How Organisations Benefit From Complaints
Many organisations are starting to realise that far from being simply criticisms of their faults, complaints provide an invaluable means of transforming the quality efficiency of their service.
In a modern age where communication advancements have meant that organisations are no longer mysterious operations behind closed doors but easily accessible with the touch of a mouse button, there is an ever greater need for interaction between services and their users. No where is this more significant than with a company’s accountability to their public. In this new dawn of communication organisations cannot shy away from complaints, they must accept them, address them and make improvements for the future.
Valuable FeedbackCompanies are continually on the look out for ways in which they can improve their quality of their service. From think tanks to lecture tours, many outside ‘experts’ are employed to help achieve this, but in truth their most valuable advisors are the very people their organisations are founded on, the employees, and aimed at, the clients and consumers.
With such an unruly mass of people, obtaining the constructive thoughts and opinions of a consumer audience is not an easy task. One popular tool is the consumer survey, a questionnaire that compiles personal details, buying habits and interests so that a company can assess their audience demographic and their various wants. Unfortunately these surveys don’t offer much useful feedback beyond demographic data, as they are considered a chore by most and filled in suitably half-heartedly.
A consumer complaint, on the other hand, provides an unbiased and frank comment on a flaw in their service, and at no cost. This is why many forward thinking organisations are not only grateful to receive complaints, but are actively encouraging them.
Customer LoyaltyRather than being the mark of an abject failure, mistakes are a part of human nature and a necessary means for people to learn and to grow. Being created and run by individuals, organisations are no different. If somebody highlights an overpriced or unreliable service they are not condemning the organisation to redundancy, but offering an opportunity for them to learn from their mistake. Individuals and organisations alike, those that ignore criticism and think they know better will ultimately lose out in the long run.
A complaint is a warning sign and not a customer lost. How a company deals with criticism is not only vitally important for their development but also in gaining customer respect and loyalty. If an organisation acknowledges their error and makes pains to rectify it then far from losing the customer, they are showing that they are a healthy and human operation that values its customers. A complaint is therefore is not only an opportunity to improve its service but also retain and increase the loyalty of its audience.
Internal Complaints ProceduresThis revolution in complaint management has led many organisations to adopt complaints procedures to welcome and deal with concerns from within the company walls.
Although its naysayers believe that such a concept would only succeed in creating more work by encouraging complaints, the experience of establishing a proper framework for dealing with employee concerns is considered to have been a largely positive one.
Research into its effect found that the common theory that everyone knows who to talk to when they have a problem was often not the case. Not everyone felt able to discuss a problem with the person or people involved. A complaint procedure instead provided a fair means to air ones grievances that was the same for everybody.
External Complaints ProceduresThe establishment of a complaints procedure in the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) found that it acted as a learning tool and an early warning system for the organisation as a whole.
Instead of individual complaints being dealt with one by one, the new system enabled the society to identify areas that were the subject of multiple complaints, and therefore prioritise and tackle the most pertinent problems.
Other organisations found that such a procedure instils confidence in users, and allows them greater influence over the organisation and the way it operates. In showing that the society is accountable, it also helps promote it to the public as a fair and open operation.