Complaint management: make dissatisfied customers happy

What is the connection between complaints and customer retention?

Complaints are a stroke of luck for companies. They help them reveal errors in processes, simplify what is complicated and make what is displeasing to customers more pleasant. And at the same time, a complaint is also an opportunity: among complaining customers, expectations are usually low – which makes it even easier to make them happy again. Customers want to be taken seriously and hope for a resolution of their complaints. This is where the true service champions are revealed. A properly solved complaint leads to customer satisfaction and significantly higher repeat business rates.

Why shouldn’t you complain about complaints? Because customers who criticize are better customers. Critical feedback can even lead to enhanced loyalty. At Baloise Insurance, the repeat business rate for customers who complain is double that for customers who do not complain. Inconspicuous customers are not always more loyal customers. They simply do not express their frustration. If customers complain, then you have already achieved the first goal.

A complaining customer harbors – sometimes even acute – negative feelings towards the company. To turn his or her emotion around to something positive primarily requires one thing: authentic empathy. What is important here is to prove to customers that you empathize with them, that you take them seriously and want to help because it truly matters to you to make them happy again. In this way not only is the complaint resolved, but the customer is won over again and the probability of repeat business increases.

Is faster automatically better?

While the reaction and handling time is essential in complaint management, it is not everything. Showing fairness, meeting needs and treating customers with respect all show them that they are being taken seriously and that their issue is being resolved. This experience can boost the customer’s loyalty despite dissatisfaction at the beginning. A well-resolved complaint can lead to a repeat business rate that is double that for customers with no complaint.

Do you know your strengths and weaknesses?

If the handling of complaints is centrally and structurally anchored in companies, then they can point out the strengths and weaknesses of products, processes and services. Customer feedback becomes tangible, assessable and useful. Comprehensive evaluations extending beyond the reaction and handling time are also possible. Behavioral structures that help to steadily optimize service structures can be derived. Products and services as well as the quality of the customer relationship can be improved.

What must software in complaint management be able to achieve?

Software must support the complaint management processes and be so simply designed that staff can focus entirely on the customer and not the system. To this also belongs the ability to easily involve other teams in the processing process and to integrate the necessary peripheral systems. The advantage: staff no longer needs to constantly switch back and forth between different systems and the first contact resolution rate (FCR) is increased.

The integration of all inbound channels – letter, e-mail, phone etc. – should also be part of the solution. In this way, the same process can always be initiated and handled identically. This contributes to the easy and rapid resolution of complaints from the customer’s perspective, which in turn boosts customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers have more contracts, higher profitability, greater cross-selling potential and 60% (!) lower cancelation rates. With this in mind, each complaint should be received with gratitude, because each one bears great opportunities.