As we discussed in our last article, every business has some form of complaint that they have to deal with. We also discussed six types of businesses where complaint management is critical. The most important thing for any business, regardless of type, is to have a complaint management process in place. In this article, we talk about some of the benefits of using software to help you manage complaints.
Why Software? Won’t Spreadsheets Work?
Emails, phone calls, social media, and website pages all provide a mechanism for submitting a complaint. But what happens then? How do customers stay in the loop? How do you make sure that the complaint is resolved? How do you prevent future complaints?
Although spreadsheets are a common way to capture data, challenges arise when you want to communicate with the customer or have multiple team members trying to work complaints:
- Are messages to and from the customer captured on the record, or do you find yourself frequently searching email folders?
- How do you know when someone else is working on a complaint?
- Do you have a team of people that need to be working complaints at the same time?
- Is all the necessary data being logged accurately and in a timely manner?
- Are you able to report on potential trends and perform detailed analysis?
If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, it may be time to investigate using software for complaint management, especially if you and your team are having a hard time tracking who’s doing what.
Benefits of Software
Many companies have discovered that using a software application is the best way to track complaints all the way from submission to resolution. Because of the sensitive nature of complaints, having a software tool allows you to define your process and then concentrate on making sure your customers are happy and kept safe, while maintaining your reputation and compliance status.
Here are four other benefits of using software for complaint management:
- Acknowledgement & Communication: How Do Your Customers Know They’re Being Heard?
When you have a complaint, the most important thing is that your complaint is heard and your problem is addressed. If complaints get lost, they can’t be resolved. Good complaint management software will allow you to set up automatic acknowledgements. You can still keep your methods of submission, but software can turn an email into a tracked incident that can be updated and automatically shared with the customer as emails. This lets your customer know you’ve received their complaint and are taking steps to resolve it. Effective acknowledgement and ongoing communication goes a long way towards making your customer feel valued.
- Accountability: Who’s Following up on the Complaint?
When a complaint is passed to someone for resolution, how do you know they’ve handled it properly? With software, you can assign an incident to any team member or an entire group of people. Any communications will be time and date stamped so you’ll easily see who updated the incident. It may be helpful to have the capability to automatically escalate a complaint to a manager if it hasn’t been satisfactorily resolved in a certain time frame. This keeps your team members accountable for the incidents that they’re responsible for. By allowing multiple team members to work in the software at the same time, there’s no delay in the updates.
- Security & Confidentiality: Are You Keeping Customer Info Private and Safe?
Who has access to view your complaints can be a large concern. If you’re dealing with confidential information, you want to make sure that only those people who absolutely need to see the incidents can do so. Using software for complaint management will allow you to restrict access when necessary. You could give only a handful of people permission to log into the software, or limit which incidents can be viewed by others. Certain fields might even need to be locked down so that they can only be seen by a subset of those that can view the incident. This is especially important in Human Resources, harassment, or bullying situations where incidents typically contain highly sensitive information.
- Repetition & Reporting: Where Are the Complaint and Incident Trends?
If you get comparable complaints, are they handled the same way each time? Are they fully resolved? Are you able to pull data on why the complaints happened? Ultimately, you need to be able to identify trends and prevent future complaints. If your manager asked you to quickly tell them how many complaints were submitted in the past month and how many were resolved, would you be able to easily pull that information? Better yet, with complaint management software, you could set up a report for your manager to be automatically sent to her without you having to make any calculations. Good reporting helps you make critical business decisions when necessary to avoid future problems.
So I’ve Decided To Get Software, What’s Next?