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CDC Software Calls for "Complaints Management Best Practice" Processes as Ofgem Follows FSA in Drive for Improved Customer Service

Customer service executives agree that common processes are needed to ensure consumers, retailers and service providers benefit from well managed customer complaints.

London, United Kingdom, August 23, 2011 --( CDC Software and Mathew James Customer Care Solutions, the independent customer service consultancy, today announced the need for a common set of customer complaint and feedback management processes* to provide a benchmark for all customer-facing businesses.

A year-long complaints management process study by CDC Software revealed that a high percentage of service providers still fail to recognise how business-critical the data generated during the customer complaints process is to the future success of their business, and the loyalty of its customers.

This drive for best practice follows Ofgem’s statement last week calling for gas and electricity providers to address poor complaint handling and comes just weeks after the Financial Services Authority (FSA) won compensation for all customers mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).

“There will always be complaints,” explained Mathew James, director of Mathew James Customer Care Solutions, an independent consultancy providing customer service advice to the retail, financial services and utilities sectors.

“What matters is how a complaint is handled, the speed to resolution and retrospectively how the information gathered from the complaint process is used to put right weaknesses in the business, improve customer communications, reduce the volume of future complaints and equally to develop new revenue generating products and services,” continued Mathew James.

Since the PPI administration crisis hit high-street banks earlier this year, over 500 of CDC Software financial services customers have started to, or are considering using, the CDC Respond complaints management and feedback platform to centrally manage all customer complaints, establish and alert the root cause of complaints, to manage the end-to-end resolution process and ultimately to reduce the number of future in-bound customer complaints.

“CDC Respond provides a business with the ability to address all affected and potentially affected customers simultaneously and detail the proposed steps to resolution. Experience proves that the more open a business is with its customers, the more effective the two-way communications becomes. You would not believe how much business-critical information can be gathered from a single customer complaint,” explained Mark Chambers, head of solutions consultants at CDC Software UK & Ireland.

A major issue facing businesses is the increasing number of channels through which a complaint can be made. The key to successful complaint management is to quickly establish trends and understand the common issues before they become wide-spread or public. The only effective way to do this is to have a centrally managed, fully automated customer complaints management platform.

Complaints Management Best Practice objective
The objective of the call for common customer complaint and feedback management best practice processes is not just to ensure consumers get a fair deal, but to help retailers and service providers understand the business benefits of listening to and responding to customer feedback.

“There’s no such thing as a ‘bad’ complaint. All feedback provides vital customer intelligence. All intelligence should be analysed and used to continually improve the business, how it communicates with its publics and the experience it provides to its customers. Complaints only become a business issue if the business fails to acknowledge and respond,” explained Mark Chambers.

*Proposed Best Practice

1) Culture. Look at customer complaints as highly targeted business intelligence and use root cause analysis to improve the business, increase brand value, reduce complaint volume and to cross-sell products and services.

2) KPIs. Understand that badly set KPIs hamper the quality of complaint resolution. Good complaints management is about the quality and effective resolution of each complaint, not, for example, the number of calls handled.

3) Technology. The right technology will revolutionise customer service. An intuitive, easy-to-use and informative customer management platform will “listen” to the customer and “tell” the business what it is doing right and where it is going wrong!

4) People. Customer service personnel are the face of the business. They form customer opinions. It is vital to have the right people in place and they must be trained and empowered.

5) Trends. Monitor trends to ensure the root cause of repetitive complaints is established and processes put in place, or new services developed, to avoid unnecessary customer complaints and ensure future customer satisfaction.

6) Social media. Businesses need to understand the speed and breadth of information flow and be pro-active. Monitor activity, anticipate issues and pro-actively communicate using the preferred channel of each customer group.

“The speed and efficiency with which a company resolves a complaint makes a significant difference to its reputation. If it’s open and pro-active a customer regains control. The more in control a customer feels, the happier they are. The happier a customer is, the easier it is to reach an acceptable resolution,” concluded Mark Chambers, CDC Software UK & Ireland.

Contact Information
CDC Software
Caroline Howlett
+44 (0) 1494434434

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