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Rising Complaint Numbers – How To Prepare For What’s Next

Rising Complaint Numbers – How To Prepare For What’s Next

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Rising Complaint Numbers – How To Prepare For What’s Next

8 Nov 2021

Jack Jones
Customer service representative sitting at a desk

Recent industry warnings suggest it’s not going to be Christmas as usual in the UK. Shipping businesses are warning of the need ‘to plan ahead’ and major retailers are alerting us to potential problems in meeting customer demand. Product shortages and price hikes are on the cards, with the ongoing effects of the global pandemic and Brexit leading us all to question just how much of an impact this will have as we approach the festive season.

For businesses, not only will you be facing the challenge of disrupted supply chains but there’s also the likelihood of a rise in customer complaints. With complaint volumes already at their highest level since 2009 and with more customers tiring of COVID-19 being used as an excuse for lapses in customer service, the pressure is definitely on. Add to this the fact that many businesses are still struggling with staff shortages and there’s a potential perfect storm brewing for complaint management.

So, what can you do to prepare? Let’s take a look at how technology can help you weather the storm and improve your complaint handling processes.

Implement Effective Complaint Management

While it may be difficult for you to prevent these complaints occurring in the first place due to factors which are out of your control, how you manage these complaints will prove vital. And is entirely your responsibility. It really is a choice between ensuring the effective management of customer complaints or further alienating an already disgruntled customer base.

So, what should you be doing to boost the effectiveness of your complaint management? Well, unsurprisingly, technology is key. Manual, disconnected systems and spreadsheets are no longer up to the job of effective complaint management, particularly when you consider not only the volumes of complaints we’re all dealing with, but the increasing complexity too. What you need is a centralised, intuitive complaint management system, one that’s capable of managing the end-to-end customer complaint journey.

With such a system, all complaints are logged in the same way, recording the same level of information and capturing all customer interactions and data in a single location. And all that data is accessible to every member of your complaint team, meaning that when a customer makes contact, whoever deals with the enquiry has all the relevant information at their fingertips. Even if it’s not possible for you to resolve the customer complaint there and then, what you do have is the ability to provide a timely, accurate update, reassuring the customer that you’re dealing with their complaint.

Increase Efficiency

Complaint volumes may be rising but it’s often just not possible to increase complaint management resource accordingly, especially at the moment . Again, technology can help. Intelligent workflows within the right complaint management system can help to speed-up resolutions, increasing efficiencies when you need it most. Such technology can guide complaint handlers to the next course of action pertinent to that specific customer and complaint, preventing any unnecessary delays.

 This capability also helps to avoid unnecessary escalations. You may have had to redeploy more experienced and supervisory staff back to the front-line to deal with rising complaint volumes, meaning less resource to manage more complex complaints. Intelligent workflows can help give front-line complaint handlers the confidence and skills to independently manage customer complaints without having to escalate them to the next level, alleviating the pressure on your entire complaint function further.

Advanced solutions lessen the pressure on your supervisory team even more with in-built Quality Assurance checks and balances. These help to ensure you’re achieving not only speedy resolutions but quality resolutions, as well as identifying areas for staff development and training. These are needs which might have been missed while your business puts all hands to the pump to manage increasing complaint volumes.

Build a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Perhaps most importantly right now, the right complaint management system provides you with a seamless customer feedback mechanism, allowing you to readily identify the common problems customers are facing. Having access to this contextualised feedback enables you to address these issues where possible, underpinning a culture of continuous improvement with a view to enhancing the overall customer experience (CX).

While current circumstances may mean that there are many factors outside of your control affecting customer satisfaction, how you deal with these complaints is something you can control. With the right tools in place, your business can make the best of a far-from-ideal situation, achieving effective complaint outcomes while building strong, lasting customer relationships in the process.

For more information on how our Aptean Respond complaints management solution can help you prepare for changing complaint volumes contact us today.

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