olden times

Complaints handling: lessons from the past

About Alison Miles-Jenkins
Alison is the founder and Chief Executive of Training To Achieve. She is a people development expert with over 30 years experience. Alison has coached, mentored, and trained thousands of people in the UK and Internationally. Alison founded Training To Achieve in 1990 and has a highly respectable team of Go-To Trainers. She is also a highly sought after speaker in the Learning & Development Profession. Connect with Alison on Google+

We’ve been reviewing some research conducted in America in 2004 which has revealed some interesting statistics on complaints. It is often difficult to locate data on complaints handling because understandably organisations prefer not to draw attention to their difficulties. The Arizona State University “Rage Survey” had some fascinating findings that we feel still hold water today.

In the survey the results showed that it took customers an average of 4.3 contacts to have a complaint resolved. We stress the need for speed when dealing with complaints. This is because drawn out response times increase the aggravation to the point where resolution efforts are nullified.

The study showed that if a customer had to make three or more contacts, their satisfaction dropped away dramatically. Even more surprising, what organisations should be aiming for: same day resolution is the exception, not the rule. 11% had their complaint resolved in less than one day and 19% had to wait a month for resolution.

The result of this was damage to the brand: 85% of customers shared their story with other people. According to this study, people are unhappy with how their complaints are handled tell 15 people about their experience. This is in contrast with those who are satisfied. They only tell 6 people.

So has much changed since 2004? It has. Social Media provides a new outlet and only last week there was news of a boycott organised on Facebook affecting a retailer. So getting to grips with what is being said on Social Media is fast becoming part of the art of good complaints handling. However, if in doubt pick up the phone, talk to the customer. The human and caring touch works wonders even in this multi-media world.

We’ve a few blogs up our sleeves on Social Media and the impact it is having on complaints handling so watch out here for more ideas coming soon.

Alison Miles-Jenkins
Founder & CEO

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