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Creating a Frictionless Customer Complaint Journey

Creating a Frictionless Customer Complaint Journey


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Creating a Frictionless Customer Complaint Journey

18 Janv 2023

Eric Brown
Man working at desk from home office

According to Huntswood’s Complaints Outlook 2022, when a complaint journey is easy, 83% of customers remain with their provider. This figure plummets to only 26% when a complaint journey is found to be difficult. As we all strive to improve customer experience and boost retention levels, how can we provide a truly frictionless complaint journey, making it easy for our customers to complain, while achieving good outcomes in the process?

Long gone are the days when organizations tried to make it hard for customers to complain, hiding away email addresses and phone numbers that could only be found after navigating through multiple web pages. Thankfully, today, it’s totally different and most organizations work hard to ensure customers can make a complaint.

Provide a Choice of Complaint Channels

As with all aspects of customer service, when it comes to complaints, channel choice is key. It’s very much not a case of one-size-fits-all for complaint journeys—particularly with regards to how to make the initial complaint in the first place.

Email is rapidly becoming the complaint tool of choice with customers able to complain in their own timescales while then taking their time to get their points across in an ordered, logical fashion. For businesses, however, a telephone call can be a much better and quicker way of getting to the crux of a complaint. In fact, some organizations respond to every email with a phone call. But, what about those customers who have chosen to complain via email perhaps for whom the telephone is not their preferred communications channel? Do you run the risk of annoying an already disgruntled customer by giving them a call?

In a similar vein, online forms are another popular complaint channel. But, if the customer’s complaint is about something that happened online, they most probably won’t want to use an online channel to complain. Again, do you risk aggravating an angry customer and then potentially falling at the first hurdle in your efforts to build a frictionless complaint journey?

The key element here is to provide a variety of channels via which your customers can complain without forcing them to use a medium that they’re not comfortable nor happy to use. This enables a frictionless start to the complaint journey, making it easy for customers to complain exactly how they want to.

Frontline Training is Key

What about the next steps? Once the customer has been able to complain, what can you do then to facilitate a smooth complaint journey?

Regardless of how complaints come into the business, it’s vital that frontline teams know what they can and can’t handle. It’s this ability to recognize when an escalation is necessary that’s crucial, enabling first-point-of-contact resolutions where possible and preventing any delays in escalating those more complex complaints. This requires well-trained frontline staff; staff trained not only how to deal with complaints but also able to readily identify when a complaint requires escalation. As well, they need to be able to support customers in making a complaint—clearly explaining what’s going to happen next and why in turn managing expectations from the outset.


of customers remain with their provider when a complaint journey is easy

Gather and Record Comprehensive Complaint Information

Of equal importance is the gathering and recording of complaint information. Where possible, as much information needs to be recorded in that first interaction making it more likely to achieve those all-important first-point-of-contact resolutions. When first-point-of-contact resolutions aren’t possible, perhaps if further investigation or escalations are required, recording information in a complaint management system means the customer then won’t have to re-tell their complaint story time and time again during any further interactions with your organization. The entire team can have access to that customer’s complaint history, including their communication preferences, helping to reduce the effort the customer needs to make to resolve their complaint.

Timely, Proactive Complaint Updates

It’s the same for complaint updates. You need to ensure the customer doesn’t have to chase you for updates. So, perhaps automated alerts via your complaint management system to provide personalized updates to the customer, via their communications channel of choice of course? As per the findings of Huntwood’s Complaints Outlook 2022, levels of retention are markedly lower when customers have to chase for updates. Providing regular, proactive updates keeps customers happier, making the complaint journey smoother and boosting customer loyalty in the process.

Ultimately, a choice of complaint channels is key, with no barriers in place for your customers to be able to complain when they want to and how they want to. As well, the Financial Conduct Authority’s New Consumer Duty means more pressure to make sure customers are dealt with by the right people in the right way, which should be the overarching ethos for your complaint function already. It’s vital that you’re correctly recording and managing every complaint, in-line with not only organizational processes and regulatory requirements, but according to the specific needs of the customer regardless of how the complaint comes into the business. This approach facilitates a frictionless complaint journey for your customers, boosting customer satisfaction, improving outcomes and shoring-up customer retention.

For more information on how Aptean Respond can help you achieve a frictionless complaint journey for your customers, contact us today.

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