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Why You Should Put Complaints at the Heart of Your Business

Why You Should Put Complaints at the Heart of Your Business


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Why You Should Put Complaints at the Heart of Your Business

21 Juil 2023

Martin Canwell
Workers using headsets

Who cares most about complaints – finance or marketing? This was the theme of one of the recent Complaints Coffee Club sessions, supported by Aptean in conjunction with The Collaboration Network. What followed was a thought-provoking discussion all about how complaints are regarded and utilized by the wider organization. Ultimately, this raised the question of how to demonstrate the value of complaints to the rest of your business, making the most of the information and insight available to show just what an invaluable piece of the business puzzle the complaints function represents.

So often regarded as a cost center, as opposed to a revenue generator, and historically the victim of cost cutting programs, the complaints function is prime for a rebrand. More businesses are doing just this, highlighting how complaints can be a crucial tool for nurturing customer trust and loyalty as well as being a key profitability driver. But how can your business achieve this? How can you turn complaints into opportunities, demonstrating the true value of complaints to the rest of your organization?

Using Complaint Data as a Marketing Tool

Done well, complaints have the potential to be a core component of your marketing toolbox. Complaints can put you directly in touch with your customers for valuable one-on-one time that, had it not been for the complaint, would never have occurred. However, it’s what you do with this complaint and the resulting information that makes all the difference. A good and fair outcome, for both the customer and your business, can increase customer loyalty and secure repeat business, with research showing that 83% of customers remain with their provider if a complaint journey is easy, and create reliable advocates for your business.

However, a customer’s complaint journey doesn’t end with a complaint being resolved and it’s only by collating in-depth information and insight into the customer’s complaint and complaint experience that you can hope to turn complaints to your advantage. So, this could be done using customer feedback surveys at any stage in the complaint journey, or by carrying our in-depth root cause analysis (RCA), which can serve to highlight sometimes systemic issues with products, services and processes. The ability to gather actionable, insightful feedback is a must, with more organizations turning to comprehensive complaint management solutions to help with the entire complaint process, from initial complaint logging through to RCA and beyond.

Putting a Price on Complaints

But, as the original question asked, what about the finance team? We all know that in business, money talks, so how can we relate complaints directly to finance?

While it’s difficult to put a definitive financial figure on the emotional impact of a well-handled complaint and good customer service, the figures really do speak for themselves. Research shows that poor customer service costs UK businesses £11.4 billion a month in lost productivity and that businesses with higher-than-average customer service ratings earn 114% more revenue per employee. Add to this the cost of getting it wrong, in terms of potential financial penalties and reputational damage, and it’s not that hard to see why, as a core component of customer service, good complaint management is extremely valuable to your business. But, how can complaints teams demonstrate the vital role that complaints can play in the wider organization?


Research shows that poor customer service costs UK businesses £11.4 billion a month in lost productivity

Drive Business Improvements with Complaint Insight

As a general rule, in the past, many departments didn’t want to know about complaints until they impacted them, perhaps if the finance team had to pay out some compensation for an error, or if the product development team had to make changes to a product because of a run of similar complaints. Where we’re beginning to see a real step-change is where businesses are using complaint insight to stop complaints happening in the first place. This could be introducing complaints insight at the early stages of product or service development, highlighting the potentially preventative power of complaints insight.

Whereas in the past a great deal of focus about complaints may have lay with "how much financial compensation has the complaints function agreed to", now this is the smallest part of the equation. Savvy businesses are recognizing it’s more about the whys and whats, understanding the issues that lie at the heart of many complaints and using this understanding and insight to mitigate against these issues.

To help this to happen, you need to feedback these complaint learnings and insight right to the heart of your business, assigning specific actions so the relevant teams and departments can address these learnings. With this comes the need for accountability too, not only in terms of making sure that remedial action is taken, but to ensure the results of these actions are noted too, closing the complaint loop to show what has changed as a result. What started out as a complaint can become a key driver of tangible business improvements.

Complaints at the Heart of Your Business

Before this can happen, your business needs to ensure it’s not only capturing all relevant complaint information, but that it has the ability to analyze this complaints data too. This is where robust RCA comes into play, facilitated by comprehensive complaint management solutions that, although used primarily by your complaints function, can deliver the insight needed to help the entire business.

Aptean Respond, our own comprehensive complaint management solution, can help you achieve excellence in complaint management, while providing the tools and capabilities to help you to deliver that all-important customer insight to the rest of the business. It helps you to nurture long-term customer relationships, managing complaints and leveraging feedback to drive real business improvements, all while optimizing for world-class customer service and helping you to secure your complaint function’s rightful place at the very heart of your business.

For more information on how Aptean Respond can help you to show the true value of complaints to the rest of your business, contact us today.

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