Ir al contenido
Header Secondary Logo
Header Secondary Logo

Destacado en este post

What Is Complaint Management Software and How Does It Work?


Explora esta solución

What Is Complaint Management Software and How Does It Work?

Jun 18, 2024

Martin Canwell
Man sitting in front of his computer for an online meeting.

Customers have been complaining since (probably) the dawn of commerce.

But if, up until a few decades ago, you might have been able to get away with a subpar response, that simply won't fly anymore. Today, customers can make their displeasure known to thousands of people on social media—and walk out of your virtual doors into a competitor's arms—with a few swipes on their phones.

More to the point, if you're in a regulated industry like financial services, you have to follow specific rules about how to handle complaints. Alongside damaging your reputation, non-compliance could get you in trouble with the regulator and result in costly fines.

The good news is that your support team doesn't have to depend solely on their own elbow grease to manage customer complaints. Customer complaint management software can make their job easier, solve issues to customers' satisfaction more quickly and efficiently, and even help you reduce the volume of complaints.

All while helping secure watertight compliance. But what is complaint management software? How does it work? And how do you choose a complaint management system that's right for your organization?

What Is Complaint Management Software?

Good customer complaint management software helps you handle complaints more efficiently from the first interaction with the customer until the issue is resolved to their satisfaction.

It simplifies the process of gathering information about complaints. Just as important, it helps support teams get to the bottom of what happened, come up with appropriate solutions more quickly and keep the complainant informed every step of the way.

Most complaint management systems do this in two main ways:

  1. Automating time-consuming, repetitive tasks. These are the nuts-and-bolts of the complaint management process: tasks like logging complaints, status-tracking and client communications.

  2. Streamlining the complaint handling workflow. By acting as the central hub for your complaint handling function, complaint management software makes it easier to coordinate, collaborate and resolve complaints.

The best complaint management systems also help with the bigger picture, providing you with features and data you can use to continually improve your complaint handling process and even take action to prevent complaints.

Who Is Complaint Management Software Useful For?

Complaint management software benefits everyone who has a stake in the successful resolution of complaints:

  • Frontline staff. Recording complaints is just one of the many plates customer service representatives are spinning on any given day, so they might not be familiar with the complaint process' nuances. The best systems hold their hands, ensuring they gather the correct information and hand it off to the right people for investigation and follow-up.

  • Complaint handlers. Complaint management software makes it easier for complaint-handling staff to access the information they need to investigate and resolve complaints. It also alerts them to important dates and ensures consistency through standardization.

  • Team leaders. Complaint management software gives team leaders greater visibility into their pipeline: volume and status of complaints, and what every team member's workload looks like. It also helps evaluate individuals' performance—useful for spotting training gaps and deploying resources more effectively.

  • Quality assurance professionals. By monitoring performance in real time or after the fact, complaint handling software helps identify areas that need improvement, as well as issues that, once addressed, could speed up resolution times or reduce the volume of complaints.

  • Compliance teams. Tailor-made industry templates and compliance-driven workflows bake compliance into the process. Good complaint management systems also document your approach to complaint handling, making it easier to prove you're following the rules.

  • The C-Suite. Senior managers are personally responsible for compliance. This means it's important to keep an eye on what's going on across the firm, including complaint handling. Complaints data is also valuable from a business perspective, helping inform decision making and drive firm-wide improvements.

  • Customers. A more efficient, effective and proactive complaint handling system means happier customers. And happier customers are more likely to stick around. A Deloitte study found firms overestimate client satisfaction by up to 14%. Using software to streamline and improve complaint management can give you the edge over your competitors.

How Does Complaint Management Software Work?

A complaint management system optimizes every stage of the complaints workflow: data capture, investigation, resolution and fulfillment, and insight.

It also shows you critical statistics such as the number of active complaints, the average time before resolution, the root causes of complaints and how individual complaint team members are performing. This enables you to address your weaknesses, increasing customer satisfaction and reducing the number of complaints over time.

Here's a more detailed look at how a good complaint management system works and improves every stage of the complaints process.

Stage 1. Data Capture

Good complaint management software improves data capture in two key ways:

A. Increase Speed and Accuracy of Data Capture

Complaint management software speeds up data capture process and reduces risk of mistakes through a combination of standardized workflows and automations.

You can create templates that spell out which bits of information team members must collect when a customer makes first contact. This means customer service representatives will know exactly what to ask for, even if they're new or inexperienced. The best software has templates you can use out of the box or tailor to suit your organization's requirements, so you're not starting from scratch.

Through integrations with other components of your tech stack, such as your customer relationship management (CRM) software, complaint management systems can also automatically populate some data fields using information you already have on file. And they can verify the customer's address and other key information and help staff flag important issues, such as whether a complainant is vulnerable.

B. Enable Customers To Communicate Via Their Preferred Channel

While some customers are happy picking up the phone or emailing, others would rather send a direct message on social media or use a live chat function. But if your staff are spread too thin, there's a risk service will suffer or complaints will fall through the cracks.

Complaint management software solves the problem by gathering the data from all your various communication channels in one place. Customers can complain through their preferred channel, which makes the process more accessible—and accessibility is a key regulatory obligation.

At the same time, staff have a single, unified view of every complaint that comes in, regardless of the channel the customer has used to get in touch. And, because every complaint is logged on the same system, standard data capture and investigation workflows apply, enabling you to deliver a consistent level of service.

Stage 2. Investigation

Complaint management software improves investigations by making it easier for complaint handlers to get to the bottom of what triggered a complaint and manage expectations through clear, timely communications.

Integration with your CRM software, social media accounts, Microsoft Outlook and other customer touchpoints enable complaint management software to collect information about what happened in the lead-up to the complaint, giving complaint handlers a 360-degree view.

Staff members can also see the customer's complaints history and the status of active complaints at a glance—handy if the customer asks for an update and the complaint handler isn't familiar with the case.

The former is useful because it enables staff to adapt their response. Say a customer has complained about the same issue before. Alongside resolving the current complaint, this information tells the complaint handler they should look into why there has been a repeat.

Good complaint management software can also automatically acknowledge complaints within the timeframes set out by regulators.

Stage 3. Resolution and Fulfilment

At the end of the day, what customers really want—and what regulators expect—is for you to treat them fairly. Customer complaint management software helps ensure fairness through consistent and predictable outcomes.

Because the process is standardized, every complaint follows the same journey from initial logging through to investigation and resolution. Data from previous cases can suggest useful lines of enquiry, while final response templates, which you can customize to suit your sector and brand, help complaint handlers explain the reasoning behind their decisions as clearly and effectively as possible.

Staff can further ensure consistency by seeing how similar complaints were resolved and approaching active complaints accordingly. This also helps reach a resolution more quickly. If customers in comparable situations were offered $200 in compensation, for instance, the complaint handler could offer a similar award without having to double-check with a supervisor.

Once you've communicated your decision, complaint management software also helps make sure you keep your promises. Say you've awarded compensation. Specialized complaint management software tracks whether the payment has gone out, and whether it has done so within the timeframe you said it would.

Similarly, if you assured the customer you won't incorrectly flag a particular type of transaction as suspicious anymore, the complaint management system can track whether their file has been updated.

Stage 4. Insight

Perhaps the most powerful aspect of the best complaint management software is that it shows you exactly where you're going wrong. This gives you an opportunity to take remedial action, which will help you improve the quality of your service.

When it comes to the complaint-handling process itself, good complaint management systems facilitate continuous improvement through thorough quality assurance, performance analysis and customer feedback.

Monitoring how well your complaint handlers are doing—and your overall performance—helps you identify any areas you need to address. For example, you might discover your approval hierarchy is slowing things down. Or that a number of investigative steps could be consolidated, streamlining the process.

All too often, there can be a disconnect between how well you think you're doing and customers' perceptions. With this in mind, asking complainants to fill out a survey is extremely valuable, because it enables you to put yourself in their shoes.

Complaint management software simplifies the process of asking for and collecting customer feedback. Closing a complaint can trigger an email or text that links to an online feedback form. The software can also gather the survey data and represent the findings visually so team leaders, quality assurance professionals and the C-Suite can study it.

Just as important, root cause analysis helps you identify wider issues and take proactive steps to address them.

Say you sell auto insurance. Root cause analysis shows that a sizeable chunk of complaints relate to a section of your policy where the wording isn't clear and, so, often misunderstood. Armed with this knowledge, you can tweak your policy wording to remove ambiguity, so fewer customers will complain in future.

Similarly, if customers constantly express displeasure about the way claims handlers or support staff speak to them, you can provide training that helps them develop more empathy and teaches them how to navigate tricky situations.

Continuous improvement increases customer satisfaction and can help reduce or even eliminate some types of complaints.

Which Key Features Should Complaint Management Software Include?

Your choice of complaint management system depends on your individual circumstances. Factors such as your organization's size, which verticals and jurisdictions you operate in and even the languages your customers speak all have a bearing on your decision.

That said, complaint management software ultimately has three core purposes: 1) to make your complaints team's life easier, 2) to deliver better customer service and 3) to minimize risk.

With this in mind, here are four key features you should look out for when choosing customer complaint management software:

  1. Industry-specific templates and workflows. We've said it before, but it bears repeating. The best complaint management software embeds compliance into the complaint management process. This helps improve outcomes and ensures every complaint you handle consistently meets regulatory standards. Specialized systems achieve this in a number of ways. They make it easier for complaint-handling staff to collect, verify and retrieve key information. They flag important dates, such as by when you need to acknowledge a complaint or send a final response. They also detect critical information about your customers which you might otherwise miss, such as whether they should be classed as vulnerable.

  2. Third-party integrations. By connecting to your CRM software, accounting tools, product databases and other systems, complaint management software gives you a 360-degree view of individual clients' histories. And this means you can give them a more personalized service. Integrations are also valuable because they break down silos, making it easier for different teams across your firm to share information and collaborate. And, by connecting to your customer email, social media accounts, and other customer-facing contact points, they enable you to offer your customers a truly omnichannel experience.

  3. Comprehensive reporting. Complaint management software should be able to do two things well: document every aspect of your complaint handling process, and make it possible for you to slice and dice the data whichever way you need to. The former makes audits and supervisory visits less stressful. And the latter enables you to use complaints data to make decisions that help move your business forward.

  4. Cloud-based interface. Cloud-based complaint management software is more secure, more cost-effective and easier to scale than on-premise deployments. There's no CapEx, and the OpEx is significantly lower because one single subscription fee covers everything: infrastructure, maintenance, updates and support. Vendors of cloud-based software also invest significant resources to make sure your data stays safe. Their reputation depends on it.

Complaints Are Inevitable. It’s How You Handle Them That Counts.

Good complaint management isn't just about ensuring you don't fall foul of regulatory rules. In an ever more competitive market, it's a strategic imperative.

Customers whose complaints are resolved quickly and efficiently are more loyal, spend more money, and are also more likely to recommend you to family and friends.

Aptean Respond, our customer complaint management software, is designed to lighten your complaint team's workload, ensure compliance, and make it easy for you to build on your strengths and address weaknesses and service gaps.

Automated workflows do all the spadework and guide frontline staff through the steps they need to take to resolve each complaint, ensuring their approach is in line with applicable regulatory rules and requirements.

And, with real-time analysis, case-modeling and smart suggestions built in, it speeds up decision-making and promotes consistent, predictable and fair outcomes.

Our clients report reducing data capture time by 87% and reporting time by 87.5%. Want to see how Aptean Respond can help you build a more effective complaint handling function and stronger relationships with your customers?

Book a FREE, no-obligation demo to see it in action.

¿Todo listo para transformar tu negocio?

Tenemos las soluciones especializadas que necesitas para superar los desafíos de tu sector.

Mujer con auriculares