“Disgruntled customers are good for business.” At first glance it might seem like that is a strange statement to make, but organisations, both in the public and private sector, that have progressive, forward-thinking complaints and case management handling processes are in a better position than their rivals. When the response to complaints and issues is purely responsive, then it’s a missed opportunity to capture meaningful data from the customer or citizen.
Some areas in which organisations can leverage complaints to their advantage include:
- It improves satisfaction and morale, both internally and externally – staff feel better about their jobs when their customers are having their complaints resolved more efficiently and with minimal escalation. The quick resolution of complaints also means that escalation is minimal, and productivity and efficiency levels are improved.
- It builds the reputation and perception of the organisation – an organisation that is known for “good customer service” is an organisation that finds it easier to engage with the community.
- It can lead to innovation, improved processes, and better solutions – accurately capturing, measuring, and analysing the data provided by complaints gives organisations the opportunity to review their processes, develop new ways to approach the customer, and potentially even unlock new product and services opportunities.
In addition to this, complaints resolution is a key political focus point, and consequently regulation is always in flux, for all sectors in the community. For example, the Australian government will introduce RG271, which will come into effect in October of this year, and focuses on Australian financial services and what they must do to meet ASIC’s standards and requirements around internal dispute resolution systems.
Beyond finding solutions to better handle complaints, for the strategic opportunity that they provide, organisations should also be looking at this as an opportunity to improve case management overall. A good complaints resolution process should also deliver excellent case management, allowing for key stakeholders to, at a glance, understand the assessment, planning, facilitation and advocacy process with their customers, and deliver on all interactions in an efficient and positive manner.
What does good complaint and case management resolution look like?
To have an exceptional complaints resolution process, some of the key steps involved include:
- Ensuring that your processes can “listen” and “understand”, across all channels, regardless of where the complaint comes from – this means having an adequate data capture process in place, that doesn’t subsequently silo away the data so that lines of business can’t access it when they need to.
- The process will be focused on finding and executing on solutions to the complaint. This almost goes without saying, but too many complaint systems are focused on building processes, rather than finding resolutions.
- The complaints handling system will have some form of analytics and reporting built in to identify long-term and systemic trends behind the complaints. This is important both from a regulatory perspective, and strategic – the deeper and more historic the data sets that are being captured and analysed, the greater the insights that flow back into the business.
- The process will be automated where possible but there will also be the understanding that escalation to human support should be smooth and seamless. This is particularly true with escalations. There will be a point where the person making the complaint, or whose case is being addressed wants the assurance that it has caught the attention of human eyes.
- There needs to be a total focus on security. Not only is this essential to meeting regulatory requirements, but otherwise the complaint or case management process itself could lead to data breaches, and even more complaints!
What does a good complaint or case management handling solution look like?
Complaint resolution needs to be tailored to the sector, but to look at public services as an example: Research by Civica and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) found that, to Australians, having open and transparent communication with their councils is an important priority. However, this is at odds with what an enquiry into how Victorian councils, conducted by the Victorian Ombudsman, found. There, simple things like complaints about bins not being emptied were only being recorded by councils as a complaint in 30 per cent of cases.
From the council’s perspective, addressing this disconnect relies on the complaints and case management solution being easy to use, scalable, and efficient, and therefore disincentivising councils to avoid capturing data. The Civica iCasework solution achieves this by streamlining the process and moving it to the cloud. Through iCasework, councils can instantly capture data across all channels including social, email, phone and Web. That data is consolidated onto a single, highly secure (ISO 9001, ISO 27001 and PCI DSS) and compliant platform, and is designed to be both scalable and future resilient, with Civica keeping it current to all regulatory shifts.
Councils will also gain access to automated reports that provide business intelligence and insight into customer behaviour, and comprehensive and industry-specific root cause classifications (complete with alerts) mean that a council can identify areas of concern and action on them quickly.
As noted by Carolyn Van Tilburg, Senior IDR Advisory, Teachers Mutual Bank Limited: “We implemented iCasework in 2014 and since then have used it to capture all of our complaints, compliments and suggestions. Having a simple, easy workflow process allows us to meet our organisational requirements and gives us valuable insights with quick and easy reports. Trends can be easily identified, and analysis of data has been used to improve our products and services. The iCasework team have worked closely with us to ensure that we stay up-to-date allowing us to continue to meet our regulatory requirements. iCasework has definitely made my job easier.”
Councils are increasingly keen to engage with their communities and be seen as being positive and responsive to the needs of a community. To do that, much like businesses in the private sector, they need access to good quality customer data that they can act on. Properly captured, analysed and managed, complaints are actually the best source of data in understanding the concerns and pain-points of customers, so finding a solution that allows the organisation to do more with that data should be a priority.
For more information on iCasework and Civica’s complaint and case management solutions, click here.