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Make Customers Feel Valued Through the Complaints Journey

Make Customers Feel Valued Through the Complaints Journey


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Make Customers Feel Valued Through the Complaints Journey

5 Jan 2022

Eric Brown
Couple looking at a table from a financial advisor.

It’s never been easier or quicker to switch suppliers and service providers, with digital innovation and digital disruptors providing customers with the opportunity to seamlessly make a change. How you handle complaints can make all the difference when it comes to customer loyalty, with recent research showing a 24% higher customer retention rate following the resolution of a complaint for those who felt valued as an existing customer. Add to this the fact that 17% of customers said they would recommend a business to others as a result of their complaint if they felt valued, and it’s clear to see that making customers feel valued throughout the complaints process should be high up on the priority list.

So, how can you show your customers they’re valued?

Keep It Personal

A personalised approach always helps. This could be as straight-forward as addressing a customer by their preferred name or title, or making sure you use their preferred communications channel for all contact.  What’s vital is having the information at your disposal to enable you to treat customers in-line with their personal preferences at each interaction; customers shouldn’t have to be repeatedly asked how they like to be addressed or how they should be communicated with. Such information should be available to anyone who might be involved with the particular complaint, readily accessible, via a dedicated complaints management system for example, to ensure personalised communications every time.

Another core factor in personalising your customers’ experiences is empathy. Gathering as much information as possible from the customer is of course key to enable your complaint handlers to deal with a situation effectively. But empathy can also has a vital role to play in making customers feel they’re not only being listened to but understood as well. Being reassured that your complaint is understood and that the business will do everything possible to address it, can help smooth the path to resolution, managing expectations (and often emotions) from the outset.

Empathy Training For All

While clearly we’re all not created equal when it comes to empathy, these skills can be taught, provided you have the right training. Equipped with the right listening and empathy skills, in combination with comprehensive information about the customer that’s recorded at every interaction, any members of your complaint team will have the ability to make each customer feel valued, no matter at which stage of the complaint journey their interaction might be. No matter how empathic an individual complaint handler may be, if your customers have to repeat their experiences time and time again, it obviously does not make them feel valued. Instant access to comprehensive customer information is crucial, reinforcing the customer’s belief that you have a thorough understanding of their personal situation at any moment in time.

Additionally, the notion of understanding the impact of a complaint is vital. For example, a failed delivery of a parcel that’s needed as a birthday gift will have more of an impact than a failed delivery of a not-so-time-sensitive item. Empathic complaint handlers can recognise the differing impacts of complaints and respond accordingly.

This personalised, empathic approach and understanding of the differing impact of complaints is even more important when it comes to dealing with vulnerable customers, where it’s vital that complaint handlers are able to understand the vulnerability in question. This involves identifying any vulnerability at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure that the customer’s experience reflects the fact that they are vulnerable, resulting in a complaint journey that’s tailored to suit their specific circumstances. An issue that may seem a mere trifle to some, could very well take on a whole new dimension when a vulnerability is involved.

Again, the right combination of skills and information is crucial here, creating complaint handlers who are well-equipped to identify vulnerability, through training and the availability of systems with vulnerability detection capabilities built-in. The right systems can also signpost the next steps to be taken, specific to that individual customer, helping to personalise the entire experience further still.

Informing Best Practice With Customer Complaint Feedback

Ensuring customers feel valued doesn’t end with a quality outcome or resolution. To extend this feeling of being a valued customer, it’s important to understand your customers’ end-to-end experiences, making good use of post-resolution surveys to do just this. It shows your customers that you care about their experiences and, done well, can help you to improve future dealings with all customers, applying learnings and feedback to inform best practice across the business.

To do this requires tailoring surveys to suit the customer’s specific situation. A generic ‘we’re interested in your recent interaction with us’ survey certainly does not suggest that you value or even know your customers, potentially worsening the situation. A personalised, relevant survey tells your customer that you really know them and have a full understanding of their complaint, improving response rates considerably and creating relevant, contextualised feedback to apply back into the business. Even better still, if customers can see their feedback making a real difference to your business, it can demonstrate just how valued they are.

Making customers feel valued at every stage of the complaints journey has never been more important, with increasingly transient customers often easy to attract but definitely not so easy to retain. From initial interaction, through to resolution and beyond, the right combination of people, skills and technology can nurture valued customers, establishing strong relationships, underpinning new, improved ways of working, and boosting those all-important retention rates in the process.

For more information on how Aptean Respond complaint management solution can help you to ensure your customers feel valued, contact us today.

Putting FCA Guidance into Practice

This eBook provides detailed instructions on how FCA guidance can and should be applied when supporting customer vulnerability.

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