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Aptean Respond vs. Salesforce: Which Is Best for Complaints Handling?


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Aptean Respond vs. Salesforce: Which Is Best for Complaints Handling?

Jun 12, 2024

Eric Brown
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We get it: when you’ve spent money on a customer relationship management (CRM) system, it’s hard to justify a separate piece of software for managing complaints.

But if your organisation operates in a highly regulated industry like financial services or local government, effective complaints handling is even more crucial to your customer service.

Why is specialist complaint handling software like Aptean Respond a better option than an all-purpose CRM system like Salesforce? Let’s take a deep dive into seven key reasons.

1. Aptean Respond Is Quicker To Deploy Than Salesforce

How quickly can you get up and running with a new complaints management system? With an enterprise CRM solution there could be complex requirements that lengthen the onboarding procedure. Companies like Salesforce aren’t complaints specialists, so you’ll need to steer the process.

As Aptean Respond is a purpose-built complaint handling solution, it offers specialised functionality out of the box. And because it’s cloud-based, there’s no on-site installation required.

Our customer service team will drive your implementation, setting up systems and processes that work for your specific needs. And we’ll train super users within your business, empowering them with the skills to make changes internally.

2. It's Easier to Configure Our Complaints Management Software

Configurability is another advantage of choosing Aptean Respond vs. Salesforce.

With a general CRM system, you often need to raise a ticket and wait for IT support to make changes. And complaints handling is rarely a top priority when software is being used by multiple departments.

Aptean Respond offers greater ownership because your customer service team can configure it themselves. If they want to add a new data field, they can do it in seconds—no need to wait for your IT team or CRM vendor to help.

3. Aptean Respond Is an Industry-Specific Solution; Salesforce Isn’t

In highly regulated sectors, you need confidence that your complaints management software can meet the latest legislation—financial services and local government are the sole focuses of Aptean Respond.

Our team continually scans the horizon for regulatory changes to help you stay up to date. There are many examples of regulation changes directly impacting the way businesses manage complaints. For instance:

  • In 2015, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) introduced PS15/19 to improve complaints handling and feedback.

  • In 2023, it introduced Consumer Duty, setting higher and clearer standards of customer protection.

  • The FCA's 2024 ruling on discretionary commission agreements (DCAs) in motor finance caused a huge spike in complaints.

For Salesforce and other general CRMs, responding to regulatory changes can be a long process, putting your company at risk of non-compliance. A Salesforce account manager can advise on the technical process, but they can’t always speak knowledgeably about what's happening in your industry.

As a business-owned application, it’s easy to make governance changes within Aptean Respond, giving you (and your customers) peace of mind. And our team can support you through the process using in-depth industry knowledge.


of the top high street banks and insurers use Aptean Respond

4. We've Got 30+ Years of Complaints Handling Experience

Aptean Respond has been helping companies manage complaints and reach good customer outcomes for more than three decades.

We’re a trusted advisor to household names including AXA Insurance, BUPA Global, Close Brothers, Hastings Insurance, LV=, MotoNovo Finance and Nationwide.

60% of the top high street banks and insurers use Aptean Respond, and 56% of FCA reportable complaints are channelled through our technology.

In contrast, Salesforce and other generalist software providers have been focused on building the best CRM system. They're only now adding complaints management.

When you compare Aptean Respond vs. Salesforce, our solution offers advanced features for handling customer complaints, including:

  • Text analytics capabilities: Aptean Respond can analyse unstructured text to define whether customers have shared compliments or complaints.

  • Vulnerable customer support: Text analysis helps you identify key phrases that indicate customers could be vulnerable.

  • Smart suggestions: Aptean Respond uses artificial intelligence (AI) functionality to model cases and make smart suggestions that resolve complaints quicker, and ensure your team applies consistent outcomes.

  • Root cause analysis: In addition to dealing with complaints efficiently, our data analytics reveal critical insights that can stop complaints in the first place.

Salesforce might develop more industry-specific complaints features in the future, but Aptean Respond can offer you this functionality today.

5. Aptean Respond Coordinates Cases From Beginning to End

Aptean Respond takes a fundamentally different approach to managing complaints than CRM software. We capture information by case, not just by customer, so you don’t have to create multiple tickets and tasks within each account.

Instead, your customer service agent can pull up a one-page summary when they’re dealing with a complaint, so they’ve got all the case data at their fingertips.

If that query escalates into a formal complaint that goes through arbitration, you can easily extract a compliant view to share with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) or Local Government Ombudsman (LGO).

6. Our Team Provides Long-Term Support

An enterprise software vendor has a lot of customers on their roster. You may be shown care and attention during the sales process, but will you get the same support once you've onboarded their CRM?

While Aptean Respond is a business-owned application, our technical team are on-hand to offer support, tools and training. We’ll help you embed our software and upskill your team to manage system changes.

We want to help you work independently—so we won’t keep trying to upsell add-ons and configurations. We’ll only recommend new features to grow your business.

And as your organisation expands, so does our cloud-based platform. You won’t need to revamp your system in 18-24 months, as you might with a complaints management module bolted onto general CRM software.


of FCA reportable complaints are channelled through our technology.

7. Aptean Respond Can Prove More Cost Effective Than Salesforce

Software choices often come down to cost. But while a generic CRM like Salesforce might seem cheaper (especially if you’re using it already in other parts of the business), the cost of making it fit for purpose soon adds up.

There are many hidden costs involved in converting a general CRM system to manage complaints, including:

  • Implementation costs: It takes longer and is more expensive to customize your CRM for complaints than an out-of-the-box system like Aptean Respond.

  • Configuration costs: As we’ve mentioned above, your team can configure Aptean Respond internally so you don’t need to pay a consultant.

  • IT support costs: If you have to get your software vendor or IT company to manage and maintain your complaints handling software, the total cost of ownership soon increases.

  • Complaint resolution costs: A specialist complaints management platform like Aptean Respond will help you resolve queries more efficiently, lowering the average cost per complaint.

  • Customer attrition costs: If you give customers a poor service experience, they’ll vote with their feet. Advanced software like Aptean Respond will help you to deliver a better quality customer experience.

  • Staff turnover costs: Customer services has a high staff turnover as it is, and sub-par systems contribute to people’s frustrations. Aptean Respond’s purpose-built processes and user-friendly dashboards are easy for customer service agents to use.

  • Regulatory costs: If complaints can’t be resolved quickly, they may be referred to an industry regulator. This disrupts operations and could result in financial penalties for your business.

We’ve encountered customers who moved to a general CRM and then came back to Aptean Respond because the software couldn’t meet their needs—after spending £100,000 on new technology.

Put Your Complaints Management Processes in Safe Hands

Ultimately, if you’re in charge of improving the complaints management system for your business, it comes down to three questions:

  1. Do you want to take a leap of faith with a system that wasn’t specifically designed to manage complaints?

  2. Or, would you rather use a specialist complaints management system that’s been refined by industry experts and is trusted by companies with thousands of customers?

  3. And if you're under pressure from other parts of the business to switch to Salesforce, are you willing to compromise functionality and incur ongoing costs?

By choosing a less proven system, you're not just compromising on functionality; you're risking regulatory non-compliance and the penalties that come with it.

Aptean Respond offers you best-in-class complaints management, and we can also integrate with your Salesforce CRM for joined-up customer relationships.

Want to know more? Book an Aptean Respond product demo.

Achieving Customer Service Excellence with Aptean Respond

In this eBook, you will learn about the success organizations like yours have had when using Aptean Respond for their complaint and case management.

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