Sandra RadlovackiSandra RadlovackiAugust 6, 2020
F38A1456-1280x853.jpg

3min918

Entries are now open for the 2021 UK Complaint Handling Awards, Britain’s biggest celebration of CX-inspired initiatives to resolve consumer problems.

2021 will be the fifth year of the UK Complaint Handling Awards, this time held fully online, from start to finish, using the latest videoconferencing software.

On March 4, 2021, the finalists will present online before an expert panel of judges from across various sectors.

Some of the most recognisable brands in utilities, finance, and more were represented at the 2020 finals earlier this year, and now organisations have the chance to join the winners in the Hall of Fame by entering before the deadline of December 10.

Those who enter before October 22 can take advantage of a special Early Bird discount, that can save up to £100 off the standard entry price.

There are 13 categories to choose from for 2021, encompassing both industry and discipline-specific areas. They incorporate both B2B and B2C initiatives, and include categories for organisations of all sizes so that everyone has the chance to earn recognition.

New categories include Zero 2 Hero – Transforming Customer Relations, and Vulnerable Situations while as always, the day will see one Overall Winner crowned from the category champions.

Running in parallel with the Awards Finals, a series of talks called #ComplainNow will gather specialists in complain handling who will be presenting the latest research and sharing opinions on what is happening in the industry.

Event host Awards International has been accredited with the Gold Standard in the Awards Trust Mark Scheme from the Independent Awards Standards Council, meeting all 18 criteria to qualify for the highest trust mark possible.

Following the success of 3 Awards events held LIVE online and to comply with health and safety regulations, the 2021 UK Complaint Handling Awards will be held in a new format, allowing participants to enjoy the Awards experience without the need to leave their office or home.

Click here to enter now.

Click here for further details on the LIVE online Awards Experience.


Antony JaggerAntony JaggerJune 26, 2020
thumbs-down-3685429_1920-1280x851.jpg

5min1364

As businesses of all shapes, sizes and scopes find themselves trying to mitigate increasingly transient customer demographics, we’re all having to work harder on our customer retention strategies. More than ever, the emphasis for most businesses has shifted to building and nurturing sustainable, long-term customer relationships, using the available tools and information to revolutionise the Customer Experience (CX), and encourage new depths of customer loyalty.

But, in a digital world where actual physical interactions are becoming increasingly rare, it’s proving more difficult for businesses to build these vital relationships.

One of the few areas where 1-2-1 interactions do occur is in complaints management, with the entire process generating valuable, timely and comprehensive customer information and feedback, all of which have the potential to inform wider business strategy. As such, it’s crucial that executives recognise the value of complaints as a strategic business tool.

Valuable complaints

Where once ‘resolve and close’ was the overarching goal when it came to complaints, this is no longer the case. Businesses now recognise the long-term, far-reaching value that can be derived from the entire complaints function, not only in terms of resolving complaints quickly and effectively to enhance customer experience, but with regards to improving CX strategy across the organisation.

The journey no longer ends with complaint resolution, but with gathering the insight and learnings to inform future approaches and even product development.  However, the extent to which complaints can inform strategy is totally dependent on decision-makers having in-depth access to and visibility of the end-to-end complaints management process.

Thankfully, we’re all operating in a digital world, where tools are available to track and qualify all customer interactions and behaviours. This information can then be fed back into the business to drive improvements across the entire organisation. But making sure the right information gets to the right people at the right time is still a challenge, with businesses needing to create robust feedback loops if key decision-makers are to use business data to identify trends, address problems and drive organisational learning.

In this respect, contextualised and personalised follow-up customer surveys are a vital source of information, with tools such as complaint management systems enabling the resulting feedback to be analysed alongside the rest of the customer’s information, adding a new depth of actionable insight into a customer’s journey.

Data is key

The data to be gleaned from complaints can be used to realise cost and efficiency savings across the organisation, as well as helping to optimise CX. What’s needed are the right systems in place to collate this information, reporting it back to the wider business in an accessible, easy-to-understand format. Case handlers, for example, can use the information to help prioritise follow-up actions, taking on board constructive criticism or praise to inform future best practice, all of which contribute to tangible improvements in CX.

For more senior members of the business, the resulting information makes it possible to address any training issues, identifying any problems to be tackled or gaps in knowledge. Additionally, the ability to analyse and examine not only customer feedback but the hard facts surrounding customer complaints, furnishes the business as a whole with a more in-depth understanding of the root causes of complaints, be that product or service-related.

What this provides is a valuable source of information to underpin far-reaching business developments, all of which contribute to those all-important CX improvements.

With the right systems in place, businesses can turn complaints to their advantage. Making full use of the resulting information and data can drive real improvements across the business not just in terms of swift and effective complaint resolutions, but helping to improve products, services and processes, ensuring they’re tailored to meet ever-changing customer expectations.

By owning the entire end-to-end complaints process, leaving behind the ‘resolve and close’ mentality and extending its reach as a key business function, decision-makers can use it as an opportunity to take their customer experience to the next level, with complaint management becoming a crucial business differentiator in an increasingly competitive marketplace.


Rebecca BrownRebecca BrownMarch 5, 2020
man-1082887_1280-1280x885.jpg

23min1800

Anyone who has worked in the complaint handling industry will tell you that like any job, there are good and bad days.

What isn’t like most other jobs is the emotional weight placed on a complaint handler when they have a 40-minute call with someone who alternates between swearing and shouting, and apologising and crying because they feel bad for shouting, and then back to shouting because they feel embarrassed they cried…

Have you ever thought about how you would describe what you do, to someone who had no idea what a complaint handler was or had never even heard of it as a concept?
Picture this: You meet an alien, they have just arrived on earth but speak perfect English. In their world they don’t have business, or transactions – they simply have all they need already. They ask you what you do. On a very basic level, you might say something like “I speak to unhappy people all day, and try to make them happy again.”
They’d very likely think you were some kind of superhero, right?

If we look at the other industries that this description could also be applied to, I think we notice something quite interesting. In industries where there are a lot of intense emotional interactions, and where the relationship could be described as helper/recipient, we already know that there is a high risk of burnout.

Burnout: a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.

This is an area that has been explored extensively in relation to talking therapies, nursing and teaching – but not for complaint resolution.

I remember my very first role in complaint handling. I fell into it by accident, and tried to quit after two months – determined I’d never listen to an irate customer again.

Luckily for me, my boss at the time talked me round, listened to my concerns, and got me the support that I needed to be able to run an effective complaint handling department without becoming overwhelmed again. I owe him a huge amount, as choosing not to walk away from complaint handling led me to learn to love helping customers and the passion I feel for excellent Customer Experience today.

I once asked someone in an interview for a complaint handling role how she let off steam after a particularly complex complaint handling day with her previous team. She smiled and said “we had a box room, we just used to go and kick boxes”.

We all laughed, but she wasn’t actually joking. Stress is no joke.

Nearly half a million people in the UK have work-related stress at a level that makes them feel ill. – Bupa

Let’s examine the facts.

1. We are increasingly urged to empathise, to look at the human aspect of a complaint

Having been at the receiving end of many escalated complaints, I can confirm that it’s not uncommon for customers to bring unrelated emotional issues to the table.

Often the complaint is the straw that broke the camel’s back, and they are quite relieved to be able to get everything out to a complete stranger over the phone. A customer opening up about their particularly tough week, or their partner having recently been made redundant is often a sign we have done our jobs properly, shown empathy, and broken down the defensive barriers to enable us to get to the heart of what the complaint is really about.

At the time this helps lend context to a complaint, I can’t help wondering if we are paying the toll to help our customers deal with their own emotions?

2. The average complaint handler will be expected to speak to anywhere between 15 and 50 customers a week.

That means that even at the lower end of this scale, they will have spoken to almost a thousand individuals a year.

Most counsellors restrict the number of clients they see at any one time, and how many sessions they have in a week. Whilst it is certainly the case that complex emotions often bubble over into anger, most professional counsellors don’t have to deal with verbal abuse on a weekly basis as is often the case for a complaint handler. Yet they still have practices in place to ensure that any vicarious trauma they experience is resolved in a healthy way.

3. We are encouraged to speak professionally about customers at all times

If we are to ensure that customers get our respect, and that we continue to empathise, then we need to stop referring to them in any way that allows us to subconsciously see them as not deserving of an impartial complaint investigation and help to resolve their issue, (my recent article on learning to love complaints deals with this area in more detail) but that leave us with a new problem, which is – who do complaint handlers complain to?

We don’t want to go home and vent our frustrations at our spouses or children (something I can admit to on more than one occasion). We don’t take our frustrations out on our customers – obviously that would be highly inappropriate and negate the whole point of the customer service industry.

We don’t take our frustrations out on our colleagues, they have a tough time too and we are in the trenches together – the camaraderie won’t allow anything to bubble over, or in theory that’s the culture we encourage.

So is it time to look at how we cleanse the potentially toxic resentments inherent to complaint handling, as opposed to letting them out in an explosive, unpredictable way and potentially damaging those we care about?

So what can we do? And most importantly, what should all good employers do?

We can start by acknowledging that burnout is a real thing, and that anyone who understands complaint handling can see that if it applies to counselling, psychotherapy, and teaching, it definitely applies to complaint handling.

We have a duty to safeguard our employees, that is not debatable.

One potential approach is what we refer to at Think Wow as ‘The Tripod’.

A tripod is the ultimate stable structure. It can never wobble, even when on an uneven surface. We think it’s the perfect random item to influence a support culture.

We like to think that if we start to address the emotional needs of our staff, with a three legged approach, your team will reach a similar level of stability.

Immediate needs

Nothing feels worse than reaching out to genuinely try to help someone only to have them become aggressive, confrontational, or verbally abusive.

No matter how much we may try to increase our resilience against such attacks, our natural instinct towards fight or flight takes over. When we feel attacked, we feel unsafe. This triggers a neurological response that actually makes it harder for us to think, and even to see.

We are no longer in a good place to try and structure sentences, which can make us trip over our words and make an already stressful situation far worse. The result is that we put the phone down and feel emotional, shaken – even scared. If we are unlucky and we work in a particularly busy environment we may even have to get straight back on the phone.

Implement the ‘cup of tea rule’

The ‘cup of tea rule’ encourages two things.

Firstly, it encourages team members to take note when a colleague is clearly on one of those calls. Once they have spotted a colleague is struggling, they should go and get them a hot drink of their choice as a show of solidarity, a kind gesture and to help with the inevitable dry mouth that comes from high stress situations.

Then make it mandatory for that call handler to take at least a ten-minute tea break to calm their nerves and get back on an even keel before picking the phone up again. By making it mandatory you reduce the risk that people will consider taking a break to recover their emotional wellbeing as something that is not an accepted part of the culture.

Short-term needs

If we recognise that dealing with complaints on a daily basis may well have a cumulative effect – and result in stressors that increase rather than ebb and flow in direct correlation to work load – it becomes apparent that we need to offer our teams a way to vent.

Implement a buddy system akin to counsellor supervision sessions, but with the sole purpose to let a staff member discuss any particularly challenging customers, and speak their mind about how they felt at the time.

There are some guidelines for how these should work.

1. The buddy must never be a line manager or supervisor, but a peer who understands the challenges the staff member faces

2. Any discussion about a particular customer should be anonymised – refer to the customer as ‘the customer’ only.

3. This should be a weekly occurrence behind closed doors – it must be confidential in nature so the staff member can feel free to get anything troubling them off their chest.

Long-term needs

If your company is large enough and has the budget, consider investing in talking therapies for complaint handlers on a semi-regular basis.

Proactive management of emotions can prevent damage to mental health, and can often benefit the business in a reduction of sick days, better performance, and lower staff turnover. Ultimately, it shows you care.

Invest in hiring enough people to comfortably handle complaints. If we can stop seeing complaints as a negative, and instead look at the massive opportunity they represent for our long-term CX strategy, then it’s just common sense to ensure this part of our businesses is adequately resourced.

Taking the time pressures out of the equation for our team reduces stress and ensures a higher quality experience for any customer who has already been feeling let down (certain organisations now implement a minimum call time target as opposed to a maximum, to encourage call handlers to get to the heart of the issue and give the customer a high-quality service).

Regardless of whether you have a large budget or not, you should make it a top priority to increase learning that can help protect your team.

Have a manager look at every single call where a customer became aggressive or abusive. Were there any training tools that the call handler could have benefitted from that would have enabled a calmer discussion?

Could manager intervention sooner have turned things down a notch?

If there is anything that can be done in the wider organisation to ensure customers don’t feel so let down in the first instance, then this should be shared too and the whole business should make it a priority to protect the complaint handling team.

After all, often it’s the other way around.


Rebecca BrownRebecca BrownFebruary 4, 2020
heart-1077724_1920-1280x919.jpg

11min3170

‘Complaint’ has traditionally been seen as a dirty word; whispered within organisations and one that most senior staff would have done anything to avoid admitting applied to them.

The negative connotations that came with complaints meant that for years, anyone wishing to create or grow a complaint handling team was likely to come up against misconceptions such as:

“If we need more staff to handle complaints then we clearly have big issues!”

or

“We can’t call the customer support team complaint handlers – it makes it look like we have unhappy customers!”

I can almost feel the collective eye roll of hundreds of Customer Experience and customer service professionals who have had to battle against just that type of mindset.

The great news is that the business world is steadily waking up to the power of harnessing complaints to drive continuous improvement. No longer is it frowned upon to admit you get complaints, or that you require a dedicated team to deal with them.

In fact, companies such as Octopus Energy are leading the way by being totally transparent about their complaint statistics. They have nothing to hide, and they want to let their customer base know just how important improving the customer experience is to their whole team.

Interestingly, Octopus Energy have also reported a huge surge in their customer base – in just nine months they managed to go from 600,000 customers to 1.35 million. During this period of intense growth, their complaint statistics remained steady with only a minor increase in issues reported per 100,000 customers.

Despite the increase in forward-thinking companies like Octopus rising to the top, Salesforce recently reported that 91 percent of customers who are unhappy with a brand will simply leave without complaining. They also listed that only one in 26 unhappy customers are likely to raise a complaint.

At the same time, the UK Customer Satisfaction Index dropped for the fourth consecutive year. What this amounts to is that often the first you learn of a customer being unhappy is when they switch to the competition – if you even notice at all!

No alt text provided for this image

So, accepting that complaints are a necessary evil is not enough. We need to take it one step further. The businesses who consistently wow their customers understand that complaints are fantastic, and if we can learn to fall in love with them too, we as a nationwide Customer Experience industry can reverse this trend.

There are several steps you can take today to help your team love complaints:

1. Discourage your team referring to a customer as ‘complaining’

If you search the term ‘complaining meaning’ in a popular search engine, you get the following result:

noun

the expression of dissatisfaction or annoyance about something.

“his complaining has been a little bit annoying”

Meanwhile, a quick look at an online thesaurus returns grumbling, bellyaching, moaning, and whining as synonyms of the word complaining.

This perfectly sums up why the use of ‘complaining’ within a complaint handling team is so corrosive. As a word, it has negative connotations and anyone using it to describe a customer is subliminally giving themselves permission to see that customer as a nuisance.

Instead, let’s just refer to them as what they are – an unhappy customer.

They may have raised a complaint – a factual statement – but when you stop referring to them as complaining you have taken the first step towards respecting your customer and their right to raise a genuine grievance. This simple change in approach eventually helps a team to feel more empathy towards unhappy customers, and this leads to greater satisfaction during – and after – the complaint handling process for both customer and employee.

2. Ditch the idea that there is such a thing as an ‘unfounded complaint’

How many times have you heard a complaint handler or a colleague express their frustration over an unjustified or unfounded complaint?

It doesn’t seem fair does it? You have to spend your time investigating that complaint, even when you know the customer has just misunderstood the proposition, or had too high an expectation of what would happen, right?

Wrong.

In order to truly embrace complaints as a driver for change, we need to accept that we have full accountability for our Customer Experience. We are in a position where we understand our business model explicitly.

We know what our purchasing process is, what can cause delays, and what the product offering is. Most customers will never spend as much time on our websites as we do. We are the experts and it is our obligation to ensure we arm our customers with enough easily digestible, intuitive information that they never have the opportunity to misunderstand, or expect anything other than what we will deliver.

If we set out to explain ourselves clearly and we understand that our customer is not the expert in our business, then we can ensure that any negative review or expression of dissatisfaction is looked at with absolute objectivity. How can we ensure that the customer understands something better in the future, or what can we change in our process to make sure there is no room for concern or uncertainty for our customers?

3. Set yourself the highest standards

When you count your complaints, don’t be tempted to lie to yourself. Just because it didn’t contain the word complaint, or because it didn’t come through an officially recognised complaint channel, does not mean it is not a complaint.

If a customer has expressed dissatisfaction in any way then they should be counted, contacted, and learned from. Take it one step further – if your business model aims to delight customers, then consider anything less than a full five-star review an expression of dissatisfaction.

Sure, you might speak to the odd customer who confirms they actually did love their experience, they just hate to give out top marks for anything. You also might just learn the secret ingredient you have been missing all along.

4. Learn from every single complaint that comes your way

Don’t just collect stats.

So many companies are data-rich, information-poor. There are tools out there that provide the exact analytics you need to spot complaint trends, and enable proactive interactions that can inform your business and ensure that the volume of complaints you receive genuinely gets smaller over time – while your loyal customer base (and revenue) grows.

Make it policy that each person responding to a complaint should suggest two things that could have prevented the complaint arising in the first place. Some of your best insight comes from the experts in your team and you know that they will feel more empowered and engaged if they have been involved in the change process.

So, stop seeing complaints as the enemy and give this approach a try. Embrace the subtle changes with enthusiasm and see how you feel about complaints in a few months’ time.

Who knows, this could be the start of a beautiful relationship!


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 2, 2020
account-1778_1280-1280x853.jpg

2min2277

Banks and credit card companies in the UK faced over a million complaints in the first half of 2019, new data has revealed.

The research conducted by Learnbonds.com found that of this total, current account holders registered the highest number of complaints.

The complaints lodged with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) indicate that the number of complaints against current accounts was 590,663, while credit cards and repackaged accounts registered 354,806 and 99,600 complaints respectively. Complaints regarding arrears stood at 39,542.

Most of the complaints originated from administration and customer care services with a record 744,863 complaints, while clients who were unhappy with charges and product performance stood at 243,426. Elsewhere, some 129,838 customers had issues with advising, selling and arranging of banking and credit card products.

As per the report, UK firms must report complaints from eligible complainants in regards to activities conducted from the firm’s establishment.

The data was compiled after reviewing the total number of opened, closed and upheld complaints, the amount of redress paid, the type of firm the complaint was about, the type of product the complaint was about, and the reason why the complaint was raised.

The report states: “The complaints data is used to assess how financial institutions within the UK are relating to their customers while focusing on how their performance changes over time.”

Click here to access the data.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthAugust 1, 2019
ombudsman-share-image.png

2min3538

The UK’s largest independent multi-sector ombudsman, Ombudsman Services, has created a new partner platform to facilitate its communications with businesses operating in its four key sectors of energy, communications, heat, and private parking.

Designed and built by digital agency Code Computerlove, the creative for the new site reflects Ombudsman Services’ refreshed brand identity that was launched on its new consumer platform last year.

Ombudsman Services’ partner site – partners.ombudsman-services.org – features clear and concise information, cleverly presented with the use of bespoke-designed icons and use of video.

It emphasises how Ombudsman Services can help to resolve disputes in an efficient and ethical way, reduce service failure cost, and drive improvements in customer service.

Jodi Hamilton, director of relationships at Ombudsman Services, said: “Improving our digital capabilities lies at the heart of our organisational strategy and the launch of our new business-to-business partner platform forms part of our ongoing programme of digital transformation.

“Further features will be added to the partner site as we base our iterations on data-driven insight and our business customers’ requirements. There is increased competition in our sector, so getting ahead and staying there with regards to our digital presence is a vital element of our growth.

“The aim is to create increased visibility of our services. By giving our business partners a dedicated place to come for useful information, resources and content, we aim to increase B2B engagement across our key sectors. We have worked hard to define both our consumer and business-to-business proposition and our new site is an excellent reflection of our strong brand identity and brand difference.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 15, 2019
pexels-photo-590022-1280x848.jpg

4min2628

UK financial services and utilities businesses are underperforming when it comes to complaint handling, despite their growing belief that customers are satisfied with their performance.

That is according to Huntswood’s Complaints Outlook 2019 report, which combines research from financial services and utilities firms with survey responses from over 5,500 consumers. The nationally representative survey was carried out by Huntswood’s research partners, YouGov, and has revealed a perception gap between businesses and customers – 69 percent of firms believe that their customers are satisfied with their complaints are handled, while the reality is that only 26 percent of customers actually report being satisfied.

When asked, 87 percent of firms interviewed also said that their complaint handling staff are well equipped to do the job, however 61 percent of customers are currently dissatisfied with the empathy of the staff member they interacted with and 59 percent are dissatisfied with the knowledge of the staff member they interacted with.

Resolution times also remain an issue – 49 percent of firms believe they are resolving complaints at the first point of contact, yet only 18 percent of customers claim that their complaint was resolved immediately.

Complaints Outlook 2019 also reveals a disconnect between the perceived importance of complaints handling by businesses and a lack of focus on building required professional skills. This is evident in the fact that, despite 96 percent of businesses agreeing that the impact of the complaint handler on customer satisfaction is high or extremely high, 52 percent admitted that their employees do not complete professional complaint handling training programmes or qualifications.

With increased regulatory scrutiny around the treatment of vulnerable customers, 75 percent of the firms interviewed believe that their staff are equipped and empowered to deal with customers in vulnerable circumstances, with the remaining quarter feeling they are only part of the way to achieving this.

Furthermore, 57 percent of firms believe they are creating advocates in at least half of all cases, however only eight percent of customers surveyed had a positive complaints experience and shared it with friends and family.

This perception gap should be treated as a warning to firms, with 60 percent of customers adding that they would change provider as a result of a poor complaints experience.

Paul Scott, Chief Commercial Officer at Huntswood, said: “Firms are increasingly recognising the value that can be derived from the complaints journey.  However, despite this, our research shows that there are discrepancies between how financial services companies believe they are dealing with complaints and the reality for customers. Complaints are an unavoidable part of business, so it’s critical that they are handled well and that customers feel valued throughout.

“Firms should therefore be looking to create an effective complaints handling operation, underpinned by a robust strategy which focuses on providing the best possible outcomes for customers. Doing so can deliver enormous benefits, such as deeper relationships with existing customers and an increase in new relationships from customer advocacy.”


Nan RussellNan RussellJuly 12, 2019
airport-2373727_1280-1280x853.jpg

9min2733

As CX professionals, it’s our job to understand and predict the needs of customers and to present experiences that fulfil those needs.

Unfortunately, the reality of our role is rarely so simple.

According to a study from Bain & Company, 80 percent of businesses believe they are delivering a “superior” Customer Experience, and yet, only eight percent of customers feel they’re receiving such an experience. Clearly the realities of CX don’t match the stories that we as CX professionals tell ourselves.

Given this disconnect, it’s hard not to wonder what other common misconceptions we as CX professionals hold. Even more importantly, what are the steps that we can take to overcome these myths in future?

With that in mind, here are four common myths to rethink in your own CX approach.

Myth 1: Loyalty is the number one priority for CX

CX professionals often emphasise the importance of customer loyalty and the role that a positive CX can play in encouraging such loyalty to the brand. These are great concepts – and when loyalty is earned it is of huge value to a business. But what do we really mean when we talk about loyalty?

Loyal and true?: Misconceptions surround attitudes to customer ‘loyalty’

Research by Forrester shows that most consumers “perceive loyalty programs as an opportunity to save money”. But ‘saving money’ isn’t loyalty. Discounting programmes aren’t loyalty programmes. In reality loyalty could refer to repeat purchase behaviours, or it could refer to intent to recommend. It all comes down to the goals of your business and what you choose to measure.

These are the types of considerations we need to account for before prioritising customer loyalty as the central goal of our CX approach. Concepts such as loyalty are only valuable if brands take the time to define these terms, hone their approach, and focus on the areas that are most important to their overarching business goals.

Myth 2: Customers need to be delighted at every interaction

‘Delighting’ customers is a notion that gets thrown around a lot in the CX world. While we obviously all want to provide our customers with positive, memorable experiences, it’s important not to get too caught up in short-term wins, rather than focusing on long-term success

Delighting dos and don’ts: Customers prefer consistency over one-off promotions

Pleasing one off experiences are beneficial, but they shouldn’t take priority over consistent positive interactions with a brand. Creating this consistency and ensuring that each of your brand touchpoints is optimised will lead to far greater long-term value and customer loyalty than a one-off promotion or event.

Myth 3: CX is all about minimising customer complaints

Complaints are painful, but minimising customer complaints should not be the core focus of a brand’s Customer Experience approach. For each complaint, there is an opportunity to demonstrate that the individual is valued by the brand. Which is why service recovery can have such a powerful, positive impact on your Customer Experience.

Comprehending complaining: A customer complaint is an opportunity to build on their engagement

As long as a customer is engaged enough to complain, there is hope. It’s the customers who quietly disappear, unhappy, unengaged and unsatisfied that should terrify us.  Do we want to minimise the causes of complaints? Absolutely.  But the complaint itself is not the problem. As hard as it is to remember: feedback is a gift, even when it’s painful. Feedback represents hope and provides brand with the opportunity to make things right for the individual and, ultimately, right for the business in future.

Myth 4: Customers want full personalisation

While many CX practitioners see full personalisation as the Holy Grail of experience, it’s important that brands don’t burden their customers with unnecessary data collection as they strive for the perfect personalised experience.

As just one example, airline brands know a tremendous amount about each passenger. If that knowledge is spread across multiple internal systems, however, then the availability of data can make the Customer Experience worse not better.

Personalisation perils: Unnecessary data collection can cause complications for customers

If an airline already knows what flight a customer is taking and whether they have checked in a bag, then there is no reason to ask customers those questions again at the airport. It’s crucial to solve such integration gaps before making the passenger do the heavily lifting. Save the customer’s valuable feedback time to focus on the unknown: what the experience was and how to improve it.

Much of what we talk about in Customer Experience is based on inaccurate, but shared, misconceptions. Thankfully, CX is not static – and we can always improve how we deliver it and how we talk about it. By understanding the nuance of some of our core CX language, we can challenge basic assumptions in ways that free us up to maximise our full potential and deliver memorable experiences that benefit both the brand and the customer in equal measure.


Martin EllinghamMartin EllinghamJune 28, 2019
Kintsugi1.jpg

10min3478

金継ぎ

This might sound like a strange question in the context of financial services, but have you ever heard of Kintsugi?

No matter if not because I’m about to explain exactly what it is – and why it matters to your complaints handling team. For those who haven’t come across it before, Kintsugi is the art of repairing broken pottery. Fixing broken pots and dishes might not sound that impressive (or seem to have much bearing on complaints and Customer Experience) but the philosophy behind it is both fascinating and highly useful.

In Kintsugi (which translates as ‘golden joinery’), the broken pottery is repaired in a specific way. The pieces are held together with a special mix of lacquer and gold powder – creating a golden seam that serves not to hide the break but highlight it. The piece of pottery is not as good as new; it wears its golden scars with pride.

New beauty: The art of Japanese Kintsugi can be applied to complaint handling

They are now part of its history and something to be cherished. Whatever caused the item to break has, instead of rendering it useless, helped it become more beautiful. For people used to seeing broken things as being at the end of their journey, it’s an interesting concept to get used to.

However, it’s a philosophy that I think can have a profound effect on how you approach complaint handling – and the entire Customer Experience.

The problem with product-driven CX

Delivering great CX is a challenging task for any company – especially in the complex world of financial services. There are so many different elements that need to come together to keep each customer happy. Some of them you won’t even have control over. After all, how can you account for the things going on in a person’s day that will influence how they interact with you?

Thankfully, overall, customers are incredibly happy with the products and services they receive from companies. The UK banking sector is above the all-sector average for customer satisfaction, so it must be getting something right.

The problem arrives when customers aren’t happy with the products and services they receive. Too many businesses build their CX around the core product. So, when this doesn’t suit the customer’s needs or doesn’t work out as planned, the company isn’t sure how to handle the situation. Sure, it has a complaints handling team, but when the sole focus of CX is on delivering a great product, there’s little any agent can do to add value or retain the customer.

The importance of repairing relationships and building customer trust

When businesses lose a customer, there’s a tendency to label each case as a ‘lost cause’. This is especially the case when a product or service hasn’t lived up to expectations because companies don’t want to be faced with their failures. I don’t mean this as a harsh criticism; it makes sense when an organisation’s outward-facing reputation is built on the success of its offering.

Customers want to purchase from a company they can trust to deliver the goods. However, businesses have less and less control over how their brand is perceived. When a customer has a poor experience, they’re easily able to post reviews online detailing exactly went wrong. There’s no way for companies to prevent this – other than to deliver the best possible CX.

Review regret: Only the best possible CX will prevent online reviews from negatively impacting your brand

In situations where customers are already unhappy, aftercare and complaint handling become vital. Too many customer relationships break down because there’s no effective way to resolve issues and mend the trust between consumer and company. This is where the following philosophy of Kintsugi could make all the difference – both to the retention and acquisition of your customers.

How to apply Kintsugi to complaints handling

As I’ve mentioned already, there are so many elements that go into creating great CX. You can’t deliver the perfect experience 100 percent of the time – it’s simply impossible. However, when things don’t go completely according to plan, you can pick up the pieces and mould them into something new; something stronger.

If you apply the idea of Kintsugi to your CX, you can change the way you look at the customer journey. Instead of hiding the issues customers have had with your products and services (again, you can’t), focus on mending these relationships through complaint resolution to make sure people come away with a positive experience of your overall business.

Resolve to evolve: Mending customer relationships is essential to positive experiences 

By accepting that the customer journey doesn’t always go smoothly, you can transform the perception of your CX and your brand. When people look at a Kintsugi bowl, they don’t focus on how it broke – they see a new, more beautiful object that has taken the place of the original. The same will be true of your CX if you have an effective complaints-handling operation in place to rebuild trust with customers who have had a less than positive experience up until the point they complain.

Creating an opportunity with complaints

If you can make golden repairs on your customer relationships, you can turn negative experiences into positive ones. As well as making those consumers more loyal to you, the approach means people are far more likely to become brand ambassadors – helping you attract new business. This is why complaints are an opportunity for financial services companies, rather than a source of shame.

To make the most of this opportunity, however, companies need to know that their complaints handling teams are operating as effectively and efficiently as possible. For an unhappy customer trying to resolve a complaint, the frustration of having to do something as simple as repeating their details and queries to several different agents is magnified hugely. It’s just one example of how poor complaints handling can exacerbate a negative CX and highlights the need for companies to get the basics right.

When a customer gets in touch to talk about their complaint (whether over the phone or online), they have to be given the confidence that their issue will be resolved as best as possible – regardless of who they talk to. This means making sure that every agent has access to up-to-date information on each case, allowing them to make progress, support the customer and take important steps towards improving the overall CX received.

The way you approach complaints in your company will make a huge difference to how successful you are. If you apply the ideals of Kintsugi to complaint handling, you’ll shift the whole focus of your CX – and your business will be better for it. However, having the right mindset is just one piece of the puzzle.

金継ぎ

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJune 26, 2019
F38A1456-1280x853.jpg

12min2765

The UK Complaint Handling Awards has established itself as Britain’s premier showcase for customer service talent, and this year saw one of the event’s most sought-after Gold gongs go to one of the world’s most recognisable names in outsourcing and professional services – Capita.

Well-deserved: Becky Horsey accepts Capita’s Gold Complaint Handling Award

With entries now open for the 2020 awards – and an Early Bird Discount available until October 18 – Customer Experience Magazine spoke with Capita’s Business Development Director, Tracey Roberts, and Capita Business Management Director of Operations & Change, Becky Horsey, about their winning initiatives and future awards goals.

Capita was one of the day’s big winners at the UKCHAs 2019. Can you tell us a bit about the initiatives you put forward?

Tracey: This was our first time entering the UKCHAs, and we entered with three separate initiatives in different categories.

The first was entered in the Customer Relations & Remediation category. It detailed our end-to-end approach to remediation, which encompasses the way in which we assess the size of the problem, design the treatment strategy, and build and deliver the solution, which can include tracing, customer communication, investigations, and payments. The reason we chose this initiative was because our approach has generated significant benefits for our clients and, most importantly, their end customers.

Our second initiative was entered in the Innovation in Complaint Management category and it centred around the introduction of groundbreaking technology that had not previously been used for the type of project our client wanted us to engage with. Our innovative solution mitigated the potential for a high-risk manual solution and enabled the client to save over £1m, meet their regulatory commitments, and ensure customers were remediated quickly.

Lastly, our third entry in the Best Complaint Handling Training category focussed on our fit-for-purpose PPI Training Academy, which was set up to respond to the demand for large volumes of resource from one of our key financial services clients. Our Academy is a best-in-class method of training delivery for staff which has now expanded to include the client’s own permanent staff, as well as other supplier resources and it has generated a saving of over £8m for our client.

We were delighted to win an award in all three categories entered – Gold for Customer Relations & Remediation, Silver for Innovation in Complaint Managementand Bronze for Best Complaint Handling Training –   acknowledging Capita’s drive to constantly deliver better outcomes for our clients and their customers through delivery of effective, innovative complaint solutions. We hope to emulate the same success this year with some of the new initiatives that are taking place across our business.

Analytics were a key part of Capita’s initiative. How crucial is such technology in delivering first-class complaint handling and Customer Experience for firms today?

Becky: Technology is fundamental to ensuring we deliver a first class complaint handling service and Customer Experience for our clients’ customers.

To give you just one example, we have used our 20 years’ experience in delivering successful complaint handling projects to tailor one of the UK’s leading case management systems in order to support the end-to-end complaints customer journey and provide a complaint-focused analytics capability to drive continuous improvement.​

The system has integrated CRM, workflow, and task management functionality as well as robust data controls and flexibility which allows us to work with each client to re-configure the system quickly and create a bespoke purpose-built solution to meet their specific needs.​

All customer interactions are stored to provide a holistic view of the customer journey. This provides us with a rich source of data which we can analyse to understand customer behaviours and identify the root cause of complaints to ensure we continually improve our operations, with the ultimate goal of helping our clients to reduce their future complaint levels.

How has the awards success inspired the Capita team?

Becky: Our success was only possible due to the hard work, ingenuity, and dedication of the teams who designed, built, and delivered all three of our initiatives. Not only did these teams inspire our entries and give us initiatives which were worthy of a place at the awards, but they had a direct impact on our success.

Those behind each of the initiatives were directly involved in the production of our award entries to ensure that we included as much detail as possible and were able to tell the story from the perspective of all stakeholders – the client, our operational management team and front-line colleagues, as well as the end customers. It was key members from our delivery teams who presented our initiatives in front of the judging panel during the UKCHA finals.

Not only did this ensure the panel was hearing about the initiative first-hand from those on the front line, but it also allowed our key team members to reap the rewards of their hard work.

Inspired by this success, our teams are already considering what initiatives they want to submit for the 2020 awards!

Would you encourage other companies involved in first-class customer service and complaint handling to enter awards? 

Tracey: Yes we would highly recommend that any company truly invested in delivering first-class customer service and complaint handling should enter these awards. We won’t deny it requires hard work and a lot of extra effort from people who are already focussed on delivering service to our clients, but taking part and being rewarded for our efforts greatly outweighed this.

Not only is it a chance to showcase your company’s successes and gain external recognition, we have also found that it has been a great motivator for our teams, due to the internal recognition they received as a result. From their management teams who felt their work was worthy of entering in the awards, through to the internal communications which have been spread across the wider Capita group, we are seeing more and more of our staff keen to get involved in the awards process. As a result we are hoping to have even more entries to submit in 2020.

Enter now: The 2020 UK Complaint Handling Awards finals will be held on March 5 at London’s Park Plaza Riverbank

Where, in your opinion, does the future of quality complaint handling lie? Is it solely in technology, or is it important to maintain a ‘human’ element throughout?

Becky: As mentioned previously, technology plays a major part in the future of complaint handling. Not only can it help improve the quality of operations to ensure that our clients’ customers are benefiting from fair and consistent outcomes, but recent advancements in technology such as speech analytics are also helping us to support our clients to reduce – and ultimately prevent – their complaints.

That being said, due to the emotive nature of complaints and the importance we place on the effective management of customers with vulnerability – particularly in financial services – we believe it is of the upmost importance to maintain the ‘human’ element within complaint handling operations.

At Capita we pride ourselves on having a team of experienced, skilled, and dedicated colleagues who understand the importance of using technology as an enabler to improve the experience they provide for our customers day-in, day-out.

For the full list of categories to enter in the 2020 UK Complaint Handling Awards, click here.


Claire PampeClaire PampeApril 15, 2019
compass-2779371_1280-1280x853.jpg

6min2039

Nobody wants to receive a complaint about their product or service, but the reality is that we can’t please all of our customers all of the time.  

The time when customer complaints were hidden is now thankfully long gone. Appearing as a judge at the UK Complaint Handling Awards, which celebrates the innovative ways organisations manage complaints, I saw this first-hand.

Receiving complaints, responding to them effectively, and most importantly, learning from them can be challenging.  However, achieving this is critical to the success of any business that is focused on providing the best Customer Experience.

For every customer who complains, there are 26 other unhappy customers who remain silent (source: Lee Resource Inc.). Customers who care enough to tell you about their negative experiences are scarce, but they afford you the opportunity to turn that customer into an advocate and ultimately, retain their business.

Often, complaints are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, but it is critical to take a step back and undertake a root cause analysis, otherwise the opportunity to improve is lost. One of the most effective ways to undertake this process is to plot the journey of the complaint, thereby mapping all the touchpoints, both direct and indirect. 

While a customer journey map (CJM) is a tool often used by marketeers to plot the customer engagement story, from brand awareness through to (hopefully) a long-term relationship, it is also a great resource for complaint management. 

Rather than dealing with the fallout of the complaint on a case-by-case basis, the CJM process enables an organisation to review and map the complaint from beginning to end and identify the root causes. Instead of resolving the complaint from an internal point of reference and making assumptions, the CJM empowers the customer by putting them front and centre. 

One of the major strengths of adopting this method is the ability to view the complete journey when putting into place processes to prevent it happening again. The visual artefact highlights potential gaps, inconsistencies, and the volume of touchpoints – all of which have the potential to contribute to the complaint in the first place. 

More often than not, the solution does not sit at the complaint ‘fallout’ stage but much earlier in the journey. It may be that expectations were set incorrectly at the outset of the journey, or specific information was not provided in marketing collateral etc. By focusing on the complaint as a stand-alone issue, any process changes may have little or no impact. Only by viewing the complaint as a part of the whole journey can you be confident that changes made will have the greatest impact.

Another advantage of a CJM is the people involved in the mapping activity. Too often complaint management is focused on the team that receives that complaint – but any mapping workshop should include representatives from all parts of the business. This level of collaboration reaffirms the importance that every role plays in an organisation’s Customer Experience, whether directly or indirectly, and it also provides the perfect forum for some ‘outside the box’ brainstorming.  I’ve run journey mapping workshops where the ‘lightbulb’ moments have come from unexpected sources, such as software developers, finance teams, and HR.

We know that customer loyalty is one of the key determinants of an organisation’s success. By viewing complaints as learning opportunities and actioning solutions via a customer journey map, you increase the likelihood of turning that customer (and all those that kept quiet) into an advocate. As data from the Jim Moran Institute and Lee Resources showed, 95 percent of customers will give you a second chance if you handle their complaint successfully and in a timely fashion, and that translates to an improved Customer Experience for your current and future customers.


Will ArcherWill ArcherMarch 7, 2019
pexels-photo-1587014-1280x853.jpg

6min1991

So, you have an effective complaints procedure in place; you are engaging with customers, finding problems and working through solutions, but just one important question remains: “How well are we doing?”

There is, of course, one clear sign of an effective complaints procedure, and that is a happy customer. Yet it can be a bit more complex than that. The typical reward for good complaint handling is increased sales and improved customer retention.

However, it is not always apparent whether these factors are down to your complaint handling alone. So how can we reliably measure success?

One possible measure is reputation. For the last three years, the UK Complaint Handling Awards has sought to recognise organisations that have made a success of their complaints procedure. The event is hosted by Awards International, and for many companies that have received such an award, industry acknowledgement is a reliable mark of success. The results can also be surprising.

“It’s interesting, if not ironic, that when it comes to winning awards, the most competitive industry sectors are also often the most complained about sectors,” explains Donna O’Toole, CEO of awards consultancy August.

“The rail networks, banks, loan providers, insurance companies, telecoms, and utility providers that the public so often love to hate are also the businesses leading the way in transforming their complaints handling processes – and in turn, improving the overall Customer Experience.”

Donna explains that in recent years there has been a rise in businesses realising the long-term value of how they handle customer complaints in the short-term. When shortlisting companies for the awards, successful companies are typically those that demonstrate transparency, better communication strategies, and have implemented innovative tools to help employees respond faster and more effectively.

Industry peer recognition is a valuable indicator of success but there is also a data-driven method of measuring complaints performance.

The Resolver platform is constantly monitoring user feedback throughout the complaints process. It does this by asking users to rate their experience at each stage of the complaint, thus enabling the data team to generate a score on how effective each company, and each sector, is in complaints handling. As with the awards, the results are not always what one would expect.

“It is really interesting because sometimes a lot of the things are counter-intuitive,” says Michael Hill, Resolver’s lead complaints management consultant.

“Sometimes people will give a company a high satisfaction score, despite the fact they have not achieved full resolution of their complaint.”

This highlights the value that customers place in being able to actually express what is really upsetting them. People are more likely to feel better if they have had, at the very least, a fair hearing or, at best, feel they have been treated fairly after going through the process.

On the other end of the scale, Michael notes, there are customers who have been very upset with their experience despite getting their complaint resolved. This is either because they still feel their complaints have not been listened to, or that the company did not follow up.

“We get quite a few companies that have failed to pay out compensation, having agreed to pay, or just take too long to deliver on their promises,” Michael explains.

“Businesses get right up to the end of the line, and technically everyone should be walking away happy, but people are still dissatisfied. It can get complex.”

When it comes to which sectors perform well by user satisfaction, it is usually those industries with a strong regulator or a free escalation service, such as an ombudsman. This is often because it inspires more confidence in the consumer that their issue will be resolved. Again, these can often be the industries that get the most complaints, such as financial services. On the other hand, you have sectors like retail where there is no established ombudsman or regulator, meaning many customers are left feeling very frustrated.

Having a high volume of complaints doesn’t necessarily mean a business is getting things wrong. It is the satisfaction score that matters. Michaels notes that the best-performing companies are those which have strong lines of communication with the public and are quick to respond and engage with customers when a complaint is received, regardless of complaint volume or, in some cases, eventual outcome.

Michael adds: “We would say any business that encourages complaints is going to see more coming through the door, but this is simply better visibility of the problems caused for customers. If they resolve them quickly and effectively, then they will keep their customers. If they don’t, customers will vote with their feet.”




Inform. Inspire. Include.
A free way to improve your business.

Customer Experience Magazine is the online magazine packed full of industry news, blogs, features, reports, case studies, video bites and international stories all focusing on customer experience.


CONTACT US

CALL US ANYTIME


UK Trademark UK00002648900

EUIPO Trademark 018131832

Contact Information

For article submissions:
Editor
Paul Ainsworth
paul@cxm.co.uk

For general inquiries, advertising and partnership information:
aleksandar@awardsinternational.com
Tel: 0207 1932 428

For Advertising and Guest/Sponsored posts:
jovana@cxm.co.uk

For Masterclass enquiries:
danilo@cxm.co.uk
Tel: +44 20 86386491

Customer Experience Magazine Limited
Company number: 12450532
International House, 24 Holborn Viaduct,
United Kingdom, London, England, EC1A 2BN

JOBS IN CUSTOMER SUPPORT

Find a job in customer support with Jobsora


Newsletter


vape: vape weed ecigarette australia all in one vape kit voopoo drag sai north shore vape e cigarette ban rhode island vape mods tips boxs mods pre built coils vape e cigarette cartridges vape pens no nicotine smok novo wattage vape cloud meme vape pens under 50 vape e liquids just water vapor e cigarette tugboat vape review best 510 tank hoosier e cig vaping skull lotus jellyfish mod can you use regular fname juice in smok nord revolver e cig subox mini uwell crown complete vapes best cheap vape juice vicks vapor rub shower melts seahwks nike vapor untouchable elite jeersey hugo squeezer axis vape thc oil vape juice what kind of finish is on the uwell crown tank donkey kahn vape juice voopoo vinci auto mode sativa vape juice cheap vape batteries vaping safer than smoking juul not recognizing pod juul similar luc v4 manual atlantis coils 5 voopoo mojo factory reset voopoo kit geekvape mod lava luau fresh pressed smok novo cartridge biggest box mod vape vape pens for beginners large sub ohm tank vape tank bands smok xcube 2 tc vape pens blowing up smok guardian 3 pipe withdrawal from vaping uwell amulet pod uwell nunchaku 80w uwell crown smowell ceramix ripe collection vape juice crown rba head coil kit by uwell machine vapor

male enhancement: how can i increase my sex drive virectin where to buy increase libido male abnormally cock otc pills primal force reviews biaxin medication thyroid and sex drive viagra men penis wont stay hard do dick pumps really work all natural male enhancement pills ways to increase blood flow to penis manone man oil penis pump exercise india pharmacy cialis average penile length man up pills review abnormally small penis viagra for bph herbs male enhancement how to get an erection on coke when does the average male stop growing is cialis cheaper than viagra free viagra sample pack by mail comparing penis size blue round pill c 1 maxx suplements side effects of tamsulosin hcl ways to make sex better tamsulosin drug penis growth spell hims company viagra long term side effects nitric oxide for ed what is enzyte penis gummy bears titan growth natural ways to improve erection gnc top sellers full erection the best energy pills quizlet health what is considered a big dick erection drink buy priligy ssri and erectile dysfunction when will viagra be otc ageless male side effects red mark on penis red tube asian viagra substitute gnc citrulline amazon my cock is hard where to buy testotek foods for sex drive mens health supplements how to please him in bed vital cure pills penoplasty cost

weight loss: weight loss meal plans best fat burner supplement for women apple cider vinegar weight loss results oregon weight loss best weight loss diets octavia spencer weight loss quickest weight loss diet plans weight loss tracking sheets weight loss cause best matcha tea for weight loss moringa powder and weight loss are alli diet pills safe khloe kardashian 2015 weight loss gym diet for weight loss vibration plate weight loss how many carbs a day for weight loss rachel from extreme weight loss weight loss surgical centers dr rogers weight loss centers how much weight loss on liquid diet weight loss detox diet herbalife weight loss programs muscle milk weight loss unexplained weight loss icd 10 hydrotherapy colon cleanse weight loss 21 day fix weight loss calculator 75 pound weight loss carrie underwood diet pills prescribed weight loss medications best weight loss diet program smart goals for weight loss examples pure diet pills drinking epsom salt for weight loss schwarber weight loss weight loss for diabetics type 2 1 month weight loss results salad only diet weight loss aretha franklin weight loss drinking lemon water for weight loss weight loss progression 7 keto dhea weight loss tumeric for weight loss are weight loss pills safe best detox drink for weight loss rockstar skinny gal diet pills green tea recipe for weight loss tapeworms diet pills bronkaid weight loss menubuy diet pills st francis weight loss center high starch diet weight loss sleeping pills that cause weight loss water diet weight loss results tattoo weight loss appetite suppressants prescription quick weight loss diet foods white pill with 10 on it extreme weight loss where are they now does diet work bragg weight loss

cbd oil: do you need a prescription for cbd braz blood cbd dosing calculator blue moon cbd review cbd oil zilis cbd oil empty stomach best cbd oil for lupus you dont know da way cbd prerolls cbd oil spasticity how to make cbd oil taste better hersolution pills coconut oil cbd getting high on cbd oil cbd oil elixinol expedia hotels sydney cbd how to take sublingual cbd cbd gummies get you high cbd oil chart cbd hemp oil taken once per day cbd plus enid ok 10 mg cbd gummies cbd legal in wyoming plus cbd balm cbd rsho blue 21 mint cbd vape juice not scientifically possible cbd o smoke rainbow six quotes about cbd oil shops cbd for arthritus pain oil can you cook with cbd oil hey honey reviews dab weed wiki plant people drops hemp oil and depression pen medical term cbd oil dosage for breast cancer spectrum pain cbd coffee effects hemp oil vaporizer benefits sleepwalker pills walmart modern pathology is it legal to give my child cbd oil capsules cbd oil hsa does cbd cream show up on a drug test best cbd oil to make you sleep pure supplements inc reviews high tech cbd oil cdc cbd can you use the same vape pen for cbd oil early scores who cells cbd oil in bloomington in humbleroots cbd cbd oil solution cbd computer cbd oil how to apply seizures dab side effects