A holistic way to tackling customer complaints

by • December 6, 2016 • BlogComments (0)1981

I have never met a manager in any industry or position who does not proudly commit to tracking the root cause of every expression of customer dissatisfaction and initiating improvements to mitigate a recurrence. And why wouldn’t they – it is part of being commercially aware – and every single business leader in the world endorses the primary importance of customer service and links their own success to the commitment they have for this cause.


Depending upon the industry sector in which you work, your attention and focus on managing, reporting and dealing with customer complaints may vary. Having worked across a wide range of industries in the past 30 years I am often struck by how the requirements of regulatory rules can outweigh the principles and values of even the most diligent managers.


Compliance and regulation are undoubtedly important parts of operational governance. I have personally completed dozens of in-house computer based tests (CBTs) when starting engagements to validate my awareness of and compliance with specific principles. Permanent employees take these same tests once a year to enable an organisation to show the regulator they take this stuff seriously. However, I can’t help feeling something is missing.


There are many straplines I see used to positively reinforce customer-focused behaviours, all taken from wise quotes. A common one I hear is ‘a complaint is a gift’ which is the title of a book by Dr. Janelle Barlow & Claus Møller. This is a great book with inspiring stories about brilliant complaints management as well as converse tales about occasions when this has gone wrong. It’s been a while since I read it, but I don’t believe there is anything about the importance of adhering to regulatory rules.


If managers and staff are conditioned to tick boxes and follow essential rules, they will do this, maybe even very well. However, does this approach really deliver the branddefining values by which you want your customers to remember you?


I fully understand that regulatory rules and disciplines are essential, but I wonder to what extent they can stifle a manager’s ability to inspire their teams to deal with complaints brilliantly or for businesses to initiate exciting strategies to prevent bad practices from becoming embedded?


Any essential regulatory framework would be enhanced if it was synergised with a positive customer-focused mindset which was embedded at all levels of the organisation. Rather than managers and their teams just going through prescribed rules to deal with a complaint, maybe they could embrace the ‘gift’ and truly enjoy delivering the optimal resolution.


Our complaints management training and coaching is focused on the mindset of handling customer complaints, not just the process. This enables loyalty-building moments to be created when things go wrong and develops a culture in which your people truly think ‘customer first’.


At the heart of what we do at Curium is to ‘simplify change management’. A key component of our approach is the investment we make in helping staff at all levels to get ready for and embrace cultural change. Our approach results in accelerated improvements in leadership performance alongside the cultural development to match your brand and customer expectations.



If some of the challenges above resonate with you and you want to find out more please feel free to email me at markturner@curiumsolutions.com


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