Effective Complaints Handling

I’ve had two great customer service experiences just recently that I thought were worth sharing.

First, I had a situation with UK Power Networks who own and maintain the electricity infrastructure in my area.  I was uneasy about the suspicious noise coming from the main fuse.  Their engineers turned up within two hours of my call – all masked, gloved, and generally Covid-safe – resolved the issue quickly and were on their way.

Unfortunately, their ladder left an oil-stain on my carpet which I couldn’t wash out.  So, I called their customer services team.  Libby, the lady on the other end asked if she could call me back in ten minutes.  When she called back, she told me she’d spoken to a couple of carpet cleaning businesses locally, established that the average price to fix my problem was £60 and organised to send me a cheque (quaint!) for £100.  Problem solved.

Then I had an issue with an Amazon Marketplace reseller.  This was resolved simply by a chat session with Amazon who stepped in, overruled the seller and issued a refund to me within a couple of minutes.  Problem solved.

The empowered call centre

In each case the agent taking the call was empowered to use their discretion to resolve my problem.  There may have been other work resulting from the problem, but they would handle that separately without taking up any more of my time.

They didn’t make their problem, my problem.

Implementing and operating an effective complaints process takes commitment, confidence, and leadership.  Management needs to foster a culture where complaints are facilitated, and staff are empowered to resolve them.  Analysing complaints and feedback enables improvements in products and services, and in the complaints process itself.

Is there an ISO for that?

When we’re taking our clients through the ISO 9001 certification process for quality management, we pay specific attention to how the business manages complaints and feedback.  There’s no explicit clause that demands a complaints management procedure, rather it’s woven through the whole of the standard.

The ISO 10002 standard captures best practices for complaints handling.  If you’re looking at setting up a complaints handling system from scratch, or simply benchmarking your existing system this is a great place to start.

To find out more about complaints management best practices, or purchase a copy of ISO 10002, simply drop us a line from the contact form.