The finalists for the 2020 UK Complaint Handling Awards have been revealed, with high street and household names among the brands vying for success at the upcoming gala ceremony.
The fourth year for the awards, the final of which will take place at London’s Park Plaza Hotel on March 5, is set to be the biggest yet, with finalists including The Co-op, Aldi, Npower, Yorkshire Water, Capita, and BT among firms competing across 15 categories.
This year, categories include Best Complaint Handling Team of the Year, Most Improved Complaint Handling, and Zero to Hero – Transforming Customer Relations.
The finalist with the highest score from the categories will leave with the highly coveted Overall Winner title.
The expert judging panel for 2020 is continuing to take shape, and places are still available to join. Potential judges have until December 24 to take advantage of a special Early Bird discount on the judging package.
Awards International; CEO Neil Skehel said: “2019 saw an incredibly high standard set by UK Complaint Handling Awards finalists, yet we are confident that with the calibre of entries we will see that bar raised further in 2020.
“We cannot wait to hear what innovative complaint handling initiatives will be shown in March, and I would like to congratulate all finalists on making the shortlist, and wish them good luck.”
The company, which has featured in prestigious lists including the Sunday Times Top 100 Small Companies to Work For and The Sunday Times Profit Track 100 and Fast Track 100, are experts on the complaints journey and will join finalists next March at London’s Park Plaza Hotel.
Huntswood joins fellow event sponsors Resolver, Worksmart, Cranfield School of Management, Professor Malcolm McDonald, and Barnardos in helping to bring the annual Awards International-hosted event to life and celebrating the stars of complaint handling in the UK.
Describing Hunstwood’s approach, a company spokesperson said: “We help firms govern, transform and operate their businesses to drive better outcomes. When our clients need support, it almost always involves customer considerations, it is often multi-channel and always requires an approach that is compliant with regulation.
“In our engagement with clients we are, above all else, collaborative and always at the forefront in the development of innovative, tailored and transformative solutions. These typically combine people, processes and technology to drive better customer, commercial, and regulatory outcomes.”
Welcoming Huntswood to the sponsor team, Awards International CEO Neil Skehel said: “It’s an honour to have Huntswood join the awards as a sponsor for 2020. This is a company that has its finger on the pulse of customers, and has gifted the UK business landscape with valuable insight through its Complaints Outlook research in 2016 and 2019.
“They are no strangers to winning awards themselves, and will no-doubt inspire our finalists as they compete in their respective categories.”
The full list of finalists for the 2020 UK Complaint Handling Awards will be revealed later this month.
The daytime event, hosted by Awards International, will see finalists from across the UK compete in 16 categories, including Best Use of Customer Insight & Feedback, Customer Retention Strategy, and Complaint Handling Professional of the Year.
Organisations have until October 18 to take advantage of an Early Bird Discount Offer, before the final entry deadline of November 14.
The finalists for 2020 will be revealed on November 26.
Resolver CEO and Founder James Walker said: “Resolver captures the lost voice of dis-engaged consumers and diffuses friction between them and the business to create better outcomes for all. We achieve this by informing consumers of their rights and managing their expectations to help achieve a smooth resolution.
“With over 5 million complaint cases and counting, Resolver Group’s business brand, Egeria Insights, are able to use this unique data to support businesses to improve their complaint handling processes through the intelligent application of natural language processing, industry benchmarking and predictive technology.”
Speaking of the partnership with the 2020 UK Customer Experience Awards, he added: “In the future, successful firms will be defined by how well they treat their customers. Increasingly, businesses across the spectrum are realising the importance of listening to what the people who use their services are saying and learning and evolving in response.
“That’s why I’m thrilled to be working in partnership with Awards International to recognise these awesome businesses that are getting in right. And I’m looking forward to celebrating the winners of the future.”
Awards International CEO Neil Skehel said: “As any of the millions of consumers who used Resolver to successfully lodge a complaint – either directly to a firm or through an ombudsman – will tell you, their service makes the entire process as quick as possible.
“No longer are people being put off complaining because of a long, laborious process. Thanks to Resolver, the consumer is more powerful than they have ever been before, and the onus is now on businesses to prove they are able to handle complaints more effectively than ever before. These awards will celebrate those who are doing just that.”
The 2019 UK Customer Experience Awards is almost here, and finalists from among Britain’s most customer-centric organisations are preparing to put their best foot forward at London’s Wembley Stadium.
Marking a decade of celebrating the very best Customer Experience initiatives, this year’s 10th anniversary event, hosted by Awards International, features finalists including O2, Capita, Sky, Aldi and many more.
Representatives from each organisation will spend the morning and afternoon of October 10 presenting details of their CX strategies before official UKCXA judges, including some of the most important names in the world of Customer Experience.
Joining Awards Chairman Ian Golding – global CX consultant and author – are some of the country’s most influential figures involved in CX management, and other prominent business leaders. A full list of 2019 judges is available here.
Meanwhile, new parters for this years event are CX and call centre tech revolutionaries Genesys, and data consultancy experts Kantar. They join existing partners Cranfield School of Management, Barnardo’s, and the Customer Experience Professionals Association.
Awards International CEO Neil Skehel said: “This event has grown exponentially to become the biggest CX event of its kind in the world, and we are incredibly proud to be marking its tenth anniversary.
“Customer Experience is now a brand’s most defining characteristic, and it is impossible to overestimate its importance to the economy. These awards play such an important role in not only celebrating achievements, but also setting the standard for organisations to follow if they are to be successful in this new era where the customer really is at the heart of everything.”
The firm, which has been supporting Britain’s leading financial service businesses through the challenges of regulatory compliance for over two decades, is bringing its considerable influence to the awards final next spring, where companies will compete in 15 categories, including Best use of Insight & Customer Feedback and Complaint Handling Professional of the Year.
Worksmart is the firm behind cutting-edge complaints software Caresmart, which has revolutionised complaint tracking and resolving for organisations keen to protect their reputation with both customers and regulatory bodies. It joins fellow partners Cranfield School of Management and Professor Malcolm McDonald in backing the awards, which are once again also sponsored by children’s charity Barardo’s.
2020 will be the fourth year of the event, hosted by Awards International, and finalists will descend on the Park Plaza Riverbank on March 5 to present details of complaint handling initiatives before a panel of leading experts including representatives of award-winning firms such as Capita.
Entries remain open for the awards, and hopefuls have until October 18 to take advantage of an Early Bird discount offer. The final entry deadline is on November 14, with shortlisted finalists set to be announced on November 26.
Julie Pardy, Director of Regulation & Market Engagement at Worksmart, said: “We’re delighted to be a sponsor at the UK Complaint Handling Awards, as it promotes best practice in complaint handling. Our complaints product, Caresmart, helps companies resolve complaints compliantly and in a way which ensures the best possible chance of retaining the relationship with the customer for the future. As such, sponsoring these awards is the right thing to do.”
The business services leader – which has been shortlisted for a number of categories at this year’s awards finals in London this October, including Team of the Year – has appointed Aimie Chappleas Executive Officer, Customer Management, while Chantal Free will join the firm as Executive Officer, People Solutions.
Both will take up their new posts in October.
Aimie worked for more than 20 years at Accenture, holding a series of senior positions, including UKI Chief Innovation Officer. She is a non-executive director of Learning Technologies Group.
“Capita is at a really exciting stage of its transformation, so this is a great time to come on board,” Aimie said.
“We are also in the midst of a new age in customer management, with advances in automation, AI, and data analytics, providing opportunities to serve customers with new insights. I’m passionate about helping develop and deliver these innovations for Capita’s clients, while also building on the expertise and outstanding service already being delivered by the customer management team.”
Meanwhile, Chantal joins from Willis Towers Watson, where she was Managing Director and Head of Human Capital and Benefits, Western Europe.
She said: “I am excited to be joining Capita and to have the opportunity to lead the company’s People Solutions division at this transformative moment. Capita offers an incredible range of human resources tools and capabilities to more than 6,500 private and public sector clients.
“I look forward to deepening Capita’s relationships with its existing HR clients and to helping them prepare for the challenges of the future of work.”
The pair join as Capita continues a very successful 2019 that has already seen the firm win titles including Best Customer Relations and Remediation at the UK Complaint Handling Awards.
Jon Lewis, Capita’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted that two such highly respected and experienced figures as Aimie and Chantal have chosen to join Capita. They are joining the company in the second year of a multi-year transformation, and I am confident Aimie and Chantal possess the skills to help deliver the next phase of Capita’s growth. I look forward very much to working with them.”
Mark Cook will serve as interim Executive Officer, People Solutions until Chantal Free’s arrival. He has joined Capita from Investment Services Group, where he was Global Managing Director. Erika Bannerman, the former Executive Officer for People Solutions, has decided to leave Capita to pursue other opportunities.
Jon Lewis said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Erika for her commitment to leading our People Solutions division during the early stage of our multi-year transformation and, on behalf of Capita, to wish her well for the future.”
Entries are now open for the 2020 UK Complaint Handling Awards, Britain’s biggest celebration of CX-inspired initiatives to resolve consumer problems.
2020 will be he fourth year the awards ceremony will be held in the heart of London, and March 5 will see finalists descend on the Park Plaza Riverbank venue to present 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 2019 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 November 14. Those who enter before October 8, meanwhile, can take advantage of a special Early Bird discount, that can save up to £100 off the standard entry price.
There are 15 categories to choose from for 2020, encompassing both industry and discipline-specific areas. They incorporate both B2B and B2C initiatives, and include categories specifically for SMEs, so that all types of organisation have the chance to earn recognition.
New categories include Zero to Hero – Transforming Customer Relations, while as always, the day will see one Overall Winner crowned from the category champions.
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.
Awards International CEO, Neil Skehel, said: “We are thrilled to launch the 2020 UK Complaint Handling Awards, and are excited to see the initiatives put forward by organisations, big and small, from right across the UK.
“This annual event has become one of the most relevant dates in the business calendar for companies that are revolutionising how they interact with customers and implement resolution strategies.
“The best companies don’t shy away from complaints – they use them to strengthen their reputation and retain a loyal customer. Joining the awards this year means you can showcase your amazing initiatives whilst rewarding your team’s dedication.
“As with events such as the upcoming UK Customer Experience Awards and UK Digital Experience Awards, the UKCHAs will also be a prime networking opportunity, promoting excellence and best practice sharing, by gathering hundreds of leading business professionals together under one roof.”
Click here for further details on how to enter for 2020.
Meanwhile, for those keen to glean insights from previous winners, the Winning With Complaint Handling conference is taking place in London on September 25. This unique one-day event will offer practical techniques on transforming complaints into improved products and services, and provide guidance on creating customer loyalty through outstanding complaint handling strategies.
Click here for details on applying to attend, and for a special discount offer.
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.
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 Management, and 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.
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.
The most exciting gathering of award winners and experts in the field of complaint handling will take place London this autumn at a brand new conference, and now is your chance to join them for a special discount price.
Taking place on September 25 at the Park Plaza Riverbank in the heart of London, this unique one-day event will offer practical techniques on transforming complaints into improved products and services, and provide guidance on creating customer loyalty through outstanding complaint handling strategies.
Attendees will be able to interact in real time with each panel using the Slido app, to put questions to panelists and vote on issues as speakers discuss the need to adopt dynamic, technological solutions instead of traditional approaches.
As with all Awards International events, the conference will be an excellent networking opportunity, as guests will include representatives from a wide range of sectors. A full line-up for the conference will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, joining Awards International CEO Neil Skehel as Co-Chair of the conference will be Daniel Ord, Founder and Director of OmniTouch International, and one of the world’s leading authorities on contact centre excellence. Daniel also leads CXM’s Contact Centres Masterclass.
“I’m thrilled to be welcoming attendees to London later this year for what will be one of the best opportunities to learn the skills and strategies of award-winning firms,” Daniel said.
“Our panel discussions will feature valuable insight into what the very best brands are providing customers when it comes to complaint handling.”
Neil Skehel added: “This isn’t just another conference; you will be an integral part of this event and your priorities will shape what we discuss. It promises to be an educational and inspirational experience for everyone involved.”
Tickets for Winning With Complaint Handling are now available, while those who book before midnight on July 19 can enjoy a special Early Bird Discount, saving them £100 on the full price. Click here for further details.
Multi-award-winning water supplier Business Stream has appointed a new Director of Business Transformation to help the company deliver its ambitious growth strategy.
The Edinburgh-based firm has enjoyed recent awards success, including at the 2019 UK Complaint Handling Awards, where it won Gold in the Innovation in Complaint Handling category, along with two runner-up gongs; the 2018 UK Business Awards, where it secured two Gold category titles; and at the inaugural International Customer Experience Awards in Amsterdam last autumn, when it was victorious in the Best Digital Transformation Strategy shortlist.
Now Margaret McLay is on board as Director of Business Transformation, and with a proven track record in change and IT, will be responsible for leading the effective delivery and coordination of the company’s transformation programme. She will report directly to Business Stream’s Chief Executive, Jo Dow.
Speaking of her new appointment, Margaret said: “I am really excited to be joining Business Stream at a time of significant growth. In my new role as Director of Business Transformation I am looking forward to working in partnership with the executive team to enable the business to maintain excellent customer service levels and to achieve its strategic goals.”
Jo Dow, added: “I am delighted that Margaret will be joining the company. It’s an exciting time for the business as we look to expand our market share and deliver a market leading level of service to our customers in Scotland and England. This latest appointment will strengthen our leadership team and help us drive forward our ambitious plans for the future.”
Earlier this year Business Stream bought the customer base of its competitors Yorkshire Water Business Services (YWBS) and Three-Sixty, both part of the Kelda Group, doubling its market share and cementing its position as one of the top three retailers in the UK water market.
Business Stream expanded its operation in April 2017 by acquiring the non-household customer base of Southern Water when it began competing in the new £2.5bn English water market. The new market has enabled 1.2 million businesses and public bodies in England to choose their water supplier for the first time.
Scotland’s non-domestic market, which covers all premises across private and public sector organisations, opened to competition in April 2008. Since then, Business Stream customers have saved more than £242 million on their water bills and conserved over 43 billion litres of water.
UK Customer Experience Awards winner Feefo is revealing good news for the travel industry, with a new study showing 70 percent of UK holidaymakers believe a good experience is provided by companies.
The reviews ands customer insights firm, which won Silver in the Best use of Insight & Feedback – Solution or Programme category at the UKCXA finals in London’s Wembley Stadium last year – has published a new eBook using research conducted among 500 UK consumers.
It provides exclusive insights into fast-emerging travel trends from significant industry insiders such as Karl Thompson, Managing Director of Sandals UK & Europe; Gavin Tollman, CEO of Trafalgar Travel Group, and Austin Houghton-Bird, Online Customer Experience Manager at UK Complaint Handling Awards winner Thomas Cook.
Although the research finds most consumers are positive about Customer Experience in the travel industry, 30 percent are either unhappy or unimpressed with what they paid for. Moreover, only a little more than half of the 16-24 age group (54 percent) have a positive word to say about their most recent experience of booking a holiday.
Matt West, CEO at Feefo, said: “There are still serious CX gaps in the travel industry, even though the research is broadly positive. As our highly-respected contributors make clear, consumers in today’s experience economy value consistent quality and uniqueness over mundane factors such as price.
“The relatively low level of satisfaction in the 16-24 age group, for example, indicates how too often, younger travellers don’t find the unusual or spectacular ‘Instragrammable’ experiences they demand. Or it may be the full integration of technology which they take for granted, was not available.
Matt added: “Successful operators know they must use cutting-edge customer insight tools to understand demand and keep ahead of changes in sentiment or taste.”
Let’s Get Healthy, which won Gold in the Health & Wellbeing category at the 2018 UK Employee Experience Awards in London, is delivering training to Co-op customer service centre staff that will equip them with techniques to offer support including arranging funerals and other post-bereavement plans.
Co-op – winner of the Best Contact Centre and Product Service Improvement: Transforming Customer Care categories in the 2018 UK Complaint Handling Awards – is one of many thought leader firms providing training for colleagues to help them be resilient in what can be very stressful times.
Following a successful pilot of the campaign in November 2018, the programme will now be delivered across the customer service centre. The campaign includes a briefing session with senior managers, a one-day face to face course, and a seven-week plan of activity led by team leaders and operations managers to embed the learnings.
The dedicated training is designed to empower more colleagues to be brave-hearted and resilient, supporting adults through the stages of bereavement while being mindful that employees will have lost loved ones too.
Leeds-based Let’s Get Healthy has previously provided corporate wellbeing services to firms including William Hill, G’s Fresh, Travis Perkins, and Northern.
Claire Carroll, Head of Member and Customer Services at Co-op, said: “We held sessions with our colleagues, and they shared with me their personal experiences of losing a loved one and supporting customers who have experienced a similar loss.
“Let’s Get Healthy designed a programme called Heart that helped my team be brave hearted when dealing with customers who may be broken hearted. The language itself has made it easier for us all to talk about death and how we deal with it. Providing tools and techniques to be resilient is essential in the type of work handled in service centres and this is the third year we have worked with the team at Let’s Get Healthy and we see huge benefits each year.”
Maria Bourke, Managing Director of Let’s Get Healthy, said: “Co-op identified the need to embed health and wellbeing as part of its wider business strategy to invest in its colleagues. This may be a unique topic to cover but bereavement affects every single employee in every single employer across the UK. It’s always great to support thought leading organisations and I am thrilled that the roll out has started across Co-op.”
The 2019 UK Complaint Handling Awards have taken place in London, celebrating the people and initiatives behind some of the best customer service operations in Britain.
Hosted by Awards International – holders of an Independent Awards Standards Council Gold Trust Mark – the event saw hundreds gather at the Park Plaza Riverbank hotel last Friday, when teams of finalists made presentations to an expert panel of judges throughout the day.
Following a gala lunch, the 2019 Overall Winner title was awarded to outsourcing services firm Firstsource, which claimed Gold in the Customer Insight Strategy category. The victory built on the success of the company in last year’s awards, when along with mobile network giffgaff it won Best Personal Entertainment & Telecoms.
Other big winners this year were banking giants HSBC, which won an incredible four Gold category titles, and United Utilities, which won three Gold titles, including the highly coveted Complaint Handling Leader of the Year award for their Head of Service Recovery, Sally Ainsworth.
The 2019 roll of honour also included Wessex Water in partnership with The First Word, which won in the Best Complaint Handling Training category; One Vision Housing, which claimed Gold for Best Use of Customers’ Insight and Feedback; and Capita, whose team walked away with the Customer Relations & Remediation award.
Speaking afterwards, Awards International CEO Neil Skehel said: “What an event this has been – we are incredibly fortunate to have such a vantage point on the high standard of complaint handling services in the UK.
“So many organisations are ensuring they have a robust complaints procedure at the heart of their structure, and these awards not only celebrate the best initiatives behind that, but they also allow representatives from all of these wonderful companies to come together and inspire each other, share best practice, and ensure complaint handling continues to go from strength to strength and remains central to a quality service.”
“On behalf of Awards International I would like to offer a huge congratulations to all of our winners, and I want to thank all of our finalists for coming and competing in what is now one of the most important events in the UK’s customer service calendar.”
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.”
The credit card firm, which was named Overall Winner in last year’s UK Complaint Handling Awards in London, is using Limitless’ soon to be launched Crowd Feedback solution to easily capture valuable customer feedback and drive key product improvement.
NewDay has over 5 million customers across the UK, and is inviting them to enrol on the Limitless app. Customers are tasked with conducting tests on a range of products and then provide feedback, in exchange for cash rewards. All feedback is channelled to NewDay’s customer support and product teams to accelerate service improvements and generate fresh ideas for new product development.
The VoC programme was launched with NewDay customers using Aqua and Amazon MasterCard credit cards. Both cohorts are providing vital feedback that is fuelling product and process changes.
Francesca Rea, Director of Customer Service and Service Delivery at NewDay, said: “Our company vision is to help people be better with credit. We put our customers at the heart of whatever we do, and the Ambassador programme is very much in the spirit of what we believe in. We’re delighted that this has opened new avenues for us to connect with and reward our most engaged customers.”
“As a business, we are focused on delivering innovative credit products; timely customer feedback is critical as it accelerates our speed to market and allows us to stay ahead of competition. We will continue to work with Limitless to explore new ways of capitalising on the knowledge, experience and brand passion of our customers to improve our service offerings for everyone.”