It sounds like the answer should be yes doesn’t it?
I recently had a client tell me that since introducing our complaint handling services, they had seen an increase in complaints. His service had not changed, business was slowing down and so could not understand what the point of our service was. It was causing problems and whilst business was slowing down, he was still having to pay for our complaints service.
In my position, this was a difficult start to the conversation.
However, although we could see the client’s complaints increasing, we could see the number of disputes (escalated complaints) and claims were coming down. This was important. Whereas at a complaint stage, you still have the opportunity to turn a complainant into an advocate, depending on how brilliantly you respond to their complaint. But at a dispute or claim stage, the trust is rapidly vanishing and your ability to retain your customer for further business is becoming very difficult.
As we worked through the problem what became apparent was that by becoming easily contactable, for customers to raise a complaint, the client was indeed receiving more. By ourselves engaging in those complaints early, we were reducing the normally high escalated complaints and claims.
In a world prior to social media, one complainant would negatively influence 24 people on average with regards to your company’s service. UK research has shown that it is likely only 8% of customers actually complain if they are not happy.
Think about that for a second. For every complaint you are not seeing come into your business, this could be a person negatively impacting on average 24 potential customers. Potentially in your local area. Which you would never know, unless you are actively inviting those complainants to come to you with any feedback in regards to your products or services.
Putting that all to one side. Those additional complaints that we did invite in provided so much more information in relation to where the client’s service was going wrong. We were able to identify that missed appointments were a rising problem, and that was intrinsically linked to their downturn in business. As a result, actions are now in place to turn this around, which in turn should reduce the number of complaints and also increase the number of installations being completed, improving their bottom line.
We will continue to invite complaints for our clients. We help resolve them. But more importantly, we help improve and ultimately sustain or grow their business.