Customer Complaints Bring Raw Data and Business Intelligence
When it comes to dealing with customers, it’s often better to approach management with a “glass half full” attitude rather than a “glass half empty” position. While of course customers aren’t always right (like the old motivational poster reads), it’s simply not possible to make a habit out of telling customers they’re wrong…even when they are.
Complaints are a cost of doing business, and while you will inevitably identify some serial complainers who are truly a thorn in your contact center’s side, most people don’t revel in complaining. They usually have – or believe they have – a good reason for speaking out. Instead of viewing it as a burden, say customer support experts, turn them into an opportunity for intelligence gathering.
“Complaints, like any other type of call, also deliver raw data on what the company is doing right and what could be better,” wrote Monet Software (News - Alert) CEO Chuck Ciarlo in a recent blog post. “Paying attention to that feedback and making adjustments accordingly is one of the most important contributions a call center can deliver.”
Even after you’ve dutifully mined all the data from a complaint call, how do you handle it in a fast and efficient way to ensure it never happens again? Don’t make the mistake of escalating every complaint to upper management. Too many companies take their customer complaints SO seriously that they turn every complaint into a federal case…which lowers the chances of fast and complete resolution.
Empower your agents. Agents are the first people to hear about the complaints. In many organizations, they must then chase them up the chain of command. Instead, why not empower agents to hear, handle and then close complaints so customer get quick and satisfactory resolution? This is particularly important if the costs of resolving the complaints are relatively low.
“Customers with a product issue may call requesting a refund,” wrote Ciarlo. “Can your agents provide it, along with the requisite apology? If so, that customer may not be lost for good. But if that customer has to be put on hold and transferred, or is required to fill out a form that goes through a formal complaint procedure, he or she is probably done with your company.”
First-complaint resolution. While many organizations today keep first-call resolution as their most important metric, it’s critical to extend the idea to complaints, as well. For every extra day and extra step that’s build into complaint resolution, costs and delays spiral, which means that the company will spend more money to ultimately lose a customer.
Ensure agents are doing their jobs. Not all agents are going to want to become complaint resolution specialists. It’s simply easier to pass the job up the line to a manager by referring the complaint away. If you do expect agents to resolve complaints, ensure that the infrastructure is in place to monitor and manage it. This means a great workforce management solution.
“With a workforce management solution, it becomes much easier to target agents on such metrics as FCR, and to monitor unnecessary referrals,” wrote Ciarlo.
Your contact center already likely has most of the resources it needs to turn into a complaint resolution powerhouse. Resist the temptation to move problem resolution up the chain of command and consider how you can better handle complaints in place by empowering agents and providing them with the right tools to succeed.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi