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25 July 2012

5 essential tips for contact centre complaints handling

Those of us who've had responsibility for complaints management at one time or another will have experienced a full spectrum of complainant behaviour. From tears to anger, humility to assertiveness; those dealing with complaints will see it all at some point in their career.

For many, this is one of the motivations for taking on a customer service role - making a real difference to the customer who's had a particularly raw deal. Being able to sort out a problem and see a fellow human being move from anger to gratitude is something that reminds us why we took on the job in the first place.

It can be an emotional experience for people at the front line of complaints. The rewards are equally matched (and frequently outweighed) by harder times that test personal resilience. 

What are some of the essential tips that help the customer service managers and their teams cope with the complex challenges of complaints?

2 July 2012

Service failure: how social media changes complainants' balance of power

There have now been at least two decades of “best practice” advice on how businesses must understand the importance of good customer service.

Research into consumer and complainant behaviour goes back to studies such as Day and Landon’s (1977) classification of customer responses when faced with poor service. This research is still valid today, but in the new context of social media.

In the 21st century, dissatisfied customers can ensure their complaint experience is very public. The age of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook radically shifts the balance of power towards the customer, giving new routes to publicise dissatisfaction with poor performance that previously remained a private and personal frustration.

Yet some organisations seem to insist on failing to learn the long proven lessons of giving good customer service, delivering experiences that are - at best - sloppy.

It may be that the finance director considers the pipeline of new customers delivering revenue into the sales department outweighs the customer churn and defection in service delivery. However, this is not a business strategy likely to produce long-term growth or award winning success.

Social media has shifted the balance of power to the complaining consumer, now capable of launching public reputational damage on a scale never before available.