Complaints are an inevitable part of any service-oriented business, but how you view and handle the complaints procedure can make all the difference between a complaint being a hassle or useful tool from which to learn and improve your service.
Ten to 15 years ago it was rare for South Africans to complain. But times have changed. People are more aware of their rights and complaints are commonplace. Companies too are more aware of the need to treat customers fairly (TCF).
Here is a checklist against which you can measure your current practice regarding complaints.
Social media – if you get complaints for example on Facebook, what is the procedure? Best practice is to have someone constantly monitoring social media so that a response can be given within two hours, even if only to acknowledge receipt of the complaint and that it will be attended to. Acknowledgement can be given publicly on social media and then the complaint dealt with offline through direct engagement with the client.
KYC – no, that does not stand for Know your Client but, in this case, for Know your Complainant! Who is the person complaining? Can their details be disclosed to a third party or will that be invading their privacy?
What is the in-house attitude towards complaints? It may sound strange, but complaints should actually be welcomed as they give the opportunity to investigate the reason for the complaint and hence give the opportunity, if the company was at fault, to rectify and improve service levels.
If we all pull together and take complaints seriously, the workplace and business culture of our country can only be improved.