since your team’s competency will reflect the organization’s capability to handle the customer complaints.
So, make sure your team is trained enough to handle all the critical complaints professionally while limiting the compliance risks.
- Tracking and Reporting
Now that you have a complaints management policy and standardized processes to manage policies with defined roles and responsibilities, it comes on analysis and review process to understand whether the processes you have established are working well. It will only be possible if you will have the right tracking and reporting system in place.
With proper tracking and reporting system, you can identify the loopholes in much lesser time and improve your product, processes, and even training programs to make your employees competent.
There are many complaints management software that comes with inbuilt features for tracking and reporting all the important insights of a complaints process such as who made the complaint, when was the complaint made, who handled the complaint, what was the resolution, etc.
The Bottom Line
Complaints handling is the most critical task to ensure customer satisfaction. You must implement advanced complaints management software like Qualityze to address all sorts of customer complaints in a proactive and timely manner. This will help you to keep your brand image preserved while ensuring that no compliance regulations are abandoned.
For more information, get in touch with our customer success team. They will help you establish a compliant-friendly complaints management system and handle the customer complaints more efficiently than ever.