Handling customer complaints – our survey says…

Customer handling
Sean Rawlin  By Sean Rawlin, Managing Director, Ant Marketing

The modern consumer has various communication channels to voice their concerns and complaints, which means businesses face the challenge of managing a multitude of channels efficiently.

We ran a recent poll on LinkedIn that shed light on the preferred communication methods for lodging complaints, with email emerging as the frontrunner at 53%, followed by phone (22%), webchat (19%) and social media (4%). This data highlights the importance of businesses optimising their complaint management strategies to ensure seamless customer experiences. One effective solution is leveraging outsourced contact centres, which offer specialised support to streamline operations and enhance customer satisfaction.

Proliferation of channels

The proliferation of communication channels has transformed customer service dynamics, presenting both opportunities and challenges for businesses. While multiple channels enable greater accessibility and convenience for customers, they also complicate the process of managing complaints effectively. Each channel comes with its own set of nuances and requirements, demanding dedicated resources and expertise to handle enquiries promptly and proficiently. Moreover, the disjointed nature of managing disparate channels can lead to inconsistencies in service delivery, resulting in frustrated customers and tarnished brand reputation.

Email

Emails, the preferred choice for lodging complaints according to our poll, pose unique challenges for businesses. While they offer a documented trail of communication, managing a high volume of emails requires efficient triaging and prioritisation to address urgent issues promptly. Additionally, ensuring timely responses and personalised resolutions via email demands robust systems and trained personnel capable of handling diverse queries effectively.

Phone

Phone calls, though representing a smaller percentage in our poll, remain a vital communication channel for many customers seeking immediate assistance. However, managing phone-based complaints necessitates a dedicated team of customer service representatives equipped with active listening skills and problem-solving abilities. Moreover, maintaining acceptable wait times and minimising call escalations are crucial factors in delivering satisfactory outcomes to callers.

Web chat

The emergence of web chat as a popular communication avenue reflects changing consumer preferences for real-time interactions and instant resolutions. However, managing web chat enquiries requires adept multitasking capabilities and technological infrastructure to handle concurrent conversations efficiently. Furthermore, ensuring seamless integration with other support channels is essential for providing a cohesive customer experience across touchpoints.

Social

Despite its lower ranking in the poll, social media remains a significant platform for customers to voice their grievances publicly. Managing complaints on social media demands a proactive approach, with businesses required to monitor mentions, respond promptly, and mitigate reputational risks effectively. Moreover, leveraging social listening tools and engaging in transparent communication can help turn negative experiences into positive outcomes, fostering customer loyalty and brand advocacy.

The advantages of outsourcing

Amidst these complexities, outsourcing customer complaint management to specialised contact centres offers a compelling solution for businesses seeking to streamline operations and enhance service quality. Outsourced contact centres bring a wealth of experience and resources to the table, leveraging advanced technologies and best practices to manage diverse communication channels seamlessly. By centralising complaint-handling processes, businesses can ensure consistency in service delivery, improve response times, and optimise resource allocation for maximum efficiency.

One key advantage of outsourcing is scalability, allowing businesses to flex staffing levels and resources based on fluctuating demand. This agility is particularly valuable during peak periods or unexpected surges in complaint volumes, ensuring uninterrupted support and mitigating customer dissatisfaction. Additionally, outsourcing enables businesses to tap into specialised expertise and industry knowledge, empowering them to adopt innovative strategies and drive continuous improvement in complaint management practices.

Moreover, outsourcing customer complaint management can yield cost efficiencies for businesses, eliminating the need for substantial investments in infrastructure, training, and technology upgrades. By leveraging the economies of scale offered by outsourced contact centres, businesses can achieve significant cost savings while maintaining high service standards and customer satisfaction levels.

The insights gleaned from our LinkedIn poll illustrate the importance of adopting a strategic approach to managing customer complaints across multiple communication channels. Outsourcing to specialised contact centres presents a viable solution for businesses seeking to navigate the complexities of modern customer service landscapes effectively. By harnessing the expertise, scalability and cost efficiencies offered by outsourced partners, businesses can elevate their complaint management capabilities, drive operational excellence, and cultivate lasting customer relationships in today’s competitive marketplace.