Using complaints to justify and drive action

By viewing complaints as another form of contact, organisations can change their attitudes and helps businesses extract information to guide improvements. But there is a difference between learning from and responding to complaints – do we need formally to separate these activities?

Many organisations separate product and service failure to simplify root cause analysis. Making product managers responsible for fixes also enhances proactive actions.

It is imperative to find ways for information from complaints to flow, rather than trickle, though an organisation. Inadequate policy communications with customers and staff is often the root cause of complaints – clarity and simplification are recommended.

What can be learned from a complaint may not be in proportion to the severity or escalation route of an individual case – care must be taken not to overreact or prioritise.

  • Do we measure and learn from complaints that don’t require further action?
  • What do we do with positive ‘complaints’ or the positive elements of a complaint?

Simple reporting is most effective, especially when accompanied  by real example. And beware of complaints that are dismissed or filed for another day, their accumulative effect may hold the key to what next and how.

From The QoE, May 2012, ‘What Next, and How?’