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Dennis Fois, CEO of customer engagement specialists Rant & Rave, explains how businesses can reduce the cost of customer complaints with greater attention to detail and focus on on-going customer care.


complaints_251985079Customer expectations are growing. Gone are the days of one-way loyalty streams where customers were told what they should expect; they now expect a 24/7 omnichannel experience and brands must respond to this sea change. The importance of speedy and satisfactory resolutions to customer issues is becoming a major part of running a successful business.

Here are five ways in which a company can cut its costs when handling complaints:

1) Get it right in the first instance

It’s no secret that keeping all of your customers happy all of the time is no small feat. While it’s impossible to eradicate complaints altogether, you can reduce their number by attempting to really understand your customers and then pre-empting their needs. A happy customer will not see the need for complaint, and any information collected can improve future customer interactions. Every complaint that the customer service team deal with should be logged so that staff can be trained to spot warning signs and whether the complaint is linked to technology or a lack of agent knowledge.

2) Resolve customer grievances quickly and comprehensively

Taking steps to recognise signs of discontent can help businesses to take swift and decisive action to prevent losing customers. One way of doing this is by capturing feedback from customers in real-time and using sentiment analysis to understand what really matters to them. Such clarity gives business the chance to resolve issues quickly and means that staff can speak to more people in the course of a day, helping a greater volume of customers and avoiding the need for follow-up calls that can try patience.

3) Implement reliable data systems

Data collection is key to good customer service management. Computer software must be user-friendly, and results should be regularly analysed so that commonly occurring issues and sources of complaints can be rapidly identified and extinguished.This leads to better-prepared solutions with more forthcoming and helpful responses to customer queries.

4) Simplify data collection methods

Automated feedback processes can simplify and speed up the feedback process, which can be as easy as an online forms asking customer to rate their experiences with a reason for this rating. A quick and easy response to this alerts customer service departments of dissatisfaction in a more timely way than sending out emails and telephoning individual customers, while it is also more convenient to customers. Asking customers to put their views across in such a simple way can develop a database, while saving time and costs at the same time.

5) Identify and prioritise your most loyal customers

Retaining customers costs significantly less than attracting new ones. It therefore makes sense for any business looking to minimise its customer service costs to concentrate on existing customers that already bring in the largest proportion of constant revenue. By no means should potential customers be neglected, but a good organisation should do whatever it can to prevent loyal customers from going to competitors.