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Choosing a Complaint Management System: Everything You Need to Know


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Choosing a Complaint Management System: Everything You Need to Know

14 Sep 2022

Eric Brown
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As more businesses struggle to get to grips with complaints, we’re seeing an increasing interest in complaint management solutions. And it’s not surprising with their ability to furnish organisations with the functionality needed to not only better manage their complaints, but to derive optimum levels of value from their complaints too. Ultimately, with the right solution in place, it’s possible to transform complaints from a cost centre into a real driver of profitability.

With this in mind, what is there to know about complaint management systems? What can they do and what should you be looking for when it comes to choosing the right solution for your business?

What Is Complaint Management?

Complaint management is how businesses deal with customer complaints, putting in place robust processes to manage the end-to-end customer complaint journey.

Done well, complaint management can help you:

  • Improve customer interactions

  • Reduce time to resolutions

  • Enhance the overall customer experience

  • Generate valuable insights into how your business can do better

Why Do You Need a Complaint Management System (CMS)?

As complaint volumes and complexity increase, businesses are finding it harder to manage the process and provide the correct outcomes. Spreadsheets, in-house applications or customer relationship management (CRM) solutions are proving to be no longer good enough, unable to capture the breadth and depth of information you need to not only resolve complaints but to derive maximum value from complaints data and deliver customer experience excellence too.

Ineffective and inefficient complaint management leads to a poor customer experience and unsatisfactory outcomes, which in turn can cause customers to go elsewhere. Compliance can be affected too; with your business at risk of falling foul of the regulators, subject to fines and a negative public perception of your organisation.

What Are the Benefits of a Complaint Management System?

With an effective end-to-end complaint management system in place, you can transform your entire complaint handling process. Not only will this result in happier customers but the insight available to your business is invaluable when it comes to continuous organization-wide development, using the wealth of information that complaints generate to underpin informed changes and improvements to products and services.

With the right solution at the heart of your complaints function, you can:

  • Resolve complaints more quickly with end-to-end management

  • Improve internal efficiency and streamline processes with a single version of the truth across all teams

  • Simplify even the most complex of complaints and cases with intelligent workflows

  • Identify underlying issues and deliver invaluable insight through in-depth root cause analysis

  • Easily access key metrics relevant to your business via comprehensive dashboards

  • Achieve customer experience excellence by capturing actionable insight, improving the quality and consistency of the end-to-end customer journey

  • Monitor staff performance and highlight areas for development with built-in quality assurance

What Should You Be Looking For in a Complaint Management System?

As standard, you need a complaint management system that can:

How Does a Complaint Management System Help With Regulatory Compliance?

Ever-increasing regulatory pressure means compliance has to be among your top priorities today, particularly if you’re operating in a highly regulated industry. What’s needed is a complaint management system that provides the depth and breadth of functionality required to ensure watertight regulatory compliance, even in the most challenging of sectors.

By putting in place the right combination of processes, workflows and controls, tailored to suit the particular needs of your business, the best complaint management systems can provide the ways and means to achieve full compliance, however stringent the requirements.

They do this by combining:

  • Industry-specific templates and tools

  • Full auditability to demonstrate robust compliance

  • In-depth reporting functionality

  • Comprehensive visibility across the entire customer journey

  • The latest regulatory and legal requirements

Customer Vulnerability

A pressing concern for financial services is the issue of customer vulnerability, with regulators now demanding evidence of just how fairly you treat vulnerable customers. A complaint management system can prove invaluable here, facilitating the fair treatment of vulnerable customers and with the transparent auditability required to demonstrate this to the regulators.

With a good complaint management system, you can:

  • Unlock your data to extract and amalgamate the information to a single, accessible, centralised source to build-up a comprehensive picture of just what vulnerability looks like among your customer base

  • Achieve joined-up working across departments to prevent customers slipping through the vulnerability net

  • Produce a single source of the truth across all stages of the complaint journey

  • Enhance reporting to demonstrate to the regulators how your business model, actions and culture all contribute to achieving the fair treatment of vulnerable customers

  • Benefit from intelligent workflows to ensure frontline staff take the correct course of follow-up action

  • Make use of vulnerability detection functionality to ensure the recognition of all vulnerable customers

  • Ensure vulnerable customers are treated with the appropriate care and correspondence suited to their individual needs

UK-Specific Compliance

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The right complaint management solution can help your business to fulfil its FCA requirements, not only speeding-up the end-to-end complaint journey to achieve resolutions within the mandated eight-week timeframe, but in a whole host of other ways too.

  • Reporting all complaints, formally or informally handled

  • Automation of time-consuming and error-prone tasks to ensure data integrity and speed up the complaints journey

  • Sending a Summary Resolution Communication (SRC) if the complaint is resolved before close of business of the third working day following receipt of the complaint

  • Multi-entity reporting for biannual complaints return

  • Easy to configure product and complaint type categories in line with FCA changes

  • Case timeline view showing all aspects of a case in a single view

  • Significant improvements in speed to resolution, keeping well within the eight-week timeframe

  • Increased visibility and transparency into customer complaints and feedback, alongside comprehensive root cause analysis (RCA) for in-depth, actionable insight

  • Dedicated remediation capabilities to deliver the necessary oversight and control while boosting remediation efficiency and helping to ensure consistently good outcomes

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

A good complaints management solution should cover more than just complaints, acting as a case management solution that can manage all manner of business processes, including General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rights requests.

Since coming into force in 2018, GDPR has proved to be a significant challenge for businesses. In the UK, a robust auditing process is managed by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which can issue fines of up to 4% of a company’s annual turnover or €20 million, whichever is greater. In particular, businesses must ensure the compliant management of the eight rights requests as defined by GDPR, putting in place the right processes to coordinate how these requests are managed, ensuring robust GDPR compliance, while fulfilling data obligations to customers without unnecessary delay.

The right solution can help you to secure watertight GDPR compliance, establishing optimum systems and processes to facilitate the effective management of the multiple rights requests that lie at the heart of the regulation. You should also be able to capture insights into the nature of all GDPR interactions, providing valuable feedback to inform data and privacy processes, with the potential to mitigate future requests. The functionality you should be looking for to aid GDPR compliance includes:

  • A single, centralised system to manage, log and process all GDPR rights requests

  • Business-wide alignment and consistency for managing requests

  • Automated processes to minimise human error

  • Easy configurability to allow the addition of new case types and associated workflows

  • Ability to capture GDPR governance and timeline requirements

  • Due diligence management

  • Transparent, auditable evidence of compliance meeting ICO requirements

  • In-depth search and report capabilities for transparent auditability

  • Streamlined, intuitive workflows to expedite all rights requests

  • Tools to readily identify GDPR requests

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Consumers can turn to the relevant ombudsmen, such as the UK’s Financial Ombudsman Service and Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFIN), to make a complaint about actual complaint handling, something that can be mitigated against through robust, efficient complaint handling in the first instance. In the event that there is an escalation, the right solution should provide specific processes for ADR, making this a much more manageable and less stressful time for your business.

Australian-Specific Compliance


ASIC’s most recent requirements for how financial firms deal with consumer complaints are set out in RG 271, which ups the ante considerably when it comes to Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR). Failure to comply with RG 271 can lead to both civil and monetary consequences, including fines of up to A$11 million, not to mention the reputational damage that non-compliance can cause.

What this means for financial services businesses is a real need to ensure customer experience excellence while upholding the highest standards of regulatory compliance. Thankfully, the right complaint management system can help to achieve full compliance in-line with RG 271.

  • Data Integrity

You can manage the entire complaints process through each stage of its lifecycle in a single, unified system. Intuitive workflows should guide front line staff through the registration and informal resolution process, ensuring mandatory information and activity are captured accurately and consistently before the complaint is automatically escalated to the relevant IDR Team/Officer.

This gives frontline staff and IDR officers a single view of the case, ensuring all complaint details are correctly captured in a single location, enabling greater responsiveness and the ability to immediately acknowledge the customer.

  • Efficiency and Compliance

Highly configurable workflows should encapsulate all the elements of RG 271 as standard processes, with time-consuming, repetitive steps such as responding to customers, escalation procedures and reminders all automated and handled by the system. Some solutions offer automatic mail merge functionality to auto populate case data into the generated communication, which can be then mailed or emailed to your customer as per customer preference. This allows your team to focus on the specific needs of your customer, delivering a consistently sound customer experience, which in turn results in measurable improvements in complaint handling.

  • Data Insight

Providing a broad range of tools for extracting the RG 271 required insights on customer satisfaction and complaints metrics, the right complaint management solution should be able to produce comprehensive regulatory reports using the ASIC IDR data dictionary. Interactive, customisable dashboards can provide at-a-glance visibility into the MI that matters the most — from case pipelines and outstanding tasks, to performance metrics, root cause trends and systemic issues.

Why Aptean Respond?

Having worked with the financial services industry for over 25 years, Aptean understands the daily pressures the sector faces. With the right systems in place, it’s possible to nurture long-term customer relationships, manage complaints and leverage feedback to drive real business improvements, all while optimising customer service and ensuring compliance with stringent regulatory requirements.

Our financial services complaint management and compliance solutions allow you to focus on your core business, staying efficient and profitable, while maintaining optimum levels of business agility.

To find out more about Aptean Respond, get in contact with our team today.

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