Complaining has never been easier. Smartphones provide a multitude of channels where we can complain at our fingertips – either directly or indirectly.
Whether we’ve been standing in the rain waiting for a bus that was supposed to arrive 20 minutes ago, or we’ve received the wrong pair of shoes from an online shop –again - we can provide instant feedback to our social networks, or directly to organisations via email, forms and portals.
Throughout our recent series of articles on this subject, we’ve examined various aspects of complaint management, from the benefits of automation in Customer Service to how a streamlined complaint management model could look, but the proverbial elephant in the room has until now remained unquestioned – why is complaint management important in the public sector?
In the private sector poor service will eventually lead to a fall in turnover and further damaging ramifications, hence the importance of customer service departments who specialise in consumer care. It’s different in the public sector though where there isn’t a direct correlation between service and demand. Private and public sector organisations exist for fundamentally different purposes. One revolves around making money and in larger enterprises providing value to shareholders, whereas the public sector exists to serve and enhance the lives of citizens. Where profit warnings may signal ill health in the private sector, complaints can provide a similar health check to public bodies, such as a loss of public confidence – though this isn’t the only area where complaints can play a crucial role.
Tip of a complaints iceberg
For every person who complains, it’s reckoned that there are another 25 who feel the same grievance but don’t (Esteban Kolsky). This should be enough to send a shiver down the spine of anyone operating within the customer service domain. It’s wrong to assume one complaint is an isolated incident - therefore they should always be checked.
Effective complaint management can bring interesting results. Our decision making can often be clouded by internal bias so it’s therefore extremely helpful to gain independent points of view. Though it may be ego bruising to receive complaints, a thorough complaint analysis helps pin point trends that can lead to not only a resolution, but preventative action that reduces the risk that the issue will reoccur. Complaints help us uncover valuable intel on our organisations and services.
Sharing is caring
A citizen who feels strongly enough to complain cares, which means you should too! Complaints give us the chance to right apparent wrongs. Almost subconsciously by the complainant you’re being given the chance to build back trust in turning a negative in to a positive. A chance organisations should grasp with both hands.
As well as service improvement opportunities, an effective complaint handling mechanism provides protection and support to members of the public and staff alike when it comes to reporting behaviour or work practices that do not adhere to business policy, or even the law. Having a structure in place to facilitate serious issues not only ticks the compliance box but provides crucial support to complainants.
Across industries and sectors complaints are handled in a variety of ways, however encouraging an open culture where complaints are hailed as constructive tools to educate emboldens more positive experiences both internally and externally, something we wish for in all interactions with public bodies.
To answer the initial question, yes complaints matter, both from an external point of view, giving a voice to those who wish to be heard but also internally, by providing support and backing to make decisions and support employees.
If complaint management and customer service improvement is an area of focus for you and your organisation this year, our team of experts are on hand to assist further information. Alternatively, to learn more, or to request a demo click here.