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Ownership and Accountability for Frontline Complaints

Ownership and Accountability for Frontline Complaints


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Ownership and Accountability for Frontline Complaints

Ene 26, 2023

Eric Brown


  • Faster Resolutions Are Often Seen as the Holy Grail of Complaint Management.
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With recent research showing that 80% of customers are retained when complaints are resolved within the first two days, organizations are right to work hard to resolve complaints as quickly as they can wherever possible. But to achieve this requires a frontline team of complaint handlers who not only can resolve complaints, but who are empowered to do so. How can you increase complaint ownership and accountability for frontline complaints, boosting first-point-of-contact resolutions in the process?

Understand Why Complaints Are Not Resolved at the Frontline

While organizations often use management information to inform KPIs in an effort to achieve faster resolution rates, some are a little further behind in their understanding of exactly why complaints are not being resolved at the frontline. If you are going to increase complaint ownership and accountability on the frontline, understanding the barriers to frontline resolutions are key.

Training is, of course, crucial. For example, not only should your employees be trained in handling frontline complaints, but do they know the kind of scenarios where they are expected to achieve early resolutions and what about access to advice and guidance from elsewhere in the business? To prevent unnecessary escalations, can your team readily contact complaint team leaders or supervisors or even other departments for the instant advice needed to resolve complaints at the frontline?

Technology to Support Skills and Training

Technology too can help, providing the tools and information to facilitate frontline complaint resolutions. This could be something as simple as a redress table, showing examples of types or amount of redress awarded for certain situations, or even suggested responses to certain types of complaints or comments.

Access to model cases can help too. Complaint handlers can search for model complaints that are similar to the complaint they are dealing with, defining search parameters such as "complaint type" and "product type", to deliver a list of model complaints to compare and contrast with their current open complaint. This can help guide your frontline team to the next course of action, resulting in faster, more effective resolutions.

Similarly, the right complaints management solution can offer smart suggestion functionality, again helping to guide your complaint handlers in the direction of the optimum next best steps to take in a particular complaint journey. Smart suggestions can highlight where similar types of cases are ultimately resolved, listing where and which team obtained a resolution—perhaps helping to prevent any unnecessary escalations or delays and thus encouraging your frontline teams to dig a little deeper to try and resolve the complaint instead of automatically passing it elsewhere.

Close the Complaint Loop

It is all very well to give your frontline the skills and resources to enable them to resolve frontline complaints. but how can you empower your team to want to close complaints? This is where the notion of closing the complaint loop comes into play by ensuring the frontline team can see the results of their resolutions.

This can be achieved via direct customer feedback, survey results or management praise for good outcomes. Going that extra mile, some businesses are using the results of in-depth root cause analysis to take corrective action and making changes that, in theory, should prevent such complaints arising again. If this information is then fed back to the frontline, they can see the fruits of their labors, not only in achieving good outcomes for customers but in helping to inform organizational change which can lead to a reduction in overall complaint numbers.

It is important to remember that although complaint teams may manage complaints, it is not usually their actions that result in the complaint. Therefore, it is imperative that you ensure the right department or people are accountable for addressing and resolving any root causes that the complaint team might identify. The frontline might be responsible for resolving the complaint, but it is the wider business that really should be addressing and resolving the underlying root cause.

Frontline teams are under more pressure than ever—operating in environments where complaint numbers are rising and complaint complexity is increasing. With the right combination of training, technology and business-wide complaint accountability, it is possible to achieve more first-point-of-contact resolutions and to empower your frontline to secure faster, better outcomes for all customers.

For more information on how Aptean Respond can help to empower your team handle frontline complaints, contact us today.

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