Much has been made of Complaint Management as a profit center or even a strategic asset to the organization, but few companies have actually implemented the idea or even measure the ROI of Complaint Handling today.
This research project seeks to advance the idea from a different direction. We look at complaint management as the customer centric compass of an organization, an integral part of the customer centric culture and a fertile training ground for customer centricity. As the core customer centric capability in the organization, the complaint management department has strong ties with other departments.
Human Resources – All new employees start at complaint management. Here they learn the importance of fixing the customer first, and then fixing the problem. The relationship is much more important than the problem. The customer centric skills they learn here will help them serve customers better by learning to identify, understand and solve the customer's needs first.
All employees (including senior management) spend one week a quarter (one month a year), re-training in complaint management. This allows them to keep current on customer needs and issues. Having experienced people handling complaints increases the likelihood of actually solving the customer problem, thus preventing future complaints.
Marketing – Customer problems today are new market opportunities for tomorrow. Only one third of complaints are production related, so it is up to the organization to identify any source of misconception, just as much, if not more so than the source of an objective complaint.
Logistics – What problems are customers experiencing in doing business with the organization? How can the organization make it more convenient for the customers to do business with them?
Research and Development –Needs to work closely with the customers to see how customers actually use their products, and verify they are solving the important issues for the customer, thus increasing the share of customer.
Production – The organization needs to produce products that customers really want (fill a need). Focusing on the customer allows firms to focus on consciously trying to help the customer by creating value, while simultaneously trying to decrease value destruction.
Internal Marketing – Having senior management handling complaints sends a very clear message to everybody about the importance of solving customer problems and developing the customer relationships. What better way to break down silos, and get everybody working together to solve the assist the customer.
Customer Centricity starts with complaint management. Value is an emotional construct. Service quality and satisfaction are both determined by the customer, and their success is the organization's success. Being Customer Centric is the best way to ensure the customer's success. Complaint management is the best way to ensure customer centricity.