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Complex Complaints – Why First Point of Contact Resolutions Aren’t Always Best

Complex Complaints – Why First Point of Contact Resolutions Aren’t Always Best

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Complex Complaints – Why First Point of Contact Resolutions Aren’t Always Best

Jul 23, 2021

Jack Jones

Complex complaints are on the rise. More businesses are now faced with a backlog of complaints that customers chose not to make during the early months of the pandemic as well as those complaints caused by the knock-on effects of COVID-19. These increases in complexity and volumes put even more pressure on already-stretched complaint management teams, particularly when it comes to achieving resolutions quickly and effectively.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority mandates an 8-week timeframe for the resolution of complaints but, in terms of customer retention, this is far too long. Recent research shows that 80% of customers are retained when complaints are resolved within the first two days, a figure that starts to fall as soon as the complaint takes more than two days to resolve. This optimum two-day window has meant that more businesses are aiming for first-point-of-contact (FPOC) resolutions, regarded by some as the Holy Grail of complaint resolution when it comes to not only customer retention but customer experience (CX) excellence too.

Quality Resolutions vs. Speedy Resolutions

However, this drive towards FPOC resolution isn’t always the right approach, particularly for more complex complaints. Resolve an issue too quickly and it might seem that it hasn’t been given enough care and attention or that processes aren’t rigorous or robust enough; too slow, and you run the risk of losing the customer altogether. Additionally, escalating a complaint to a different team or department can cause a customer to expect some form of redress, which of course is certainly not guaranteed, and so runs the risk of alienating that customer further still. While a speedy response can sometimes be regarded as compromising on quality, a lengthy wait time can have an equally detrimental impact on customer experience.

In light of this, what’s needed is a focus on quality outcomes rather than timescales, implementing a tailored approach to complaint management where one size definitely does not fit all. And, at the heart of this lies empowered complaint handlers, equipped with the skills and tools to recognize and implement the best approach for each and every complaint received.

While the aforementioned research shows that across 87% of businesses some, if not all, front-lines complaint handlers can resolve complaints, two-thirds of consumers didn’t think front-line employees had the authority to do so. Clearly, there’s a gap in perception and perhaps customer experience here.

The Right Training and Tools

Complaint handlers need to be given the training to resolve complaints whenever possible, alongside the training to recognize when FPOC resolution isn’t the best option. This then enables them to escalate or further investigate a complaint where necessary, without feeling the pressure to achieve FPOC resolution, especially when this could serve to exacerbate the issue further still.

Training alone simply isn’t enough—information is key. Improving access to customer information for front-line employees is a must if quality outcomes are to be the order of the day, every day. And, the fact that 63% of front-line complaint handlers said they don’t always have access to the information needed to resolve a complaint shows this is a real issue.

Providing a single view of the customer goes a long way to facilitating quality outcomes, providing the insight into the customer journey that’s required to determine the best way to resolve a particular complaint. It’s only with this information, available to any complaint handlers who interact with a customer at any one time, that swift, effective resolutions can be achieved, even for the most complex of complaints.

This information also enables accurate customer updates to be given. If FPOC resolutions aren’t appropriate or even possible, tell the customer this, to manage expectations and mitigate against the risk of alienating the customer further still. And, the right systems to provide this single version of the truth for each and every customer interaction are key, providing the right information, in the right format, to the right people, at the right time, underpinning effective resolutions where quality not speed is of the essence.

More businesses are turning to Aptean Respond for help with complaints, reliant on the depth and breadth of information captured by the complaint management system to enable swift, effective resolutions every time, optimizing the customer experience and increasing customer loyalty.

Contact us today to learn how Aptean Respond can make a real difference to your business.

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