Customer Complaints? Try This 10-Point Plan

Illustration of customer complaints, negative comments with angry face symbols
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Do you sometimes feel your team are stuck in an endless cycle of handling the same customer complaints over and over – with no support from the wider business on fixing them? Then it’s time to take a different approach!

Megan Jones, Editor at Call Centre Helper, interviewed Brittany Hodak, customer experience speaker and author of ‘Creating Superfans’, about how to take customer complaints beyond the contact centre – for longer-term solutions that benefit colleagues and customers alike.

10 Ways to Get the Wider Company Involved in Managing Customer Complaints

Keen to get the wider company more involved in managing customer complaints? Here are some tactics to try:

1. Explain How Much Time and Money Is Being Wasted

Brittany Hodak, customer experience speaker and author of ‘Creating Superfans’
Brittany
Hodak

Taking a more collaborative approach to managing customer complaints can save the company a lot of time and money – so make sure you spell this out to everyone!

If you can shed light on the time it takes to correct mistakes – from the administrative work involved in tackling customer enquiries, to the number of hours people are spending in the contact centre fielding those questions, it’s a compelling case to take a more proactive approach.

2. Make a Habit of Asking ‘How Can We Make This More Customer Friendly?’

In every meeting, make a habit of asking “OK, thinking as a customer, what should we be doing to make this more customer friendly?”

By regularly asking this question – especially to those earlier on in the customer journey, perhaps from marketing or sales – you’ll have a chance to uncover objections and figure out how to handle them before they become big problems later.

The more people you ask, the better! Even departments who aren’t necessarily customer facing can help you uncover a lot of things you might not have thought about.

For instance, your contact centre may be getting a lot of calls or questions because the instructions are unclear in a manual.

This could have been uncovered much sooner in the manufacturing process – if you’d discussed it with the wider business sooner.

If you are striving for an all-round better customer service experience, read our article: Expert Strategies to Improve Customer Happiness

3. Host an Intentional Experience Design Session

It’s very important that people outside the call centre know what questions are coming in and how they’re being answered.

People working on plotting CX design
Host an Intentional Experience Design Session
and get people from different departments
in the same room

This is where it can really help to host an Intentional Experience Design Session and get people from different departments in the same room.

For example, when I did one at a large hospital centre, we had doctors, nurses, the contact centre team, and more in the room.

This gave the contact centre team the opportunity to talk about the questions that they were hearing again and again (and again!).

This not only gave the doctors and nurses the opportunity to share more accurate responses to common questions, but also facilitated positive conversations about what could be done differently across the wider hospital – from core process changes, to improving internal and external communication to reduce the complaints coming in in the first place.

4. Share Dashboard Stats With the Leadership Team

Another great way to bring customer complaints to the forefront is to share a dashboard with the leadership team, so they can see what questions are coming in on a weekly (perhaps even daily( basis to the contact centre.

That way, when something spikes or is out of trend, they are primed with all the details to think, “What do we need to be doing differently to fix this?”

5. Make Friends in Other Departments

It’s critical to break down silos and create more opportunity for cross-departmental conversations.

That’s why the onus is also on the contact centre leader to foster strong relationships across the wider business, so they are on first-name terms with the head of marketing, head of finance, and so on.

It’s critical to break down silos and create more opportunity for cross-departmental conversations.

This can really help to keep those lines of communication firmly open on a daily, more informal basis – rather than relying solely on formal meetings once a month.

It can also give leaders a point of contact for asking “why does this keep happening?”, “why do I keep getting this question?” or “why do I keep getting this complaint?” and to kick-start conversations about solutions.

6. Select Representatives From Each Department to Help Champion Customer Issues

Why not appoint one or two people to represent each department when it comes to raising customer concerns or anything that might improve the customer experience?

These representatives can then make it part of their day job to keep an eye out for customer issues or areas of improvement.

You could also then proactively schedule monthly meetings with these department representatives to discuss current issues – without needing to get the whole department together.

7. Put Someone in Charge of Cross-Departmental Communication

This approach can also be strengthened by putting someone in charge – a Chief Experience Officer or similar – to ensure these cross-departmental meetings are happening on very regularly.

If you are looking for advice on how to improve internal communication, read our article: 7 Clever Ways to Improve Internal Communication Between Departments

8. Place the Contact Centre Firmly on the Agenda at Every ‘All Company’ Meeting

All of the above should be reinforced by putting the contact centre firmly on the agenda at every ‘all company’ meeting.

This slot should be a snapshot “here’s what our customers are saying” so everyone can see what’s happening at the frontline of the business.

For ideas to help share the call centre with the wider company, read our article: 12 Inspiring Tactics for Sharing the Call Centre With the Wider Company

9. Be an Advocate of a Multi-Perspective Approach to CX

Bang the drum that everyone in the company is in the experience department.

By taking the mentality that everyone is responsible for customer experience and customer service, you’re going to get novel solutions and ideas that you might not hear if you’re only taking those ideas from the contact centre.

So be sure to listen to those around you, shout about successes, and regularly remind everyone of their unique role in delivering great customer service.

Looking for CX metrics to use? Read our article: Top 10 Customer Experience KPIs

10. No Amount of Clever Marketing Will Ever Outpace a Terrible Customer Experience

It can be tough to make everyone truly care and engage with delivering a great customer experience.

So, a powerful way to help emphasize the importance of supporting the contact centre is to remind everyone that no amount of clever marketing will ever outpace terrible customer experience.

(You could even paint this onto the wall of your head office, though this may mean making friends with the marketing department is that bit harder!)

Those reviews and word of mouth (good or otherwise) will travel faster than any campaign, and that is why everyone has to care!

For more information on complaints and customer experience (CX), you should read these next:

Author: Megan Jones
Reviewed by: Xander Freeman

Published On: 27th Mar 2024
Read more about - Customer Service Strategy, , , , , ,

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