How public sector bodies manage, record and report complaints can vary drastically. It’s not unusual to see public sector bodies relying on manual paper and pen, or excel based complaint management.
The result is often a process which is slow to action, difficult to extract and share information with little to know auditing or learning as part of the process.
It’s not difficult to see how a failure at any stage of a complaint process can see complaints mismanaged. Use of make-shift technology solutions can impede workflow while inappropriately trained staff can see complaints passed like the proverbial hot potato! As a result, complaints can take too long to resolve leading to public bodies seeing its name and reputation damaged.
To make matters worse, touchpoints are growing, with complaints made via snail mail, email, phone, webchat and social media. The tech-savvy citizen now expects a rapid informed response. Regulators are seeking to make reporting flatter and more transparent by encouraging organisations to systemise the complaints reporting process and adopt RegTech.
This means many public bodies need to transform their existing complaint management process. But where to begin? They know they need put in place more effective complaint management but what few realise is that this needn’t be complex. It’s possible to streamline the process to make it more lean, efficient and effective by putting in place a citizen-centric culture and automating process.
1.Expert employees – make the initial point of contact your primary focus and equip these staff with specialist knowledge and decision making powers. The idea here is to avoid a culture of ‘it’s a legitimate complaint, let’s escalate it’ as this could frustrate the citizen further by increasing the number of steps they have to go through/ the people they liaise with, snowballing the issue.
Look at how you can enhance the approach of frontline staff to citizens to resolve issues more effectively. What insight do they have? Do they know not just their history but their preferences? Is there an opportunity to turn the complaint into a positive experience?
2.Customise care – Actively promote access channels and feedback to keep on top of issues and make citizens feel valued. Feedback can act as a precursor, flagging issues that could lead to complaints.
Build a 360 view of the citizen to personalise response. Don’t be tempted to continually inform them of the progress of the complaint using standard channels; instead ask them how they would like to be informed ie over email, phone or post and schedule responses, preferably via the same agent.
3.RegTech tools – Deploy a complaints management solution that can support complaints from a variety of channels to futureproof the business against change. Look for a low-impact solution that is quick to deploy and can integrate with existing systems ie CRM and ERP to maximise the information resource you hold
4.Management oversight – gain buy-in from senior management into the transformation process and use MI to provide the strategic insight needed to achieve continuous improvement.
1.Data capture – understand the type of complaints being received, along with the volume and frequency of these. Real-time tracking that scales, can provide the business with the capacity to handle these
2.Customise workflows – seek to accommodate multiple workflows and use automated routing to allow numerous complaints to be handled simultaneously to enable cases to be resolved more quickly.
3.Auditable and answerable – Be on the front foot with an ability to provide answers and insight into complaints. Legislative and industry regulations are tightening (e.g. GDPR), meaning the burden of proof regarding response to complaints, is falling to the provider. If you have the data to hand, it’s easier to provide an answer!
4.Data that delivers insight – Analyse complaint data and carry out Root Cause Analysis to identify and act on the cause of complaints to enact permanent solutions.
Reducing inefficiency in the complaints management process is a driver to transformation. By focusing on a curated customer response, integrating resources and automating workflow processing it’s possible to create a compliant complaints process that addresses customer issues more effectively.